How to use Clipping Masks
What on earth am I talking about? Well take a look at the image below and perhaps my ambiguous blog title will make a little more sense. This blog post will look at how we can fill any set of text or graphic with any image or photo.
The example above uses the Twilight Font which is free to download via the link right here at FreeDesignClub.com. For the background we used a simple cloud pattern, but you really can use any graphic or photo you like.
To create this effect we use a feature called a clipping mask. This quite literally clips the shape of the font or text to whatever image or photo is laid beneath. It is incredible easy to do, with just a few clicks. In this tutorial we will explain how to create the same effect using both Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop. Are you ready? Okay lets go.
How to use the Clipping Mask tool in Adobe Illustrator
- Open up Illustrator on your computer
- Create a new document, it can be any size you like but remember if you are using a non vector graphic/photo in the background you must limit your document height and width to the size of the photo. Any bigger and the image will begin to blur or pixelate. In my example the graphic background was 1000 x 1000, so that is what I made my document as well.
- Firstly you need to place your photo or graphic background in Adobe Illustrator. You can do this by simply dragging the image into your Illustrator work space or by clicking File > Place, and then locating the image and clicking “Place”.
- Using our example again, your document should look something like this.
5. Next you to choose your desired font, by selecting the Type tool from your tools panel. It is an uppercase T icon. Click this and begin typing out your word, using your desired font. It’s important to pick a color that makes the text easy to see. It doesn’t matter what as the color won’t show on the final design.
6. Using our Twilight font, we have now set up our design and are ready to clip it into shape.
7. Next simply click on the background image, hold shift and click on the text as well. Holding shift allows you to select multiple items at once. This is key for this tutorial, so the program knows what to clip to where.
If done correctly the background should now have an outline box around it, with the text being underlined. It’s also incredibly important to ensure the text is layered over the background, as the clipping mask will always clip the upper layer to the lower layer within this program. So it wouldn’t work if the text is under the background.
8. With both items now selected, right click and select “Make Clipping Mask”. Older versions of Illustrator may not have this shortcut available to them. In this case you would need to click “Object” (found in the very top bar) then “Clipping Mask” and finally click “Make”.
9. If done correctly, you should now see your background image clipped perfectly to your text. That is it, super easy right?
Any issues? Let us know in the comments below.
How to use the Clipping Mask tool in Adobe Photoshop
Remember Photoshop is Raster based, rather than vector based like Illustrator. So you can only create these word graphics as large as your photo, before you will lose image quality. The only way to create limitless size is to use a vector based program (such as Illustrator) and use a vector graphic for your background. These can be increased upwards to any size without loss of quality. Photos or JPEG based images, will pixelate once they are stretched above 100%.
- Go ahead and open up your Adobe Photoshop program.
- Create a new work space, but again remember to ensure its no larger than the image or photo you are using to avoid pixelation.
- Unlike Illustrator you need to layer your text as the lower layer, below your background. So go ahead and select your type tool, and type out your chosen word, in your preferred font.
- Next, you need to place the image you wish to layer over your text. To do so either drag and drop it into your Photoshop work space or click File > Place and locate the file that way.
- Resize your photo as you wish covering your text. Its a little more difficult as the photo or image will cover your text now. For adjusting purposes it may be sensible to bring the text layer above the background, to ensure the placement is correct.
- To do this, go to your layers panel. (If you cannot see it, ensure it is selected to appear. Click Window > Layers). Then drag and drop your “text layer” above your background layer.
If done correctly your text should now appear on top of your background image.
Once you have adjusted your text and image to fit how you like, simply drag the text layer back underneath the background.
7. Finally, within the layers panel, right click on the background image (which should be your top layer) and click “Create Clipping Mask”.
That is it, you should be left with your text laid out filled with your background image. Pretty cool huh?
Got any questions, issues or queries? Drop us a message in the comments box below and we will do our best to assist you.