Clipping masks are very valuable tools when it comes to creating blog and website graphics. It allows an image to fit inside of a shape, instead of sitting on top of the shape. Clipping masks are often used when filling in mood boards or style guides. I will be using a mood board template I created (available on my freebies page!) as an example.

There is a video at the end of this post describing this process as well, for all of you auditory/visual learners out there. 😉

clippingmask before and afterHere are the 4 basic steps to creating a clipping mask. I will go into more detail in the steps below.

  1. Select the shape you want to fit your image inside.
  2. Drag the image into your photoshop document & resize.
  3. Right click the image layer and select “create clipping mask”.
  4. Resize the image to your liking.

1. SELECT THE SHAPE YOU WANT TO FIT YOUR IMAGE INSIDE

move tool

Do this by selecting the move tool (arrow looking icon), then click on the shape you want to fit the image in while holding down the command key.

Keyboard Shortcut: Pressing “v” will select the move tool for you. 

2. DRAG THE IMAGE INTO YOUR PHOTOSHOP DOCUMENT AND RESIZE

mood board transform

After dragging your image into the photoshop document, it will automatically allow you to “transform”, or resize the image. Hold down shift as you resize the image to keep the original form. Press enter when you are finished. You can always resize the image later when we fit the image inside of the shape.

3. CREATE THE CLIPPING MASK

In your layers panel, right click on your image layer (which should be placed right above the shape layer it will be going into), then select “create clipping mask.” Voila! The image should fit inside the shape.

4. SIZE THE IMAGE TO YOUR LIKING

To resize the image some more, go to Edit > Free Transform, with the image in the layer panel selected.

Keyboard Shortcut: Press Command T on your keyboard to activate free transform.

There you have it! Now have fun making some cool mood boards and graphics!

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