If you work in the field of photo editing, you have to know the distinction of clipping path vs masking. Magazine photographs must be gorgeous, obvious, and artistic at times. These are accomplished using Photoshop Clipping Path, Image Masking, and other similar tools.

These tools provide artistic appeal to photos, making them unique and appealing. Image masking and clipping paths are both important and effective image editing tools. These tools may separate the subject of a photograph from its background and remove any unwanted items.

There may be a question about why both of these strategies exist if they perform the same job. The task of clipping path service and masking is the same, but the context is different. This article will discuss the distinction of clipping path vs mask.

Understanding the Clipping Path


Definition Of Clipping Path

Clipping path or deep etching is the most important Photoshop pen tool technique. The pen tool can create a selection or shape around the subject of any image. Use this selection to separate the image from its background.

The clipping path technique is suitable for online business and photo editing. This technique is mostly used in the photo editing sector. This method is essential for a product photographer to create photographs with a clean, white background.

A clipping path is commonly utilized for an image’s subject that has smooth, sharp, hard, and straight edges. The clipping path removes the background of images. It also hides the unwanted object in the background.

The Classification of Clipping Paths

  • Clipping Path for a Single Layer: The single-layer clipping path creates a simple path on the same layer as an image. This kind is useful for removing or changing the backdrop of an image.
  • Clipping Path with Multiple Layers: Using hand tools in Photoshop to create a multi-layer path is known as a multi-layer clipping path. The multi-layer clipping path is used to correct or adjust the backdrop or any specific portion of an image when there are two or more subjects in the image.
  • An illustrator’s clipping path: It explores the subjective aspects of a photograph. Additionally, it generates a vector-shaped path or paths. It is a non-destructive photographic technique. This kind allows you to resize an image without harming its resolution.

Clipping Path Applications in Image Editing


Back-ground Removing: The technique of drawing an outline around the center object is known as a clipping path. Background removal means erasing anything except the center object. To remove the background, the pen tool is the most useful tool in Photoshop.

Photo Retouching: People relive their happy moments in the photo frame to remind them of their past history. But sometimes the image will be damaged by any issue. Clipping can be the way of solution to this problem.

Color Correction: You may have noticed that well-captured photographs appear to be degraded due to a lack of color and poor lighting. This has a huge impact on your brand value.

A clipping path can give an easy solution to this problem. It helps to attract your customers by providing a great color combination of your product’s image. It also helps to make your customers interested in purchasing the products from your online platform.

Multi-clipping Path: Generally, a product can need many colors for an online business platform. Multi-clipping can be the best option for this. The multi-clipping path alters the shade of an image and also removes the backdrop. It also assists you in reducing the expense of photos for any special occasion.

Overall, the clipping path is a standard Photoshop technique that offers excellent service to make your image appealing.

Understanding the Masking


Definition Of Image Masking

Image masking is a technique to remove the background from images of subjects that have fuzzy borders, such as hair, wool, or fur. It conceals some parts of an image to reveal others. It is a non-destructive image-altering method.  Overall, it is a more efficient and creative method of image alteration.

Types of Photoshop Masking

  • Layer Masking: In Adobe Photoshop, a layer mask is a tool for changing the visibility of a single layer in an image file. A layer mask in an image file can hide particular regions of a selected layer. It also makes other sections of a layer visible by utilizing the brush tool to highlight picture layer segments.
  • Clipping Mask: It uses one layer to affect the perceptibility or clarity of another. We can use a clipping mask behind the layer to modify the clarity of the top layer.
  • Alpha Channel Masking: Alpha channel masking is a technique for separating images similar to layer masking. It is smaller, allowing you more flexibility in the downloading or uploading process. Alpha channel masking is a pixel-based masking technique. It reveals the form of an image rather than its color.

Image Masking Application in Image Editing

Modifying any photo: In photography, it is quite common to modify any image. Do you wish to alter the color of a model? Simply make the area visible by creating a mask of it and begin experimenting with color, altering the shade, correcting contrast, or anything you require.

Replacing Background: While removing or replacing the context of a transparent object, you will gain valuable experience. The image mask is a Photoshop procedure for removing the background of an image with blurred borders and hair whack. We can erase or remove the rest of the photos by using the image masking approach.

When an image has a soft element, such as human hair, delicate material, or a doll, clipping path techniques cannot be used to remove the backdrop. Here you have to use an image mask.

Making an image composite: Collecting photos for collages is no longer a challenging task. This procedure is made much easier with the use of a masking photograph. Using different photographs and smearing masks on them, you can quickly create unique effects. Anyone should have used soft brushes and gray gradients to make the transition as seamless as possible.

Clipping Path Vs Masking


There are some variations between clipping paths and masks. I have already said that they are both almost the same, but they work with their own technique. Experts work with both techniques based on different subjects. It is connected to both the working method and the image category. For better editing, knowing the difference between these two is important.

Let’s read some important topics to understand the difference between both.

Edge of the Object

A clipping path is preferable to edit the hard edges. You can easily create a selection and isolate any object with a clipping path. Masking, on the other hand, is bad for images with sharp edges. Because masking takes more time to select an object. As a result, the outcome could not be appropriate and satisfactory.


On the contrary, soft and thin edges are suitable for image masking. If you use Clipping Path in an image with soft edges, you will lose the edge. So, there is no alternative to masking to edit the soft edges.


Separating an object from a picture is the most significant consideration. You must choose the appropriate strategy to modify an image. You must select the method with knowledge based on the subject kind. It can be difficult to determine which is more effective for some photos, the clipping path or the masking. Because there may be an object that has both soft and hard edges. Both the clipping path and the masking are consistent in this scenario. A clipping path will be required for the hard parts and masking for the soft parts.

If you have to use both of these, start with the clipping path. It is preferable to utilize the masking at the end. If you use a mask first, it will waste your time and effort.

Non-destructive and destructive

Clipping paths are appropriate for basic or simple-shaped subjects. It is also good for complex sharp edges. But the process is destructive. This implies that you are unable to return to the previous form after creating a path with the pen tool.


On the other hand, tackling difficult, extremely difficult subjects is simple with masking. In a phrase, image masking is nondestructive. You can return to any phase and reveal or hide any section by masking. The original details are always safe to restore by the masking.

Image Typing

The image’s subject may have a sharp-edged, soft-edged, solid-color, or multicolored background. Clipping Path is the best for hard-edged objects. It makes no difference if the image background has multiple colors, opacity, softness, or hardness. Because Clipping Path is the best way to isolate a topic with sharp edges from any image.


On the other hand,  masking is needed if the subject has soft and hairy borders and the background has complex texturing. The Clipping Path technique cannot effectively separate these kinds of subjects from their background. Masking can give you the best result.

Time Utilization

You cannot spend as much time editing a photograph. Because it will hamper productivity. You may ultimately lose the project. Therefore, choosing the editing strategy carefully is crucial. Avoid attempting to match one technique with another. When using the Clipping Path approach, do not employ masking, and vice versa. Photos that require both approaches, use Clipping Path first and Masking subsequently. You just need to be properly informed about both altered approaches before using Clipping Path and Masking.

Final Thought of Clipping Path vs. Masking

Both image masking and clipping paths are crucial in photo editing services. Many web designers and photo editors have similar access to both Photoshop techniques. You can use any approach to enhance the quality of your photographs, depending on your client’s needs and how you prefer to view the images.

Finally, I think the clipping path vs masking concept is clear to you now. You should always try to fulfill the client’s requirements. I hope that now you can use both of the tools to determine which one you should use in which photograph.