Difference between Clipping Path and Masking - Outside

Photos are always special. Their souls are irreplaceable. They hold the memories of our lives, times we will never get back again. But what if those photos are not perfect? What if there are some unwanted objects in the photos that you want to remove? We want stunning, artistic, and high-quality images to show off proudly. This is where editing comes in. 

In image editing, two main techniques are used to isolate a subject from its background: clipping path and masking. Both accomplish the same goal of detaching a subject from its surroundings, but with different approaches.

Let’s break down the different scenarios of application for each technique.

What is a Clipping Path?

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A clipping path cuts out a 2D object from its background. It is drawn by hand using a pen tool in Photoshop, selecting paths that form the closed vector shape around the subject. Everything inside the path will be included in the final image, and everything outside will be removed.

Clipping path services are commonly used for e-commerce product photos that need to be isolated from their backgrounds for web use. This technique is ideal for images with defined edges and simple backgrounds. However, an expert’s hand is required to draw an exact path for the desired result.

A poorly drawn clipping path will result in a jagged edge around the subject. It doesn’t look real or natural and needs to be redone. Consumers are attracted to quality, so if your product photos don’t look good, they won’t convert and reflect in sales.

Vector People want your photos to look amazing, and our team of experts can provide you with the highest quality clipping path service to ensure your images are perfect. We zoom into images at a high level to get the most accurate path possible.

Types of Clipping Paths

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There are different types of Photoshop clipping path services that can be used depending on the subject matter. Some of the most common include:

Single-Layer Clipping Path

It is the basic type of clipping path used to cut out simple 2D shapes with the pen tool. This single-layer clipping path is ideal for photos with defined edges and simple backgrounds.

Multi-Layer Clipping Path

A multi-layer clipping path is used to cut out more complex 2D objects with multiple parts. The use of this advanced technique may be helpful to retouchers, especially if you need to color correct sections of the picture. 

Illustrator Clipping Path

Photoshop isn’t the only software for creating clipping paths. Adobe Illustrator can also be used for this purpose. An illustrator clipping path is made with the pen tool in vector form. This type of clipping path is ideal for complex shapes and graphics. It allows you to cut out images into a specific shape.

What is Image Masking?

Image Masking

Image masking isolates a subject in a photo with a complex background containing hair, fur, or other fine details.

Image masking is done by creating a layer mask, which allows you to selectively remove parts of an image while leaving other parts intact. It involves a variety of Photoshop tools such as a background eraser, magic eraser tool, and color separation method. These are impossible to achieve with a clipping path.

Besides unclear or fuzzy edges, image masking can deal with an image’s transparency, semi-transparency, and reflections. You will get multiple curves and anchor points with image masking to give your photo a natural look. It plays the rescuer role while dealing with furry animals or human hair.

Image masking is a complex process that takes time and patience to get right. But the results are worth it, and this technique should be used when the clipping path technique won’t suffice.

Types of Image Masking

Depending on the subject matter, different kinds of image masking techniques need to be considered. Such as:

Layer Masking

Layer masking is used to selectively hide or reveal parts of an image while leaving other pieces intact. You can modify the transparency of the layer mask, which allows you to control how much of the image is showing. One of the most remarkable features of layer creation is that it will enable you to make any part of an image completely or partially transparent.

Remember, improving the layer’s opacity using the opacity slider from the layer panel will affect the object’s transparency.

Clipping Mask

A clipping mask is used to create a mask from one layer to reveal the image on the layer below it. Only the part of the image within the top layer’s shape will be visible from the underneath layer. We can adjust the top layer’s transparency levels by clipping masks.

Alpha Channel Masking

A complex image editing technique, alpha channel masking, is used to create a mask from an image’s alpha channel. It is an extra layer of information that contains transparency information. This type of masking cuts out images with complex shapes, like hair or fur.

Clipping Path vs. Masking

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Now that you know the difference between clipping path and masking, you can decide which one is right to remove the background of your image. 

Image masking is the way to go if you have a complex image with multiple parts or an image with furry animals or human hair. On the other hand, a clipping path may be all you need if you have a simple image with defined edges and a single background.

You can use both editing approaches in a single image. For example, with a clipping path, you can easily remove the background, and with image masking, you can make some portion of the foreground object transparent. It all depends on your requirements and the type of image you are dealing with.

In a nutshell, both have their significance in the world of photo retouching but require professional skills to execute flawlessly. Vector People offer layer mask and clipping path services at an affordable price with a quick turnaround time. Our team of highly expert designers can help you with all your image editing needs. Contact us today for the best quality services.

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