Free Photoshop Video Tutorial: Clipping Mask

Free Photoshop Tutorial: How to use a Clipping Mask

In this post I want to share with you a free Adobe Photoshop video tutorial that I created.  The term clipping mask may not be familiar to you, even even if you use Photoshop on a regular basis.  For years I was focused on portrait work, and I never felt the need to use it.  Once I knew what a clipping mask was and what it can do, my world changed. Ok, that may be an exaggeration, but it’s a fantastic tool to have in your Photoshop arsenal.  It’s a simple trick that creates amazing results with fast click of the mouse.  

What is a Clipping Mask?

Have you ever seen text or shapes with an image inside it?  It was probably made using a clipping mask.  With a clipping mask, combine two elements into one.

Shapes or Text + A graphic = Shapes or Text with Graphics masked into it.  It’s easier to show you:

How to put graphics inside text - Photoshop clipping mask tutorial.


Clipping masks are a great tool for creating:

Blog headers & graphics, T-shirt Designs, advertising graphics, book covers, etc.

Seriously, the sky’s the limit. 

There are a few things I’m taking for granted in this video:

…That you’re familiar with the basics of Adobe Photoshop, such as layers, how to use the text tool & brush tool & that you understand what layer transparency is.

…That you know how to save a file in Photoshop after you’ve completed it, and that you know the difference between a .PSD file (a native Photoshop file where all layers are saved in your file) and a .JPG file (flat, no layers).  There’s also the .PNG file which is a way to save your file while keeping the background transparent, and is a great tool for bloggers or anyone else who needs a transparent file/logo to drop on top of something else.  

Lets jump right in and I’ll show you how clipping masks in Photoshop can bring your creative results to a whole new level.


The beautiful thing is that once you understand how Photoshop clipping masks work, you can create any of these effects, and many more.  The only limit is your imagination.  

You may be wondering – will this work in Adobe Photoshop Elements?  

The answer is YES!  It does!

Make sure you are working in “Expert Mode” and follow along the same steps as in the video.  Here’s a screen capture of the Clipping Mask in action in Adobe Photoshop Elements.  The background layer is turned off (see the eyeball with the red line through it?).  The text layer is above the background layer, and it the background of the text is transparent.  Then the graphic is the next layer up – above the text.  Use Option and click right between the two top layers and voila! the graphic is masked into your text.  

Clipping Mask Tutorial in Photoshop Elements

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Now for some technical info – This video was made using Adobe Photoshop CC 2015.5.1 on an iMac. During the video, when I tell you what button on your keyboard to click, I also tell you what to use if you’re on a PC using Windows.  

I hope this has been helpful to you!  Please comment below if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to answer.


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