Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Creating a Custom Clipping Mask (Using Shapes and Text)

One way I like making my scrapbook pages unique is to create a custom clipping mask.  A clipping mask is basically a shape created in Photoshop programs that you can force or "clip" a picture into, and it will take on the shape of the mask. The one I used here for the focal picture is a combination of two geometric shapes, and includes a title phrase as part of the mask as well.  It's nice to be able to create a mask like this if you have a cute kit, but still need something special to fit the theme of your page. 

Here's the process I used to make my clipping mask; if you need a larger view of the photos here, click on each picture to enlarge it.  You can easily adapt what I've done here to fit in with your own project ideas.

Step One:
Start by creating the basic shape you want to use for your clipping mask.  In this case,  I chose the custom shape tool from the tool bar, and created a half circle shape from the menu shown below in the option bar.  I rotated it so that the curve of the circle was facing up and resized to the dimensions I wanted it. 

Step Two:
Create a text path on a circle shape (or any shape of your choosing).  In PSE 10 and up, you can do this by clicking on the text tool in the tool bar, then choosing the "text path on a shape" icon in the options bar.  The icon is basically is a letter T with a wavy box around it.  If you have an earlier version of PSE (which won't have text path functionality), you can buy shaped text paths to use from various sources online.  Here is a text path kit you can buy at Pixels and Company.  

Otherwise, choose the ellipse shape from the options bar, hold down the shift key, and draw a circular text path.  After the path is created, you can see a blinking cursor on it.  Start typing in your text along the path.  You can choose your font either before or after your type in your words.  I used the Cerebral font here.  You may need to resize and reposition your text to look good next to the shape you created.

Step Three: 
Place the text on the top of the half circle, so that the bottom edges of the letters are not visible and seem to blend into the circle.  Again, you may need to rotate the text a bit and adjust the positioning to make it fit correctly onto the circle shape.

Next, create a new layer, then go back and click the shape tool again.  Choose the rectangle shape from the options bar, and carefully create a rectangle that's the same width as your half circle.  Once all three pieces of your custom mask are positioned correctly, hold down the shift key and select all three of those layers in the layers palette (your circular shape, the text, and the rectangle).  Right click on those layers, and from the fly out menu that appears, choose "merge layers."  At this point, the three separate pieces are now all one unit, and your custom mask is ready for you to clip in a photo. 

Step Four:
This step is optional, but if you'd like, add a stroked outline to the top of your mask.  It's adds a nice touch and helps the text to pop out a bit more.  If you'd like to do this, then create a new layer just above your layer with your clipping mask in the layers palette.  Hold down the control key (command key on a Mac), and click down on the clipping mask layer.   This will make the "marching ants" show around the outside edge of your mask.

Then, go to the Menu Bar, and go to Edit > Stroke Outline Selection.  A menu box will pop up and will prompt you to put in the width (or thickness of) your outline, and will allow you to choose the color of the stroke.  You can make the adjustments that you want, and then click OK.  In the picture below, I chose a width of six pixels and changed the color from white to gray (click on the color in the rectangle next to the word "color" to choose a different shade than the one that's showing).

You should now see a colored outline around the outer edges of your mask by those marching ants. Click control (or command) D to deselect the mask.  I wanted to add some visual interest, so instead of leaving the stroke lined up exactly with the outside of the shape, I grabbed the move tool.   Then I clicked on the outline, and then used the arrow keys on my keyboard to offset the stroke slightly to the right.

 Step Five:
Once you are finished with your cool custom mask, drag the mask and stroke layers onto your layout.  To clip a photo into it with the stroked outline on top, place the photo in between the stroke and clipping mask layers. Make sure the photo layer is selected in the layers palette.  Go to the menu bar and choose Layer > Create Clipping Mask, and your photo will conform to the shape of your mask.  Adjust the color of the stroked outline if needed.  I changed the color to the lighter aqua found in some of the triangles on the patterned paper by using the eye dropper tool, then going to Edit > Fill Layer > Use: Background Color.

 I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and if you want to pick up the gorgeous kit I used here, it's the FocusClickRepeat Collab kit by Celeste and Amanda Yi.  Have fun with this technique have a beautiful day!


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Graphics Path said...

I'm glad to see your tutorial. I'm trying to solve my problem. I've little idea about clipping mask but when i place the text on the top of the half circle, so that the bottom edges of the letters are not visible and seem to blend into the circle but i don't understand that i need to rotate the text a bit and adjust the positioning to make it fit correctly onto the circle shape. Thank you for wonderful sharing.

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