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Clipping Masks

You may want to go to Anything-you-want Brush first!

Clipping Masks

Let's say you've got three layers.

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This is what you see in the work area.

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Next, you press Ctrl + g (PSE 15: Ctrl + Alt + g), and group the green layer with the blank layer.

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This is what you see in the work area.

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Then, you click the blank layer in the middle.

Using the Brush tool, loaded with black, you brush across the blank layer.

Look for the black brush stroke in the middle layer, the blank layer.

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This is what you see in the work area.

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The above is a clipping group.

You use a clipping group to combine parts of two layers.

You do the combining in the blank layer, in the middle, using the Brush tool and other tools.

Let's call this blank layer the clipping masking layer.

The pixels—the black brush stroke—in the clipping mask layer—reveal the layer above—the green layer.

That is, wherever you add pixels to the clipping mask layer, you'll then see the top layer.

Caution

Don't try to understand how a clipping mask layer works by using your understanding of masks.

White reveals; black blocks.

The above statement applies to masks, but not to clipping masks.

Adding Pixels

There are five ways you can add pixels to the clipping mask layer.

Remember, the clipping mask layer is the middle layer, the blank layer.

For clarity, colored layers are used below.

You can use photographs, etc.

Way #1 - Paint a Mask

We did this one.

Paint on the clipping mask layer with pixels of some sort.

Way #2 - Create a Shape

Press Alt + Backspace (or Delete) to fill the clipping mask layer with the foreground color.

Here, black was used.

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You have to fill the clipping mask layer with pixels because the Cookie Cutter tool doesn't have paint.

Select a shape, and click, hold, and drag.

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This is what it looks like in the work space

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Way #3 - Make a Selection

Delete the clipping mask layer.

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Make sure the bottom layer is active (highlighted).

You won't see red in the work area.

Draw a selection.

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Press Ctrl + j to copy the selected area to a new layer.

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Group the top layer with the selection layer, which is the clipping mask layer.

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This is what it looks like in the work space

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Way #4 - Use a Pattern or Gradient

The pattern or the gradient must have areas of transparency (checkerboard pattern).

For example:

• You can use a Foreground to Transparent gradient.

It has some transparency.

• You can't use Foreground to Background gradient.

Set the layers up in the usual structure.

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Draw a Foreground to Transparent gradient on the clipping mask layer.

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This is what it looks like in the work area.

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Way #5 - Make a Type Layer

Set the layers up in the usual structure.

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Make sure the clipping mask layer is active (highlighted).

Select the Type tool, and enter text.

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This is what it looks like in the work area.

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Below, photographs were used with the Type tool.

Layer 1 was moved up with the Move tool in order to have the snow form the letters.

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The letters are formed by the top layer.

The snow covered rock is the bottom layer.

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Here's another example.

Example: Dust & Scratches Brush

You can use clipping masks to paint with specialized brushes.

For example, you can paint away dust and scratches.

Go to Dust & Scratches Brush.