How to Create a Clipping Path in Photoshop – 14 Easy Steps

Nowadays, the more creatively a photo is presented, the better chance it has to attract people. That is why people of various professions prefer using edited pictures for different purposes. And one of the common editing works that come in handy in gaining an audience and making photos look authentic is the clipping path or clipping mask Photoshop.

Clipping path images are widely used in the e-commerce sector. Photographers and image editors also use it to change the image background or put several image subjects together.

I started writing this article to help you learn how to create a clipping path in Photoshop. But I think it is essential to know all about the clipping path in Photoshop, how it works, and why you need it. So I covered pretty much everything you need to know in the following parts of the article.

What Is A Clipping Path In Photoshop? How Does It Work?

So, what is a clipping path in Photoshop, and how do you think it works to transform images? You will find the answer right here.

The clipping path is often referred to as a closed vector path or a shape outlined using photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop. It is the editing process to remove or change the background by removing the subject by creating paths.

Adobe Photoshop has many tools to use on the clipping paths. However, you need the Pen Tool to draw around the subject to create an outline and cut the selected part out of the main photo. It is an effective and handy tool for changing photo backgrounds.

Though Photoshop paths sound simple to create, outlining images and cutting them out is not that easy. If you are a beginner, you need a lot of practice to achieve the skill of hand-drawing around the subject efficiently.

But some people use the Clipping Path option rather than the Pen Tool as it helps outline the images, even the smallest parts, without much hassle. And if you do everything right, the edited image will appear flawless, with smooth edges, and look realistic to its audience.

Clipping path edits generally work like these:

  • Layering:- A photo has pixels and dots around them. And layering is the combination of those dots around the photo subject’s pixels. Editing the image or creating an outline with the Pen Tool requires more skill. If not, it will become challenging to adjust the dots and layers.
  • Object Removal:- The next part of the clipping path involves object removal. Unlike cropping an image where you have to cut out a portion of the image, object removal helps remove anything with accurate boundaries.
  • Background Removal:- Around the final stage, the image becomes suitable for transferring from one background to another. The clipped image will have a transferable background, suitable for placing on any background, color or not.

How to Create a Clipping Path in Photoshop?

Knowing how to create a clipping path in Photoshop has its own advantages. That is why it is essential to perfect the editing task so that it appears natural with no uneven edges.

However, it can be challenging for beginners to understand how clipping path Photoshop is created. And that is why I prepared the following step-by-step guide. This article will follow these steps to learn to create Photoshop paths.

Steps to follow

  1. Make Sure You Have An Upgraded Adobe Photoshop Tool
  2. Choose An Image
  3. Launch Adobe Photoshop Application
  4. Open The Photo In Photoshop App
  5. Select The Pen Tool
  6. Select A New Path
  7. Create Anchor Points
  8. Draw The Inside Paths
  9. Adjust Or Modify The Path
  10. Save The Selected Path
  11. Create The Clipping Path
  12. Remove The Background Layer
  13. The Background Layer
  14. Save The Image

Now, get ready to follow these steps strictly to create a clipping path to transform any image.

Step 1: Make Sure You Have An Upgraded Adobe Photoshop Tool

Adobe Photoshop  Version 2022

Since I prepared this tutorial and instruction guide following the process of the Adobe Photoshop tool, you must have it too. But make sure to have the upgraded version so that working on the application becomes efficient for you. Besides, newer versions always give you a smoother working experience.

Related Article:- Adobe Lightroom vs Photoshop Express

Step 2: Choose An Image

You cannot create a clipping path without the appropriate image. So choose an image that has a removable subject or object.

Best Two Caps Photo

If you are a beginner, I would advise selecting a photo with a simple subject, such as a bag with a handbag, wallet, shoe, a simple toy, etc.

Step 3: Launch Adobe Photoshop Application

Once you have chosen the image you want to edit, launch your Adobe Photoshop application. I bet you are already familiar with this application.

Open Photoshop 2022

If you are not, the app’s icon says Ps, which you can spot easily. Double click on the app to launch it if you are working from your computer.

Step 4: Open The Photo In Photoshop App

Next, open the image you chose for editing in the Photoshop application.

Open File In Photoshop 2022
Import File In Photoshop

To do that, go to the top panel, click on File, and select Open from the drop-down menu. For a shortcut, press CTRL+O (COMMAND+O on MAC) to open the files.

The option will take you to your computer’s storage. Click on the chosen image to upload it into the Photoshop app.

Step 5: Select The Pen Tool

Once the image uploading is done, you should select the Pen Tool, the most important tool to create a clipping path Photoshop image.

Pen Tool Select In Photoshop

You will find the Pen Tool on the left-side screen Toolbar, or you can press P on both Windows and MAC.

Step 6: Select A New Path

Now the beauty of the Pen Tool lies in its multiple paths selection option. Based on your working requirement, you can choose a new path option.

Find Combine Shapes Photoshop

Click on Path on the options bar and select Combine Shapes. It will help you select any shape and object freely.

Step 7: Create Anchor Points

After that, Zoom into the photo so you can see the subject’s edges more clearly. I used 300% Zoom, and the edges became more visible.

Two Caps Path Selection Photoshop

Then use the tool to draw around the outer edges, also known as the anchor points. Try to keep the drawing lines as close to the subject’s edges as possible.

Step 8: Draw The Inside Paths

If you use a bag’s photo for the experiment, it also has a handle, right? So you must also draw inside paths to cut out the image flawlessly.

Bag Inside Path Photoshop

The inside path is the inner but open areas of the photo subject, and you need to draw around the inner edges.

Related Article:- Convert A Photo to Line Art Drawing in Photoshop

Step 9: Adjust Or Modify The Path

It is not unusual for first-timers to get everything right on the first go. So if there is something to adjust and modify, you can do it in this stage. From the left-side Toolbar,

Path Selection Tool Photoshop

Click on the Path Selection Tool or A from your keyboard.

Cap Path Adjusting Photoshop

Pull and stretch the paths as you need to adjust them.

Two Caps Path Selection Photoshop

Press CTRL+Enter on Windows or COMMAND+Return on MAC to mark the final selection.

Step 10: Save The Selected Path

Now that you have selected the paths around the subject, you need to save it. To do that, go to the Layer panel,

Save Path In Photoshop

click the Path tab and select Save Path from the drop-down menu. You can Save the path as Path 1 for later work.

Step 11: Create The Clipping Path

Once again, go to the Path tab under the Layer panel, and you will get the drop-down menu. Select Clipping Path from there, and a dialog box will pop up.

Clipping Path In Photoshop

There, you will also see a box that says Flatness which shows the photo’s flatness value. The more value it has, the smoother edges you get. But without worrying about it, click OK to create the clipping path.

Related Article:- Top 19 Clipping Path Service Providers

Step 12: Remove The Background

Your main job is done! And now, it is time to remove the existing background layer. Click on the Layer panel on the right side of your screen.

Add Layer Mask To Remove Background

Then double-click on the Layer Mask icon and the image background will be gone. Instead of a solid background, you will be left with a transparent background.

Step 13: The Background Layer

Though the original background layer is no longer visible, it will be there. You can bring it back and use it whenever you want.

Layer Backgrund To Make Clipping Path

However, the transparent background will allow you to set the image on top of any other image layer.

Step 14: Save The Image

From the top Menu Bar, go to File and select Save As from the drop-down menu.

How To Save As Photo In Photoshop

You can also do it from your keyboard by pressing CTRL+Shift+S on Windows. From MAC, it is a hassle to do it from the keyboard as you have to press Shift+Option+Command+S.

Photoshop Save File PSD PNG and JPG

It is best to save the image in JPEG, TIFF, and PSD format. Doing so will allow you to use the image for various purposes whenever and however you need it.

Types Of Clipping Path

Clipping path edits have varieties depending on various factors. All these varieties are categorized into two parts.

  1. Clipping path based on the image layers
  2. Clipping path based on complexity

And they come in various types of clipping path edits that serve different purposes. Here is more on various types of clipping paths.

Based On Image Layers

Creating a clipping path is not just about creating paths using the tools. It also involves adjusting different layers of the image. Based on that, there are three types of clipping paths.

Single Layer Path

A single-layer clipping path is where the clipping path is used to remove the background of a single-subject image. Creating such a path is comparatively easy and quick compared to the other types. Here, the editor draws the path with a single layer on the same layer.

Multiple-Layer Path

In a multiple-layer path, you create several clipping paths in more than one layer. That is because such photos usually have multiple subjects. So even after you use the Pen Tool and create various paths to remove the subjects, you still need to retouch multiple areas to give the photo a smooth finish.

Illustrator Path

The illustrator clipping path is different from the other two. It is more like cropping out a part of a photo to remove the background while you keep the main subject as it is. Besides, it helps you resize any image without ruining its quality and resolution.

Based On Complexity

The above-mentioned types were for creating clipping paths and editing images based on their layer. But photo editing service agencies categorized clipping paths based on their editing complexity, and here they are.

Basic/Simple Clipping Path

All the images that help create a quick clipping path in Photoshop fall into this category. Why? Because the subjects in such photos come in simple shapes with no curves or holes.

If you are a professional, you can outline the subjects with the Pen Tool in a swift motion as they hardly require any anchor point. So what are these shapes or subjects I am talking about?

They are mostly round, square, rectangles, triangles, etc., in shape. Some examples of the items that fall into this type are balls, books, mobiles, eggs, saucers, etc.

Medium Clipping Path

Photos that fall into this type of path are not simple or quick to edit. They come with slight curves and often have some holes. You need to add more anchor points to create paths and edit.

If you are a newbie, clipping path Photoshop like this can take a while. But for experienced people, it takes only a bit longer than basic path creation. So what are the products or image subjects for these photos?

Usually, toys, show pieces, and jewelry with simple designs, watches, belts, shoes, dresses, etc., are some examples. The delivery will not take long if you take a medium clipping path service.

Complex Clipping Path

This is an advanced clipping path type that requires more work. Here, the image can have a complex subject with more curves and holes. And you will have to add many anchor points in such photos.

Creating clipping paths in such images requires lots of hard work for newbies. In fact, it is somewhat impossible to create paths with perfection if you lack experience. Even professionals spend hours editing these images.

While the subjects of such images can have simple shapes, their complex design can make creating paths challenging. Some examples of this type of photo are bicycles, fences, baskets, furry animals, etc.

Super Complex Clipping Path

These are the work of professional photo editors as they come with the highest complexity. It is called a super complex clipping path because the curves are always too complex to outline and require higher skills to perfect them.

On top of that, the subjects have too many holes and complex shapes and require many anchor points. That is why they are not the work for beginners as the professionals need to work with precision here.

Taking a super complex clipping path service can be pretty expensive, and delivery takes longer. Some examples of this type of clipping path images are chandeliers, trees, heavy jewelry, and models with complex poses in various dresses, group photos, etc.

Importance Of Clipping Path Images

So why go through all this fuss and use this complex editing process? What purposes do they serve, or why is it essential to use clipping paths?

Clipping path has a massive demand in product photography, modeling, and the e-commerce sector. But here is more on why the clipping path is important.

Removes Unnecessary Background

The most important reason people use clipping path in Photoshop editing is that it is handy and effective in removing backgrounds. Whether you do not like the existing background or want a change, there is no better way than using this tool.

Removes Unimportant Parts

When shooting a photograph, it is not uncommon to get unwanted objects in the frame. But a nice backdrop with an unwanted object ruins the charm of the image. That is why the clipping path or clipping mask Photoshop is important, as it allows you to remove any unwanted objects from the photo.

Retouching And Color Correction

Clipping path is not limited to drawing paths and cutting subjects and objects out of photos. Retouching and color correction is also essential to give the image smooth edges and a better outcome. It also helps make the image look realistic to the audience.

Grow Audience

Talking about the audience, clipping path images is vital for various professions and businesses. I will talk more about it in the following section of the article, but let me say here that the clipping path helps photos look attractive. Thus, it is important to help businesses attract and grow audiences.


As I mentioned a moment ago, the clipping path helps images look realistic to their audience. Thus, it grows a sense of authenticity for the customers or target buyers. That is how it helps businesses flourish effectively.

Professional Touch

No one glances twice at a poorly-edited photo or one that appears unrealistic and unattractive. But clipping path requires skill and helps give the edited photos a professional touch. It also helps the images appear more vibrant and flawless.

Where Can You Use Clipping Path Images?

You know now what a clipping path image can give you. But where does it get used? Here I mentioned some areas of professions where the clipping path plays a vital role.

Photography Profession

As a photographer, taking photos is not always the only work. Many photographers edit those captured photos for personal and professional uses. And if you are a product or fashion photographer, learning how to create a clipping path in Photoshop is essential.

Product Photo

As I said a moment ago, the clipping path is highly useful for product photography. Not only does it help add and change backgrounds, but it also changes how the product looks, removing its flaws. If you are in sales, you should know that using clipping paths in product photography effectively boosts sales.

E-Commerce Site

One can hardly think of putting photos on e-commerce sites without going through clipping path edits. You need to ensure there are no unnecessary objects in the image, and they mostly contain a white background. And the only way to achieve all of these is by using clipping paths or clipping mask Photoshop.

Banners And Posters

The attractive banners and posters we see hovering over our heads and on the streets automatically get our heads turned. That is because they are always presented in a professional and eye-catching way. And many of these banners and posters contain clipping path images to achieve that.

Graphics Design

Graphic designers do a lot of editing works and design various things. And all the designs, logos, illustrations, banners, and posters you see often include clipping path edits. That is why the clipping path is highly useful for graphic designers.

Architecture And Interior Design

It is pretty much impossible to create mesmerizing architecture and interior designs without using the clipping path. If you are into the job, you want to impress your clients. Clipping path helps put together beautiful designs and presents the final design.

Frequently Asked Questions

Adobe Photoshop has many tools that you can use to edit various images as you wish. And creating a clipping path also requires multiple tools from start to finish. However, the two common tools that you might have to use are the Pen Tool and the Sharp Tool.

The selection process is different based on which device or computer you use. If you are a Windows user, you can press CTRL+Enter to select the path. On the other hand, MAC users need to press CMD+Return to make the selection.

Though they seem similar, clipping path and masking have certain differences. The clipping path is done using the Pen Tool. On the other hand, masking requires tools like Magic Eraser, Background Erase, Refine Mask, etc. Besides, the editing processes for both are also different.

The most common reason why it happens is when you do not notice or forget the overlay on the bottom layer. That is why the image disappears after you create a clipping masking.

  • You can create a clipping path in Photoshop CC in the following ways:
  • Open the image in your Photoshop CC application
  • Select the Pen Tool
  • Select the new path
  • Draw the clipping path around the subject
  • Press CTRL+Enter to make the selection

Final Words

These days, there is a huge demand for highly edited images, and most of them involve the clipping path. So if you aspire to be a professional who provides photo editing services, it is best if you know how to create clipping mask in Photoshop.

Learning how to create a clipping path in Photoshop or testing your clipping mask Photoshop skill is not that simple. You can learn this pretty quickly if you are somewhat experienced with such editing. But remember to experiment with other photos as you level up to improve your skill.

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