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What Is A Clipping Mask in Photoshop?

A clipping mask in Photoshop is basically a mask that Photoshop creates for you. That’s sound good, doesn’t it?!

In this post, I’m going to teach you about Clipping Masks in Photoshop so that you will never again have to ask the question “What is a Clipping Mask in Photoshop?”

What Is A Clipping Mask?

A Clipping Mask is a mask that Photoshop applies to a layer that is above another layer. It clips the top layer to the layer below it. Once applied, the top layer will only show where there is information on the layer below.

Clipping Masks can be helpful when applying effects that you don’t want to be global. In other words, you don’t want the effects over the whole document, just one layer only.

You can also use them to create some pretty cool effects with text.

Using A Clipping Mask With Text

Imagine a document in Photoshop that has two separate layers. On top, it has an image of some vegetables on a plate and on the bottom layer, there is a text layer that says “food”.

what is a clipping mask in photoshop - screen shot of photoshop showing a plate of vegetables
A Photoshop document with two layers

You can’t see the text layer because it is underneath the image.

If we ask Photoshop to create a clipping mask on the image layer, watch what happens…..

what is a clipping mask in photoshop - screen shot of photoshop showing the word Food with an image showing through the text
The image shows only within the boundaries of the text.

The image is only visible now where the text on the layer below is. Everything outside of the text is masked out.

You could create a mask like this yourself of course, but why would you when Photoshop can do it in one click?

Now You Know…

So now you know what a clipping mask is, but how do you apply one?

I have another blog post here on my website that shows you exactly how to apply a clipping mask and you can read that here.

If you’ve had enough reading for today, watch my How To Create A Clipping Mask in Photoshop YouTube video.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you found it helpful then share it with someone else who may get something out of it. There are social sharing buttons just down below.

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