How to use Clipping Masks in Photoshop 16/02/2016

Photoshop's Clipping Masks are just awesome. In this post, we will have a look at how to create a "cut-out" by using a photograph, a simple text layer and a clipping mask. By the time you reach the end of this short post, you will be able to create something similar to the image below: Clipping-Masks-and-Text-in-Adobe-Photoshop-13

Let's start by opening an image in Photoshop. Remember that all useful shortcut CMD+O. We are using a classic city shot of New York for this exercise.Clipping-Masks-and-Text-in-Adobe-Photoshop-1

Using the Type Tool ("T" on the keyboard), write a few words on your image like the one below. Make sure that you click on the little "tick" mark in the options bar once you are done with the text.Clipping-Masks-and-Text-in-Adobe-Photoshop-2

In the Layers Panel (F7 on keyboard), click on the padlock next to your Background layer to unlock it. You will need to swap the order of the two layers and without unlocking this layer, Photoshop will not allow you to do that.Clipping-Masks-and-Text-in-Adobe-Photoshop-3

Now that the Background layer is unlocked (and called "Layer 0" by default), click and drag that above the text layer to change the stacking order.Clipping-Masks-and-Text-in-Adobe-Photoshop-4

Next, right click on Layer 0 (or whatever you might have called this layer) then select "Create Clipping Mask". Another way to do this is to move your cursor just between the two layers and hold down the ALT key. When you see a black arrow instead of your regular cursor, click on the line.Clipping-Masks-and-Text-in-Adobe-Photoshop-5

You should now be looking at something similar to this:


In the Layers Panel, select your text layer (the one at the bottom) and by clicking on the "New Layer" icon, create a new blank layer. As you are doing this, if you hold the CMD (CTRL on Windows) key down, you will be creating a blank layer below the one you had selected. Clipping-Masks-and-Text-in-Adobe-Photoshop-7

Once you have this empty layer, follow the steps below to make it black:

Press D on the keyboard to set the Foreground and Background colours to their defaults (Black and White).

Press ALT + Backspace to fill the selected layer with the foreground colour, which is black.Clipping-Masks-and-Text-in-Adobe-Photoshop-8

You should now be looking at this:Clipping-Masks-and-Text-in-Adobe-Photoshop-9

To make it look a little more interesting, let's add a white outline around this text... Select the text layer and click on the fx button. Then select "stroke" from the contextual menu. Clipping-Masks-and-Text-in-Adobe-Photoshop-10

In the Layer Style window, which should automatically appear when you click on "stroke", select the size, colour and position of the stroke you would like to apply to the text. The values we used for this image are below:Clipping-Masks-and-Text-in-Adobe-Photoshop-11

Now you should be looking at something like this:Clipping-Masks-and-Text-in-Adobe-Photoshop-12

And here are a few variations of the same image with a reflection and white background. This reflection was created by using standard pixel masks, combined with a linear gradient.Clipping-Masks-and-Text-in-Adobe-Photoshop-14 Clipping-Masks-and-Text-in-Adobe-Photoshop-13

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