At Honeycomb Archive, we believe that using the most current and efficient technical methods will best protect your valuable photographs as they are input into your digital asset management system. By uploading only your cleanest, most recent product images, this preserves and promotes your brand. The following information gives you step-by-step instructions of how to create a clipping path using Photoshop.
Clipping paths are used to isolate the foreground object out of a digital image. Once finishing the clipping path, a desktop publishing application such as QuarkXpress or InDesign can use this clipping path to hide the background from the image so that the remainder is what was outlined by the clipping path. There are two ways to create a clipping path: pen or magic wand. The pen tool allows you to place points along the image freehand. The pen tool provides the highest quality Photoshop clipping paths. The magic wand selection tool selects a constantly colored area which can be adjusted by tolerance. The magic wand method is only suitable for a rough clipping path.
Let’s use the Pen Tool for this digital image to cut out the fortune cookie in the foreground.
First, we need to create a New Path. Click on the Create new path icon on the bottom of the Paths task pane. Zoom in at 150% so that you can get a better look at the image. Then we select the Pen Tool to add the anchor points and be careful to stay inside of the lines ever so slightly 1 pixel of the image so that none of the background will show when it is deleted. Once you are finished with the outline you can use the Add Anchor Point Tool to smooth the rough edges and make curves.
After all of the anchor points are in place go to the Path Options Menu and click Clipping Path. Pick the correct path name and assign a flatness value. The flatness determines how closely the path is conformed to the digital images curves. We recommend a flatness of 1.
To experiment with effects in Photoshop or to examine the clipped area of the path, right click on Path 1 and select Make Selection.
After the selection has been made navigate to the Select pull down menu and click Inverse. Then go to the Edit pull down menu and choose Clear. Please note that it is not necessary to clear the background for a desktop publishing application to hide the background area. We are simply showing this here as an example of what the desktop publishing application will do with the clipping path. The process detailed below can also be used to apply Photoshop imaging effects to the background area such as image ghosting. Be sure though if you want the imaging effects to appear that you turn the clipping path feature off or your desktop publishing application will continue to clip the entire background area.
Right click Path 1 and choose Make Selection. Copy the path. Then go to the Layers tab and create a new layer. Paste the image in the Layer 1 and delete the background.
Finally, drag and drop your digital image onto the new background.