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Image Editing Basics – Photoshop Clipping Mask

Photo editing is the number one tool of photographers to create masterpieces out of even the most boring images. It can be as simple as cropping a picture of your child to put them at the centre of attention. You can also create composite pictures by blending shots of the same subject at different exposures to get perfect clarity. There is no limit to what your imagination can produce, but first you need to understand the basics of your photo editing program. There are several good programs out there, but one of the oldest and most versatile is Photoshop.

There are plenty of basic colours, white balance and red eye editing tools that can help make pictures look nicer, but it is much more fun to manipulate them. There are several ways to do this, but one of the most misunderstood and simplest is the Photoshop clipping mask technique. This technique involves creating two layers in your picture, foreground and background. With a clipping mask you overlay one picture with another and only the area created by the mask can be seen. Many people shy away from clipping masks because they seem complex, but you can create one in Photoshop in seconds.

The easiest way to learn is to try it yourself. One of the best things that you can do with photo masks is create text blocks out of your pictures. To do this in Photoshop you will want to open up an image. Any image will do, but for this example a nice beach shot will be fine. Go to your layer tool and create a new one. Turn this new layer into a large text box the size of your picture and type something related to the picture. Make sure that you use a font type that is large and will reveal a lot of the picture. When you are finished, switch the photo to the top layer in your tool bar. Then simply go up to layer in your navigation bar and find “Create Clipping Mask.” The text should pop to the foreground, hiding the photo except for what is visible within the font.

From here you can experiment with blending pictures together to create interesting new perspectives. Turn a zoom shot of a keyhole into a quick glimpse of Mars. Create interesting collages with your friend’s faces in different shapes. The Photoshop clipping mask technique is a great way to learn more about what you can do with layers so enjoy.

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