5 Essential Clipping Masks Techniques - Combining Layers and Transparency Creatively in Photoshop | Benjamin Halsall | Skillshare

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5 Essential Clipping Masks Techniques - Combining Layers and Transparency Creatively in Photoshop

teacher avatar Benjamin Halsall, Final Cut Pro X & Adobe Courses

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (22m)
    • 1. Class Overview

    • 2. Project Setup

    • 3. Put Images Inside Shapes

    • 4. Put Images Inside Type

    • 5. Use a Custom Brush for Textured Transparency

    • 6. Use a Custom Brush to Paint Inside A Clipping Mask

    • 7. Stack Up Clipping Masks

    • 8. Clipping Masks for Colour Adjustment

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About This Class

In this class, you will learn 5 essential techniques for using Clipping Masks in Adobe Photoshop.

A Clipping Mask allows you to borrow transparency from other layers and here we look at some creative ways in which you can combine shape layers, custom brushes and adjustment layers to control your images design, add texture and much more.


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Meet Your Teacher

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Benjamin Halsall

Final Cut Pro X & Adobe Courses


For the designer in you I create fun short lessons in Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator & Adobe InDesign. I include some creative and technical tips in all my lessons which are always easy to follow. Check out my popular Banksy Yourself Photoshop Class, how to create Polygonal Patterns in Adobe Illustrator or my Photoshop Drawing & Painting Fundamentals.

For Final Cut Pro X editors check out my course Learn Final Cut Pro X in 25 Minutes or learn how to put video inside type, create grunge style text or my basic and advanced split screen tutorials.

I look forward to seeing your projects and am always happy to answer your questions.

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1. Class Overview: Hey, that's been household here and here in this tutorial. Gonna having a look at the clipping mask in Adobe Photo Shop. We're gonna be having a look at five different ways in which we can use it to composite transparency between layers in Adobe Photo Shop. Now the clipping mask, a really cool feature in the layers panel allows us to borrow transparency from one layer to another. We're gonna have a look at how we can use that to place images or photographs inside shapes how we can use it to place photographs inside. Text on also how we can blend different layers of brushes using the clipping master all. There's a lot of very cool effects and kind of applications when you're working with transparency in the layers, and the clipping mask definitely plays a big part in producing some of those more advanced techniques that you create and work with in Adobe Photo Shop. So without further ado, let's dive in and have a look at how we work with the clipping mask in that I be Photoshopped 2. Project Setup: they spent household here and here in for a shock. I want to talk about the clipping mask. That clipping mask is a really useful layer to or layer effect for copying transparency from other layers. And we can use it in a few different ways to blend layers together. So that's basically what we're gonna have a look at. Here is the five top ways in which you can use the clipping master blend layers together or to create transparency in different types of last. So the first immigrated for a shop is recently essentials view so that we just all looking at the same layout info shops. I'm gonna go to window workspace, Andi Select Essentials. And then we'll go to window workspace and reset essentials. And that will just mean that everything is reset just in case you moved things around. So I'm gonna go Teoh my panels, my learn and libraries on the right hand side here and just minimize them, using the little double arrow at the top right there. We don't need toe. See those for this exercise. So I'm gonna go to file Andi new. We're going to create a new file for this. We're basically gonna create a standard letter size documents. So 8.5 by 11 rgb color it will make a landscape image. So with all those selected will click create. And what you should see is a white canvas on your background across in your layers on we'll go to file on, save us so that we say this document one would call it clipping masks 01 So, basically revision one. In case we gonna save different versions of our projects, it's always useful to start off in that way. 3. Put Images Inside Shapes: so the first way we're gonna have a look at making clipping mask is by working with our shape tools. So we grab the rectangle tool from down the bottom here on we stretching out rectangle, it will create a new layer. So depending on how your layers are set up when you select a different kind of shape So if I go to an ellipse, then your lips will draw on a new lead. As I'm dragging this out, I'm holding now shift so that it stays in proportion. Now, you want to make sure that you hold shift after you started dragging out your circle. If you hold down shift beforehand, it is gonna add that circle to the same layers. So you'll get some different things going on with your shape players if you hold down, shift before you actually drag out of shape so we can have more than one shape in a single lamp. So we're going to select our rectangle layer here. This is the first method of kind of using the clipping mask, and I'm gonna go to file on place embedded, and I'm gonna grab an image here. So I've got a series of kind of images that will will use here. And we're gonna go to the icons view here, up at the top. Left on. Basically, we want to grab on image, any image to place over the top of this layer. So we'll grab this image off some apples on press place on. Basically, when you place an image in photo shop, it should fill the design. We can see. We placed it above the rectangle, but below the ellipse so we can see the black circle there. I'm just going to scale this down on move this up. Well, just position that over the top of the square. Now, basically, I hit enter to apply that change you can see now we've got the image here of apples here and we've got the rectangle below. So essentially, what we can do is if we right click here, we can select our clipping mask, and that is going to copy the transparency from the layer below. So from this rectangle that we have in the layer below So essentially we go back to the move toe. We can reframe that image using the rectangle below. Now there is a frame tool in the newer version of photo shop eso. You don't necessarily need to do this for an image, but the clipping mask has lots of useful applications, and it's kind of a simple way of kind of showing how it works so well, do the same for the circle. So I'm gonna select my lips on when you place an image is always gonna place above the layer that you have selected. So I'm gonna go to file on place embedded. I will select another image it So I'm gonna select this image of myself. Well, press place on, we're just position this over the circle hit. And so and then if I right click, I can use the clipping mask and it will position that image inside there. If I hold down command intact E, it's gonna bring up the free transform options. Andi, I concoct the corner and re scale that and reposition that so it fits nicely in that circle so you can see the clip in March has a few nice different uses where we can kind of put objects inside shapes. If I want to modify the shapes there still independent, so I can still move the image. Or if I turn off auto select and select the shape behind, I can move the box behind that as well. Now, with the box selected. If I go to my direct selection tool, click down here and make sure I'm selecting my direct selection tool. I can actually modify the corners of this shape. I change this from being a live shape into a regular path, which is fine, and you can see when I start to move these around, I am able to kind of create a customized shape in which my image will be with him. So that's nice uses for the clipping mask there. We could do the same for the circle so I can grab a corner of this Andi change it, and so you can see we can create some different types of shapes in which we're placing our images. So let's select all these layers in our layers panel. I'm gonna right click and go to group from layers, and we'll call this one images inside shapes. So it's our 1st 1 4. Put Images Inside Type: and then will grab a new layer. And the new layer we're gonna grab here is a type place. If I grab my textile, I'm going to stretch this out and it will create a new type player above the group that I made. I'm just gonna type in city here on my type of started off nice and big, because the previous kind of settings I had for my type was 49 point. So I'm just going to increase the size of that. Andi will position this across to the left. Here. We'll leave that there. Um, if we double click, we can go to our character options up of the top. I'm gonna make this all caps. Andi, that looks nice. So we just got a nice, bold type and we're gonna place an image inside this. So if I go to file on place embedded, we'll come to that same folder and we'll grab this image of some graffiti down here in place. That a little place over the top of our texter because that was the layer we had selected. We can here enter on the same process supply. So if I right click here I can create clipping mask, and it will place that graphic inside the text, which looks supercool. If I want to move these together without putting them into a group, I can hold down, shift, select them both, and then we can move both those. So in selecting them holding now, shift in the layers panel here. So basically, select one of your layers, hold down, shift and select another, and then we can move them together so we can put an image in our type. I'm going to right click on, make a new group from these layers. We'll call this too image inside type, and I'm gonna hide these two layers. 5. Use a Custom Brush for Textured Transparency: the third option we're gonna do here is gonna involve making a bit of a brush to kind of create this. So I'm gonna make a new layer here on I am going, Teoh, grab my brush tool across the left, and then I'm gonna increase the hardness of this a little bit socked around 80% on my brush . Quite big this. I'm gonna decrease that. We'll go for somewhere around 30 pixels. So with the brush now, I'm gonna make sure my capacity up here is set to 100. I'm gonna draw out a shape. Doesn't Actually. Perfect. It's rough. That's gonna be kind of a little nice. So I kind of ah oh, for 10 diamond shape here. And what we're gonna do with this is we're gonna grab the brush again. I'm gonna set this to gray. So basically, I clicked once on my color across here on the left on instead of using the normal mode for the brush, we're going to use dark. And so basically, if I zoom in a little bit so come on And plus to zoom in, I'm going to right click and just increase the size of my brush a little bit, but less on basically now because this is using dark and it's only gonna dark and any pixels behind. It's not actually going to paint over the line. Now I can use the square brackets on my keyboard as well, to reduce the size and increases size that brush or just to the right of the peaky on the keyboard. You can see the left and right square bracket will allow you to increase and decrease the size that I'm gonna drop down the brightness of this. Let's make a little lighter. No, we'll just pop this in there. So basically, when we're making a brush in photo shop, the color will be on the areas of the image that have some color in it, so transparent will be thes graze. And then that kind of full color will be the black here as well. So we're just credit rating. These different graze on that will, when we create the brush, become apparent as to why we're doing that. So because we're using the dark an option. Even if we go over the line here, we're not gonna mess up those darker grace that we already created so and then we'll just do one last one. So maybe it's almost white, but not quite Just so. It holds a little bit color, and I'm always using their square brackets. I went over the edge here just a little bit. Let's undo that. So basically all these are slightly different shade of great. So now I'm gonna do command and zero to fit that on. I'm gonna transform this down a little bit, actually. So if I hold down command and tap T well, just transform this down. So to select my brush, which I need to do, I can hold down command and tap on the layer, and it will make a selection off the area. So you can see is a couple little holes in here are not too worried about that. That could add a little bit of kind of interest to my shape. And if I zoom in, you can see it's basically got a kind of good outline of the black around the outside, which is gonna be great. So if I go to edit Onda defined brush preset, it's gonna define a brush from this shape. So we'll call this diamond shape and I enter to tap. OK, and now basically of my brush selected, I'm just gonna zoom out. So, Commander zero I can now be select everything. So select Andi, select or commodity. And now you can see when I tap here it is going to paint on my brush in its doing very faintly because I have great selected. So if I select a stronger color let's go for this orange You can see we get this brush like this. Okay, so we campaign anyway want with our new brush So what I want to do I'm gonna do select on all will just delay everything we have there. I want to add a bit of randomness to my brush. So if I come to my brushes so on the toolbar at the top here we can select this brushes tab and you can see at the moment my brushes basically, if I paint with it can create this type of pattern But I want to add a bit more dynamism in a bit more randomness to that. So make my brush a bit smaller. I'm actually gonna go back to the default black. So we're just painting on there with the blacks and the graves. And now if I go to scattering and turn this on actually highlighted gray like this, I'm gonna scatter my brush. You can see it scatters now. So when I paint with it, it's gonna scatter on. I can increase or decrease the count. Andi, I can also change the count. Jeter. So basically, it's gonna kind of change as to how it actually Jeter's. When I move that brush across the campus. If I go to my shape dynamics, I can change size. Jessa. I still have everything selected here, so if I just press delete, we'll delete everything you can see. Now I'm getting a variation of size in that brush. So the other thing I'm gonna do is change the angle Jetta and I'll come back and just scatter a bit more and we'll turn on this. Both axes option. So basically, now you can see when I paint. It's kind of painting, but it's scattering this kind of texture, so this might not seem very useful right now, but if we select all of this, we've already got it selected or select all and delete again. And then select Andre de Select. I'm gonna paint on this layer, so I will just kind of filling the middle hair. Andi, you know, create a pattern towards the edge there, and then I'm gonna add a new last. So I'm gonna go to file on place, invented and this all comes back to the clipping mask and we'll choose this kind of rusty texture here that's gonna work quite well with this will place that. And now if we just go to our move tool and move this up, we will. In fact, I'm gonna zoom out a little bit That will do command and Teal controlling t on the PC. And we just expand this a little bit to the edges of our design if we do tomorrow or controlling zero like those brushes. If I now right click and go to create clipping mask, it's actually gonna place that texture within the shape. So you see now, with these layers on the layer behind, this kind of got some transparency in there as well. We start to get this kind of really interesting texture happening with that brush. Now, if we want to modify the brush layer itself weaken. Select that we can go back to our brush. Um, we've got our brush set up here with a scattering. So what we should do before we move any further in here is just come up to our brush panel . Andi will make a new brush preset, so we'll call this diamond shape scatter that's going to include all the tool settings that we have here. So now if we jump back to a different brush here, we can then still go back to our scatter brush so we can change the size this down, and we can start kind of paint in some interesting texture there, into the canvas in this kind of geometric shape mixed with the brush tool works quite nicely. If I come to my race, it'll I can count my brushes here. I can select one of these Russians, not the brush itself on. Then I'm gonna change the capacity of my raise up. But now I can erase some different elements here. So if I want to have the scattering in there, then I would need Teoh kind of come across, set this up a bit more. So basically, I've got a little bit of scatter in there, but I need to change the shape dynamics, the size, Jeter, the angle, Jeter and those kinds of things. And if I dropped down my capacity with the eraser tool, you can see I'm slicing out bits of it. But I'm leaving quite a bit of texture in there as well, so we can play with the brush tool. We can have the razor kind of as a version off that Russia's well okay to add different types of texture to our images as we develop them and all this again using the clipping mosque. So let's select these two layers, right click and go to group from layers will group these together. So this is number three. So call this custom brushes to create transparency. You gonna hide this layer? 6. Use a Custom Brush to Paint Inside A Clipping Mask: now the next option as well includes brushes and shapes. I'm gonna grab a shape here, So just a circle and I'm gonna come to my rush to We'll go back to one of default brushes, so I'm just gonna come up. Teoh might soft round brush. Okay. I can't paint on this last. I'm just gonna cancel that. I don't want to rest. Arise it. I'm gonna make a new layer. So now I want to select a color here. So on account of my colors on the right, Andi, I'm going to right click. Make sure the hardness of my brushes right down, increase the size of my brush. No, that big somewhere around 1500 of thinking is very good. 1400. Perfect. So if I click here now, I just need to select the color. Then basically and select a few different colors in hair and then with the mask, I can select that, and I can put those colors into that circle. So basically, with my brush tool, I still got dark and turned on his I'm gonna go back to normal. I can basically adds some texture or radiant two shapes that I've created open, you can see you can start to get some interesting kind of drops of the light on these different shapes, and playing with the capacity here would also help as well, so we can use shapes to kind of contain different so we can use a shape and then we can paint within it by using a clipping mask. 7. Stack Up Clipping Masks: another thing we can do. And this is the final thing is we can start clipping masks as well. So if I create a new layer here, I'm gonna right click and create new clipping mask and see my clipping layers of stack. Now I cracked my brush tool and I'm gonna go this time to my scatter my diamond shape scatter. You can see now that that scatter is happening inside that stack off the clicking Marceau. It's on top of this as well. And again, I've got dark and turned on this. I'm going back to normal, and we can then have it or control over the color that is dropping onto our layers. Okay, so it has an interesting colors happening on we kill sees the blend modes here as well to kind of get different effects over the top of different layers and to create a different color effects so we could put this texture within a shape within text and kind of stack those clipping mask in that way to have some interesting things happening within our design 8. Clipping Masks for Colour Adjustment: one last thing we can do with the clipping layers I'm gonna turn on my shape in the background. Here is if I keep my top players selected, that's turn on all these layers. With my top players selected, I might want to change the color off this layer. So if I add a hue saturation adjustment layer, I can twist the color. The moment is twisting the color of all those layers. I'm gonna increase the saturation. Andi, change this to somewhere around here. We can lighten it. Weaken darknet, weaken dual that different effects we could do with the hue saturation layer. But again, if we right click and go to create clipping, mask, weaken, just isolate that one single layer so we can do the same for other layers down here as well . So if I add in a hue saturation layer above my custom brush, I can modify the color of that. But then I can right click and create clipping mask. It will constrain that color adjustment onto that very specific player so you can see here now when I made this around hue saturation, only affecting that one layer. It's not affecting the layers or elements in the background or in the foreground there. So again, clipping master really useful those in my top five tips For a different place, you can use clipping mask for putting things inside, text putting images inside shapes on and also for painting inside shape. So actually using the brushes themselves to create your own transparency. So I have that's been useful. If you have any questions about working with clipping mass or photo shop in general, then please do leave comments below. Otherwise, I look forward to seeing you in the next class.