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How to Use Layer Mask and Clipping Mask in Photoshop CS5?

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This tutorial is about how to use layer mask and clipping mask in Photoshop CS5. You would begin by opening two layers. The top layer is a baby image. The bottom layer is a photo of a TV set.

  Two layers

Now if you click on the left of the layer, it will hide the top layer and you can see the TV set on the bottom layer.

TV set in bottom layer

Bellow is the children image and TV set image.

Children image
Children image
TV set
TV set

In this layer mask tutorial, you will be creating the illusion that the children image is on the TV.

Children image is on the TV

Now there are several ways to accomplish this:

1st option:

First, you could take the Eraser Tool and begin to remove all the extra material from the children image.

Remove the extra material by eraser tool

Unfortunately, if you do that it is a permanent change, because if you erase too much of the children image, you will be unable to bring it back later.

2nd option:

Another option is to use a layer mask in Photoshop. To do it, first you need to draw a path using pen tool around the desired area.

Draw path around the desired area

Then hold down the CTRL or CMD key and click on path layer to make selection.

Make selection of the path

Now, just crop the area down to fit the TV screen, by using a layer mask.

Crop the area down to down to fit the TV screen by using a layer mask

Following this you would have to touch it up by doing some feathering, a little painting to complete the adjustments.

3rd option:

The other option is referred to as a clipping mask. What you would do is create a shape then crop the children image down to. So next you would do first, is turn off the children image.

TV set in bottom layer

Then you would select the desired part in the background layer using the path, which you have drawn previously.

Make selection of the path

Then you would take that selected area by pressing CTRL+J (PC) or CMD+J (Mac) and jump the layer. That just means that you have copied that particular layer to the work area.

 Copied the desired area from background image

So now if you click on the box to the left of the layer (hide the background) all you will see now is the selected area that you just traced.

Traced area

Now all you need to do is to go back to the first layer of the children image and turn it on by clicking the box to the left of it.

Go back to the first layer

The next step is to press CTRL+ALT+G(PC) or CMD+OPT+G(Mac), and that will create clipping mask.

Press command, option and G to create clipping mask

Now if you wish to turn it off and on again, all you need to do is to press the keyboard shortcut: CTRL+ALT+G(PC) or CMD+OPT+G(Mac). That’s the fun thing about the clipping group.

Another way to create a clipping mask is to go to the layer menu, scroll down and click on the ‘create clipping mask selection’. You can also OPT or ALT click between layers to remove your clipping mask.

Create clipping mask from layer menu

You can go a step further and take the layer that was the glass TV screen, copy it by clicking CTRL+J(PC) or CMD+J(Mac).

 Copy the TV screen layer

And then drag the copy up to the 1st image children, which then disappears.

Drag the copy up to the 1st image children

Now go back to the Opacity (set at 100%) and bring it down to about 30%.

Make opacity 30 parcent

This now shows a bit of reflection off the glass, and thus creates the illusion.

Children image is on the TV

Now you know how to create layer masks and clipping mask in Photoshop.

About the auther 

Rokaiya is a creative graphic designer, Internet marketer, and a blogger. She joined the team of clippingpathspecialist.com is a brand of Outsource Experts Ltd on 2010 as a head of it’s marketing department, and she's been working with the tool ever since! She likes to share tips and tricks on photo editing and graphic design!

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