Screencast 2: How and when to use clipping masks

By Mike Berg / July 14th, 2010 / Game Art for Devs / 10 Comments

The latest entry in my iDevBlogADay “Photoshop for Devs” series, we’re going to talk about clipping masks in Photoshop and when to use them to make things easier.

Helping iPhone developers hate using Photoshop a little less with simple tricks that make workflows more efficient. View the rest of the screencasts in the “Photoshop for Devs” series.

Part 1:

  • Place a photo in a Polaroid border, without having to crop it. Keep its full resolution so you can scale and rotate it as much as you want.
  • Texture a chess board. Combine the texture layer with layer effects applied to the base layer.

Part 2:

  • Add a reflection to windows in a building and change the colours with a clipped adjustment layer. Add art to a billboard shape with rounded corners and perspective.
  • Create perfect silhouettes for your vector art. Mask multiple layers with a single base shape and apply layer effects to the entire group.

Part 1

Click the YouTube logo to watch there in higher-res.

Part 2


Thanks to @OwenGoss for letting me use his art from LandFormer for iPhone. Go check it out!

Addendum: You can use any layer as a clipping mask, not just vector layers. Plain-old bitmap layers work great too, if you need a “paintable” mask, or if you have a transparent PNG you want to use as a mask, for example.

Download the Photoshop files used in this screencast (except for the LandFormer artwork).