What is the difference between clipping path and masking?

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Clipping and masking are two widely performed tasks in Photoshop. People carry out these two tasks mostly for eCommerce product photography; thus, businesses hire a clipping path service provider

However, as a learner, you might mix up these two processes. Let’s first check out what these two terms mean in photoshop.

What is clipping path?

You will find clipping path under the pen device. With it, you can remove the base from a high-augmentation image as a single item picture or explicit part.

Using this strategy, you can transform the shading, foundation removes, shape, logo, shadow, and almost everything in a single photograph.

What is masking?

Masking is a Photoshop technique that allows you to combine two or more images into one. By utilizing this feature, you can cut any object from a photo, remove the background of any image, and do many other things. You can use these masks to do different types of masking in Photoshop to edit pictures.

What are the differences between clipping path and masking?

Both methods are extremely beneficial and are used for different purposes. Simply, you can say that they are helpful in two different ways. 

Let’s find out the differences between the two photo editing processes.

  • Image masking is the best option for removing the background of intricate photographs. In contrast, you can apply clipping path if you want to sharpen the edges of an image. It is most suitable when you have simple images.
  • The clipping path gives an image a realistic appearance. You can do the same with the image masking. But the difference is it offers more professional touch. In the clipping path, you can change the photo by performing an image masking and by controlling the limpidity.
  • When working with multiple objects, the clipping path is what you need to utilize. On the other hand, image masking is preferable when working with a single purpose.
  • Clipping images necessitates using the same clipping path cluster because it works on a single layer. So, you don’t need to add any masking image. In the masking, you need to add several layers to mask or merge one photo with another.

Types of clipping path

There is three variety of paths available in Photoshop and Illustrator. That depends on the complexity and intent of images.

  1. Single-layer path

The Single Layer Path is created by drawing a simple path on the hard edge of images with the pen tool. The path is usually drawn on the same layer as the object. This is an excellent method to employ when you need to change or remove a background.

  1. Multi-layer path

Multi-Layer paths are created using the pen tool to create paths on multiple layers. It’s the best for image retouches. And it allows you to correct or change a specific part of an image.

  1. Illustrator path

Illustrator clipping path refers to the process of creating one or more vector shapes that follow the subjective portion of an image. It’s a path that can be any shape or design and is non-destructive. It allows us to resize images to fit our needs without sacrificing resolution.

Types of image masking

There are 3 types of masking in Photoshop. You can use them to do various types of masking for image editing.

  1. Layer masking

You can use a layer mask to hide a portion of a layer. This allows you to restrict any layer, so only a selective part of it affects the image. For example, portrait photographers use a layer mask on a brightness and contrast layer to brighten only the model’s face.

  1. Clipping mask

In the clipping mask, you will have a collection of layers, and a mask applied to them. The bottommost layer or base layer defines the visible boundary lines of the entire group. Suppose you have a shape in the bottom layer, a photograph, and text in the layer above.

  1. Channel mask

When you select a portion of an image, the rest of the image is masked or protected from further editing. As a result, when you make a mask, you’re isolating and covering areas of an image while applying color changes, filters, or other effects to the rest of it.

Channel masks can also be used for more complex image editing, such as gradually applying color or filter effects to an image.

Final words

So, removing the background from an image differs between clipping path and image masking. And masking is required for more complex images. However, a clipping path can technically remove the background from complex images. But the result isn’t as appealing as image masking.