The most debatable topic among photo editors is the difference between clipping path as well as image masking. Both techniques are used to remove the background from the images; hence there is a thin line between the two, but with a significant impact on the output.

When we say a massive impact on the output, we mean it because the common differentiator of both is the process of background removal these two follows.

Interesting right?

Let’s dig deep to find out the breakdown of clipping path vs image masking.

What is a clipping path?

This technique is considered the most professional editing option of Photoshop. It is widely used for background removal by creating edges around the item present in the pictures to separate it from the background.

Photo clipping path is a state-of-the-art technique of image clipping that requires an expert hand which expert clipping path services can only provide; they deliver impressive outputs and help increase sales.

Types of clipping path

This may sound easy, but it has manifolds that provide various image file formats.

  • Single Layer clipping path

    With the help of Pen Tool in Photoshop, a single-layered path is created, called a single-layer path. This is helpful when you only need to change or remove the background.

  • Multi-Layer clipping path

    This is a format under which Pen Tool is used to create multiple parts of an image, particularly for retouches. This is an advanced version of the path that separates each part.

How is the Clipping Path used in Image Editing?

As such, there is no limitation when it comes to usage. You can use a path for multi-purposes while editing an image. We’ve listed some for you

  • Background Removal

    Have you ever thought about why eCommerce platforms prefer product images in white? It is the basic standard they follow to pop out the product. This is done through path technique by removing the existing background.

    If you want to give your product image a cutting-edge look? Use the pen tool, a part of the clipping path available in Photoshop.

  • For Adding Multiple Colours

    It is often seen that some images speak louder because of the eye-catchy colors within. This is done by a multi-clipping path and is among the favorites while editing.

    The path works on interchanging the shade and removing the background from the image. It also creates separate paths for various colors in the product. With the use of a path, the need for pro photography skills is not needed and is also a cost-effective option.

  • Color Correction

    Well, a camera can’t capture what the eyes see. So, to give the desired colors to the captured images, the clipping path helps. The clipping path solves the problem and makes your product image look lucrative.

  • Photo Retouching

    When we say retouching, it means the removal of stains, unedited parts, or any other flaw in the image. It also helps in turning vintage images to brand new ones.

    The clipping path is a standard technique in Photoshop that provides quality editing to make your picture look attractive.

What is Image Masking?

This is another background removal technique in Photoshop, including tools like Magic Eraser, the Color separation technique, and the background eraser tool.

With the help of these tools, photo editors believe in having more control over the editing part as it gives ample space to adjust a particular section of the featured product or any figure without touching any other.

This technique is considered a boon for complex images in terms of lines, like fur, hair, or such sections of any product.

To better understand the topic, let’s look at what a clipping mask is and compare it to a clipping mask vs a layer mask.

Types of Image Masking

Broadly, there are 3 types of image masking.

  • Layer Masking

    Layer masking is a format that allows you to hide or reveal any area of a picture by various layering.

    Considered to be one of the top features, it also helps you to carve any area that can be completely invisible or partly visible, and you can also change the opacity of the picture.

  • Clipping Mask

    People generally confuse it with clipping path and ask what a clipping mask is? It is just an advanced version of layer mask, as this technique provides editors with the advantage of multiple layer masking.

    So, in short, when it comes to clipping mask vs layer mask, a simple answer to it is clipping mask is an upgraded version of layer masking.

  • Alpha Channel Masking

    Compared to the above 2 types, Alpha channel masking is considered complex. This is because masking out critical areas in an image is quite cumbersome and challenging.

    Also known as ‘Raster Making’, this technique is relatively straightforward regarding contrast levels of an object and the background.

How Image Masking is used in Image Editing?

This technique covers a wide area of image editing. Below some of them are listed

  • Generating collage

    Prior generating a collage was considered quite a task, but no longer. This is because now image masking provides full support to achieve this task.

    You can quickly enhance your images by putting amazing effects using different photos and smearing masking on them

  • Background Removal or Replacement

    Like path, image masking also does the job of replacing and removing the background as it is the demand for various eCommerce companies to have their products in white background.

  • Modifying any image

    Modifying any image is quite common in photography. For example, if you want to change the color of apparel, whether on a ghost mannequin or a model, make the area visible by creating a mask and playing with the colors, shades, etc.

So, this sums up how to differentiate between clipping path and image masking. These techniques help pop out any feature and make it look professional. This can only be done by expert hands like image masking services or clipping path services provided by the best photo editing companies.

Christa Elrod linkedinDribbbleBehance

Christa Elrod serves as a senior graphic designer at ProGlobalBusinessSolutions. She is a creative designer with robust skills in typography, UI/UX designs, printing designs, video post-production, and 3D designs. Possessing years of experience across diverse industries, Christa loves to educate fellow designers with her experience and domain knowledge.