The Complete Guide to Clipping Path: What it is and How it Works

The Complete Guide To Clipping Path
The Complete Guide To Clipping Path

The Complete Guide to Clipping Path: What it is and How it Works

Have you ever looked at an image and wondered how the subject was isolated so perfectly from the background? Photoshop Clipping path is the answer! Clipping path is a powerful image editing technique used to isolate the subject of an image from its background, allowing it to be placed on a new background or used in various design applications. In this complete guide to clipping path, we will cover everything you need to know about this essential image editing technique, including what it is, how it works, and the various types of clipping path services available. 

Whether you’re an eCommerce business owner, a graphic designer, or a photography enthusiast, this guide will provide you with the knowledge and tools needed to take your image editing skills to the next level. 

So, let’s dive into the world of clipping paths and discover how they can enhance your images and improve your online presence!

What is a Clipping Path?

A clipping path is a vector-based path, typically created using image editing software such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, that is used to cut out an object or subject from its background. The path is created by drawing a closed shape around the desired object or subject, and then applying the clipping path to the image. This process allows the object or subject to be isolated from its background, making it easier to manipulate or place on a different background.

Clipping paths can be simple or complex, depending on the intricacy of the object or subject being cut out. Simple clipping paths are used for objects with straight edges or simple shapes, while complex clipping paths are used for objects with more complex shapes or curves. Clipping paths can also remove backgrounds or unwanted elements from an image, create transparency, or select specific parts of an image for manipulation or editing.

How to Make a Clipping Path in Photoshop: A Step-by-Step Guide Using the Pen Tool

Creating a clipping path around an image subject can vary depending on the software used, but one common method is using the pen tool in Adobe Photoshop. Here are the general steps to follow:

Open the image in Adobe Photoshop.

Open the image in Adobe Photoshop

Select the Pen Tool from the toolbar on the left-hand side of the screen.

Select the Pen Tool

Zoom in on the image to get a closer view of the subject you want to clip.

Zoom in on the image

Start creating a path by clicking on the edge of the subject to create anchor points. Move to the next point and click to create another anchor point. Continue this process until you’ve made a closed path around the subject.

Start creating a path

Once you’ve created the path, you can adjust it by selecting the Direct Selection Tool (the white arrow in the toolbar) and clicking on the anchor points. You can move or adjust the ends as needed to refine the path.

Direct Selection Tool

When you’re satisfied with the path, right-click on it and select “Make Selection” from the menu that appears.

Make Selection

In the “Make Selection” window, adjust the settings as needed (such as feathering) and click “OK.”

adjust the settings

With the selected subject, you can copy and paste it into a new document, onto a unique background, or apply other editing techniques as needed.

copy and paste

It’s important to note that creating a clipping path using the pen tool can be time-consuming, especially for complex objects or subjects. It can take practice and patience to master this technique, but the end result can be a clean, precise cutout that looks professional and polished.

Difference Between Clipping Path and Image Masking

Both clipping path and masking are techniques used in image editing to isolate an object or subject from its background. However, they differ in the way they achieve this goal and the situations in which they are most effective.

Clipping Path

  1. The clipping path involves creating a vector-based path around the object or subject, which can then be used to clip it out from its background. 
  2. Clipping path works best for objects with hard edges or geometric shapes, as it creates a precise, sharp edge around the object. 
  3. Clipping path is also ideal for large batches of images that require the same treatment, as it can be easily applied to multiple images.

Image Masking

  1. Masking involves creating a layer mask that can be used to reveal or hide parts of an image selectively. 
  2. Masking works well for objects or subjects with more complex shapes or soft edges, as it allows for a more gradual transition between the object and its background. 
  3. Masking is also useful when you need to adjust the transparency or opacity of an object or when you want to add special effects or textures to an image.

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Benefits of Using Photoshop Clipping Path in Image Editing

Clipping path is a powerful image editing technique to create precise and clean cutouts of a subject or object in an image. The following are some key benefits of using the clipping path in image editing.

Removing the background from an image to create transparency

Removing the background from an image to create transparency

Photoshop Clipping path allows you to remove the background of an image and create transparency. This can be useful when you need to use the image on different backgrounds or when you want to focus on the subject or object in the image.

Isolating an image subject to use on different backgrounds

Isolating an image subject to use on different backgrounds

Clipping paths make it easy to isolate an image subject and place it on different backgrounds. This is useful when you need to use the same subject or object in different contexts or when you want to create a more interesting image by placing the subject on a different background.

Creating a uniform look for product photos in eCommerce

A clipping path can create a consistent and professional look for product photos in eCommerce. By removing the background and placing the product on a white or transparent background, you can create a clean and uniform look that is easy for customers to browse and compare.

Enhancing the overall quality of the image

Clipping path can be used to improve the overall quality of an image. By removing distracting elements and focusing on the subject or object, you can create a more visually appealing image that is more likely to grab the viewer’s attention.

Saving time in the image editing process

Clipping paths can save time in image editing by allowing you to create precise cutouts more quickly and efficiently than other techniques. This is especially important when working with a large number of images.

Creating more creative and artistic images

Clipping paths can be used to create more creative and artistic images by allowing you to place subjects on different backgrounds or combine different elements in interesting ways. This can help you to stand out from the competition and create more engaging images that grab the viewer’s attention.

Different Types of Clipping Path Services

The type of clipping path service needed depends on the complexity of the image and the level of detail required. Here are the four main types of clipping path services:

Basic Clipping Path

Basic Clipping Path

A basic clipping path involves creating a path around a subject with a simple, straight outline, such as a rectangle or a circle. It is generally used for images with sharp edges and clear outlines, like boxes, mobile phones, books, etc. This type of clipping path is the easiest and quickest to perform and typically requires only a few anchor points to create the path.

Complex Clipping Path

Complex Clipping Path

A complex clipping path involves creating a path around a subject with more complex edges, like those with curves, multiple holes, or intricate shapes. It is usually used for images with multiple subjects, such as jewelry, clothes, furniture, etc. This type of clipping path requires more skill and time to create as it involves creating more anchor points to follow the contours of the subject’s edges precisely.

Multiple Clipping Path

Multiple Clipping Path

A multi-clipping path is used when an image has several subjects that need to be separated from the background. It is a technique that involves creating multiple paths around different elements within a single image. For example, if an image has multiple products on a white background, a separate clipping path will be created for each product, allowing each one to be edited or placed on a different background.

Super Complex Clipping Path

Super Complex Clipping Path

A super complex clipping path is the most intricate type of clipping path service, and it is usually used for images with extremely complex edges, like hair, fur, or tree branches. This type of clipping path requires the most time and effort to create, as it involves following the individual strands or edges of the subject very carefully. It requires a high level of skill and experience to achieve a precise and realistic result.

Clipping Path for eCommerce Businesses

Clipping path is a useful tool for eCommerce businesses to enhance the visual appeal of their product photos. It is a photo editing technique used to isolate the product from its background, giving the images a clean and uniform look. Here are some ways in which eCommerce businesses can benefit from using clipping path:

  1. Creating a uniform look: Clipping path ensures that all product photos have a consistent look, with a uniform background and a clean product edge. This can make an online store look more professional, polished, and trustworthy, which is essential for building customer confidence and driving sales.
  1. Making products stand out: Clipping paths can be used to add shadows or reflections to product photos, making them more visually appealing and helping them stand out from competitors’ products. By adding depth and dimension to the images, the products appear more lifelike and attractive to customers.
  1. Saving time and money: Clipping path is a cost-effective solution for eCommerce businesses as it eliminates the need for expensive studio setups and models. With photo editing software, the product photos can be edited quickly and efficiently, saving time and money for the business.

Examples of eCommerce businesses that use clipping paths in their product photos include:

  1. Amazon: The world’s largest online retailer, Amazon, uses clipping paths to make its product photos more visually appealing and consistent. Removing the background and adding shadows makes the products look more professional and stand out from the competition.
  2. Zara: The popular fashion brand, Zara, uses clipping paths to create a uniform look for its product photos. The clean, white backgrounds give the images a modern and sophisticated look, enhancing the brand’s reputation and boosting sales.
  3. Ikea: The furniture retailer, Ikea, uses clipping paths to remove the background from its product photos and create a uniform look across its website. By using shadows and reflections, the products look more realistic and attractive to customers, leading to increased sales.

How to Choose the Best Clipping Path Service Provider?

Choosing a reputable and reliable clipping path service provider is essential to get high-quality image editing services for eCommerce, photography, and marketing purposes. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a clipping path service provider:

Quality of Work

The quality of work should be the top priority when choosing a clipping path service provider. The service provider should have a skilled team of experienced professionals using various photo editing software, such as Adobe Photoshop, to deliver precise and accurate clipping path services.

Turnaround Time

The turnaround time for the clipping path service should be fast and reliable. The service provider should be able to provide the edited images quickly, especially if there are bulk orders. A reliable clipping path service provider should be able to meet the client’s deadlines without compromising the quality of work.


The pricing of the clipping path service should be reasonable and competitive. The pricing should be based on the complexity of the task, such as the number of anchor points required to create the path, and should be transparent, with no hidden charges.

Customer Support

A reliable clipping path service provider should offer excellent customer support to ensure client satisfaction. The service provider should be available 24/7 to answer queries and support any issues.


Clipping path is an essential photo editing technique that can help businesses and individuals create visually appealing images that stand out. If you want to enhance your images’ quality, try using a clipping path in your next image editing project, and consider Vectorwiz’s clipping path service for the best results.

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