(Super) Easy Clipping Mask Tutorial for Photoshop

Jan 18, 2013

Okay, do you want to know one of the easiest, handiest tricks you can do with Photoshop? 
Clipping masks. 
They take five seconds and are seriously so simple. I have Photoshop Elements 8 but you can use this tutorial for almost every version. If you are a Photoshop beginner, read on!

So you've seen graphics that are filled with some kind of pattern, right? If not, just scroll up a little bit and check out the elephants ;). Today you will learn how to fill any kind of shape/word with a photo or pattern.
Step 1. Start by making sure your layers bar is showing. If it isn't there, go the "window" tab near the top of your screen and click on "Layers". 
Now open up a new file. You can do this by hitting ctrl+n and typing in the sizes. My image was 600x400 pixels.
Step 2. Type in any word you want by clicking on the little "T" in the tool bar. Be sure to choose a wide font so the photo will show through clearly.
Step 3. Click on the "file" tab and click "place".
Step 4. This will open up your image files. Choose a photo you want to insert into your image. Click "place".
Step 5. You just inserted your picture into your image as another layer. Be sure it overlaps your word. If it's behind it, you can rearrange it by dragging the picture box to a different spot in the layers panel.

Now here comes the magic... Press Ctrl+g.
Boom! Your photo just got "clipped" to the shape behind it.
You can drag the photo around inside the clipping mask so it will show through differently.
Now for the last step... "link" the two layers by holding down ctrl as you select them both in the layers panel. Then right click them and choose "link layers". Linking your layers makes it so you can't accidentally drag the photo that's inside to a different spot if you're trying to move the whole image.

Ta daaa! I know this was a lengthy post (barf), but it really only takes a minute. You can use clipping masks with shapes too! That's how I made the elephants at the top of this post. Instead of putting photos in them, I used patterns.

That's all, folks! Have a fantabulous day!