How to Create a Clipping Mask in Photoshop?


By learning how to construct a clipping mask in Photoshop, you can create new frames for images, gorgeous typography, or custom photo layouts. This method can be a useful skill to learn. Beginners can particularly benefit from it, and even the specialists can use this tutorial to learn something new.

In this tutorial, you will learn how to create several layers, hide them, and use the Photoshop selection tools to create clipping masks in Photoshop CC. After following the instructions set in this tutorial, you will be able to create clipping masks like a pro!

We are going to learn what clippings masks are, how they can be created using Photoshop, how clipping masks can be used to add a creative touch to your images and designs. This tutorial will cover all the vital parts of creating and using clipping masks.

So, let us begin our tutorial. First, let us look at what the clipping masks are.

What Is a Clipping Mask?

Clipping masks in Photoshop are a strong way to control the view of a layer. In that sense, clipping masks are like layer masks. But while the result might look the same, clipping masks and layer masks are very different. A layer mask utilizes black and white to show and hide different parts of the layer. But a clipping mask utilizes the content and transparency of one layer to control the visibility of another.

To create a clipping mask, we require two layers. The layer on the bottom monitors the visibility of the layer above it. In other words, the bottom layer is the mask, and the layer over it is the layer that is clipped to the mask.

Where the bottom layer includes actual content, the content on the layer above it is visible. But if any portion of the layer on the bottom is visible, then that same area on the layer above it will be hidden. That might sound more puzzling than how a layer mask works, but clipping masks are just as simple to use. Let us create a clipping mask ourselves so we can better understand how they work.

How to Make a Clipping Mask in Photoshop

Step 1

Create two New Layers.

Step 2

Hold down Alt.

Spot the pointer over the line dividing "Layer 1" and "Layer 2". You will see the mouse change to two overlapping circles.

Now click! "Layer 2" will then clip into "Layer 1".

Practical Uses for Clipping Masks

Clipping masks are great with adjustment layers.

Generally, adding an adjustment layer on top of other Photoshop layers influences all of them. With clipping masks, you can apply adjustment layers selectively to a single layer.

Photo by mostafa meraji on Unsplash

In this example, I will take a photo and place a new person in it. But to mix well, I will take to apply adjustments selectively to the person.

Photo by Danka & Peter on Unsplash

I first must cut out the person from the second image. Here, I am using a standard Photoshop layer mask to keep only the person visible.

Now it is time to place him onto the landscape image. I do this by capturing the layer of the person and dragging it onto the other document.

The person is now in the new body, but there is a problem. The tones of the landscape do not match him at all. I need to adjust the colors and brightness. I do this by forming a color balance adjustment layer and setting the correct values.


Holding Alt and clicking on the line clips the adjustment layer to only the layer below it.

Clipping masks can be stacked. So, to further blend the figure into the landscape photo image, I am darkening it a little. Lower parts of the body are still too bright, so I am adding extra gradual darkening as well.


The Photoshop clipping masks are an electrifying feature. This tutorial was intended to help you understand how to create clipping masks in Photoshop, learn how to utilize them, and create cool designs with masks.

There is a lot you can do with clipping masks. Photoshop is full of incredible features. All you need to do is keep practicing and searching the ways you can use clipping masks in your designs.


S M Rishad
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