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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Creative clipping masks

This has certainly been a roller coaster of a week here at the eatwritecreate household. Suffice it to say that we've weathered the bumps and are now enjoying some downtime.

The captain and I may be relaxing, but I haven't been able to stay away from the computer. I always find that when September rolls around, my creative juices really start to flow as the weather cools. And I have some exciting news on the creative front! Despite the downtime, I have still been quite busy behind-the-scenes on an upcoming collaborative artistic venture -- more on that soon! -- and I am so pleased to be able to give you a sneak peek. I have created two sets of clipping masks and have them here for sale! Each set features eight different clipping masks, all high resolution PNG files in various sizes. Buy both sets and save, too!

Clipping masks are very easy to use in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. The important thing to remember is the layer order needed in order for the mask to work. If you can think of the clipping mask as the filling in a sandwich, you're set. The bottom layer is what will show through on the transparent areas of the clipping mask, while the top layer is what will replace the black areas of the mask. Take the above photograph, for example. It contains three layers: the bottom layer was white, the middle layer was the mask, and the top layer was the photograph. That's it! Here's how I did it:

*First, I opened a photograph, used my rectangular marquee tool (set at a fixed ratio of 1:1) to square it off, then messed about with it until it looked like you see above.
*Next, I duplicated the layer and then filled the bottom layer with white. That gave me two layers -- the top (which is the photo) and bottom (which is the solid white layer) of my "sandwich".
*Now for the middle of the sandwich. With the top layer selected (the photo) I then opened up the "create" clippng mask (found in sample pack #1; the "dream" clipping mask I used in my last blog post can also be found in this set) and using my Move tool, dragged it into my project, sizing it to fit. Because I had the top layer selected in my project before I did that, when I moved the "create" clipping mask onto my project it went right to the top of the layers palette. (If you are more comfortable using the Place command to add the clipping mask to your project, by all means do that instead.)
*After I sized the clipping mask to fit, I dragged it below the photograph. My sandwich is now complete. The top layer is the photo, the middle layer is the mask, while the bottom layer is solid white. Therefore, the white will show through the transparent areas of the mask (in this case, the transparent parts of the mask are the edges and the letters) while the photograph will replace all the black areas of the mask.
*The last step is to use the Clipping Mask command to make this all happen. In most versions of Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, you simply select the top layer (the photograph) and then go up to your Layer menu and look for the "Create clipping mask" command, or, in older versions, the "Group" command. It's so important to remember that it is the top layer you select, not the mask! The clipping mask function "clips" the layer you have selected to the immediate layer below it, which is why the layer order is so important.

The final result is what you see above. I chose to have a white bottom layer so that when this appeared here, on a white space, you would only see the rough edges. If I had chosen a different colour for my bottom layer, perhaps brown, it would look like this:

I don't know about you, but I prefer the white!

So.......Intrigued? Why don't you give it a try?

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In the near future there will be several more clipping masks available, along with lots of other digital goodies. Stay tuned!


Irene said...

Wow you have been busy. And from reading between the lines there is more good stuff to come.

firstborn studio said...

way cool lennie!

Leslie Jane Moran said...

Ah, such fun. This will lead to many more forays into the photoshop world. I love it when you do the little tutorials and now the supplies. My WORD.

Lost Aussie said...

These turned out just great! Lots of fab and creative uses for this collection of goodies!

Martys Fiber Musings said...

Thanks for sharing.....I tried and was successful in creating a clipping mask. Blogged you today!

Susan Williamson said...

Just bought the two sets of clipping masks. I know this sound lame, but I've never used one before. Can't wait to experiment.

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