How to Use the Photoshop Clipping Mask Feature

Photoshop Clipping Mask Tutorial + free printables | Drawn to DIY

Hello and welcome to Drawn to DIY!

Last week, I shared 12 kinds of minimalist / black and white printables.

Today, I'm sharing a tutorial on how to use the Adobe Photoshop clipping mask feature.

Photoshop Clipping Mask Tutorial + free printables | Drawn to DIY

The clipping mask feature is real handy when you want to create personalized graphics, blog images, even unique printables (like the ones I'm sharing at the bottom of this post). Basically, how it works is you connect two layers in Photoshop — a photo/pattern layer and a text/shape layer — so that the visible portion of the photo/pattern masks the shape of the text/shape layer. It's actually better to just show you so let's get started!

 

Step 01. Open up a new document in Adobe Photoshop. In this example, my file is U.S. letter size because this is a printable I'll be linking to later.

Step 02. Type in a letter or word.

Step 03. Create a new layer on top of the text layer. Use this to place the photo/pattern you want to mask the text with. For this post, I'm using floral stock photos.

Step 04. Right click on the photo layer and select the option "Create Clipping Mask." 

Photoshop Clipping Mask Tutorial | Drawn to DIY
Photoshop Clipping Mask Tutorial | Drawn to DIY
Photoshop Clipping Mask Tutorial | Drawn to DIY
Photoshop Clipping Mask Tutorial | Drawn to DIY

And that's it! So easy, right?

Here are four different ways to create a clipping mask in Photoshop:

  1. Right click the photo/pattern layer and select "Create Clipping Mask" (as stated above).
  2. Click on "Layer" from the top of the Photoshop window, and select "Create Clipping Mask" from the drop down menu.
  3. If you're using a Mac, press fn+alt+command and hit enter.  
  4. Hover your pointer between the photo layer and the text layer and press fn + alt on your keyboard, then hit enter. 

Here are some tips to remember:

  1. Always have the masking layer directly on top of the text/shape layer. 
  2. You can move the photo/pattern around even after connecting.
  3. If you want to use clipping mask on multiple texts/shapes in one file, create a separate masking layer for each one. 
  4. To reverse this action, you can select the same functions or hit "undo" from the Edit tab (command+Z).
  5. For shapes, follow the same steps but instead of text, use a shape as shown below: 
Photoshop Clipping Mask Tutorial | Drawn to DIY
Photoshop Clipping Mask Tutorial | Drawn to DIY
Photoshop Clipping Mask Tutorial | Drawn to DIY

For the 2-page printable, page 1 is "We rise by lifting others" and page 2 is "The earth laughs in flowers" by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Download both here:


If you haven't tried using Adobe Photoshop yet, you can go here (not an affiliate link) for a free trial period. After that, it's only $9.99 per month for the photography bundle or $49.99 for all the Creative Cloud apps.

Personally, I really love this clipping mask feature because it's so easy to do and the possibilities are endless. In fact, I've used this a bunch of times already — check out these brush lettered printables from last year for some ideas or for downloading:

Gold

Ocean

Sunset

 

Share below: Have you used the clipping mask feature before? How did you find it? Would you like more tutorials like this on the blog?  

Both floral photos are from Unsplash.com. If you're looking for quality stock photos, this is a good source. Credit to photographers isn't required, but of course, welcome.

First - Annie Spratt | Second - Roman Kraft