A lot of people may not know about what clipping path actually is. If you are also amongst them, then this is the right place for you. Here we present EVERYTHING you need to know about it.
What is clipping path?
Before getting into a detailed description, here is a quick introduction. It is a closed vector path, which is commonly used to cutout any specific part of a 2D image. Everything inside the path will be cutout, leaving the outside part of the path as a residue. An outline is created on the selected part and it is cut out from the background of the image. Or in simple words, it can be called as the process of cutting out specific unwanted or undesired parts from the image and using the ones that are of great importance. For example, if any picture has two or three objects and only one of them is useful, selecting the useful one and using it comes under the process of clipping path. The path is drawn with free hand using a pen tool.
Simply, it is a selection of a specific area in any image. It is one of the basic image editing services consumed by most of the people. It is an advanced selection process giving the cleanest and most precise result. This helps in getting a useful end result. Also, it helps in better presentation of an image, therefore making it look appealing. It is an image manipulation service which transforms the image and increases the usability. If you wish for highly-defined results with the best quality, you should go for clipping path.
History of clipping path- Invention and creation
Now that you have got a basic idea about what clipping path is, you might be curious about the history of it. A lot of questions must be arising in your mind. Let’s peep into the history. With the invention of photography in 1816, the need for image editing also arose. Since the demand for photography and editing took deep roots in the market, two Ph.D. students, Thomas Knoll and John Knoll decided to bring revolution in the photo editing market and thus developed and launched the first photo editing software, ImagePro which is now called as Photoshop. This made photo editing faster, easier than ever before. Clipping path is one of the functions of Photoshop which is used to cutout the images.
Clipping path for online businesses
Online businesses these days are facing severe cut-throat competition in the market. And for them, the product is the only source with which they can increase the profitability and rule the market. It is useful for online businesses in a lot of ways. This is mainly used for taking cutout from any image. In the case of online business, where a particular product needs to be separated from any image, this process is used.
Other than that, background removal is also offered by the service. The unwanted background which is not going with the product image can also be removed. Making the image product centric by creating a path is preferred by most of the online sellers. This helps in better presentation of the product which assists in gaining popularity and high customer attention. Thus, it can be said that clipping path works wonders for online businesses.
How to create a clipping path?
It can be created using 2-3 different tools.
- Lasso tool
- Magnetic Lasso tool
- Pen tool
To create it, generally, a pen tool is preferred. With the help of a pen tool, a vector path is hand-drawn to get an image cutout.
Here are some simple steps that can be performed to draw a path and select a specific part.
- Open the image in Photoshop on which you want to create a path.
- Zoom in at the edge of the image for better visibility with ‘Command+ in Mac or Ctrl+ in Windows’.
- With the help of Pen tool, the path is drawn over the edges of the object and merged back to the starting point.
- ‘Ctrl-Enter’ is used as a shortcut to create a selection of the path.
- To save path in windows, click on ‘Create new path’ in the Paths panel. The path is then saved temporarily.
- You can save it by double clicking on it and rename
- The path can be saved with JPG, PNG and PSD formats.
Types of clipping path
It is a very wide aspect and has a lot of types. It can be done in numerous ways such as:
1. Basic clipping path
It is one of the simplest forms among all. In this, a single path is drawn and the object is cutout from the image and the background is removed. In this only one path is drawn in order to obtain the desired results. It is applied on simple products which have lesser curves and edges.
2. Compound clipping path
This is used if several parts of the images are to be cutout. It is usually used for a set of items.
3. Multi Path
This is generally used for larger objects having more than one objects or products. For each object, a path is to be created which can be time-consuming as well.
Complex path is the toughest type as it requires more than 100 paths to be created. Each single path should be created carefully to remove the background or cutout an image. It needs high concentration as a slip of hand can ruin the results completely. It is very difficult and thus professional help is required to perform
How to get clipping path done?
Depending on the nature and amount of work, it can be done in any of the following ways:
- DIY: The cheapest method is by doing it all by yourself with the help of a software. One can easily make a selection and avail maximum benefits out of it such as background removal, image cutout, etc. However, this can be very time consuming and also, lack of expertise may not give you the desired results. One needs to be careful while doing so with the help of softwares like Photoshop or Affinity.
- By in-house graphic designers or DTP experts: For those who want a high-quality image cutout, this can be done by a team of in-house designers. Hiring a professional and experienced team of designers will give you the best possible results. However, it can be very expensive. For those who do not have any budgetary constraints, they must go for in-house designers.
- By post-production Design/DTP agency: Hiring a team of in-house designers is not possible for all. To resolve this problem, post-production agencies are always at your service. Now days, there are a lot of post-production agencies available in the market that are providing image editing services. This is an affordable option for getting professional results. Post-production agencies provide you high-quality results in lowest prices possible.
There are infinite uses of clipping path but it is impossible to mention all of them. Few of them are mentioned below. Have a look.
- Selection of a particular part: The main use of this whole process is to select a specific part of the image and cut it out from the rest. Many times, not all part of the image is required to fulfill the need and hence, only the useful part is selected and used. A vector path is drawn along the desired object and it is then cutout.
- Background removal: Other than image cutout, background removal also comes under one of the primary uses. If you don’t like the background of a certain image and want it to be removed then by using clipping path, you can do so. Removal of background is preferred in a lot of cases such as un-matching background, dull background, etc. Also, the background can be replaced using this service. The existing background can be replaced with any image of choice.
- White background: A lot of people prefer white background for images instead of the one with which the picture was originally clicked. Clipping path helps in getting a white background for the images. The White background is generally preferred to enhance the image as this will gain more attention. For sellers of online marketplace, white background in product images is necessary. The White background makes the image stand out and help the product to steal the show on its own.
- Color Correction: Color correction is one of the biggest image editing services and is required by a lot of people. For unsuitable and unreal colors, the need for color correction arises. A lot of times, a certain part of the image looks improper because of its color. The color of the complete image cannot be changed to rectify a small part. The part with unfit color is cutout using clipping path, color correction is done and then it is fitted back to the original image.
- Image retouching: It also helps in image retouching to a great extent. For a particular part of the image that needs to be retouched is clipped using selection method and retouched according to the requirement.
- Image manipulation: Manipulating an image by different ways can be done by creating a vector path.
- Group photo retouching: There is always a person who by any means is ruining the group photo either by blinking the eye, hand gesture, etc. Everyone else looks picture perfect except one person. To retouch that photograph, selection is made and used on the person ruining the image and all problems are fixed to make a beautiful and memorable group photo.
- Recreating images: It helps in recreating the old images and graphics.Quality of old images can be enhanced to a great extent. By using a hand drawn path, images can be transformed back to life.
- Increased usability: Clipping path increases the usability of the image. An image can be used several times for different purposes if selection is created. The use of image does not remain restricted to only one place and therefore, the usability is increased.
- Recoloring product from a single shot: It is also used for adding different colors to a product clicked in a single shot. By using this process, different colors can be applied to a single product.
Difference between clipping path and masking
People often confuse clipping path with photo masking, but these two are different techniques. However, both of them share a common object i.e., separating a particular object from an image or background. Even professionals who have been using these since long may not be able to explain the difference. Both techniques use completely different process to come arrive at the same result.
Clipping path is used to cutout the required portion of any image and removes the unwanted part. It is preferred for objects with sharp and clear edges so that it becomes easy to draw a path and cutout the object. Using this for objects with intricate edges, hairs, furs, will not give precise results and the object will appear unreal. It can be saved in formats like JPG and PNG and PSD. It is an easier process when compared to photo masking as masking involves a lot of efforts. Both of them require focus and expertise.
Masking is a technique to reveal certain parts of the images and conceal the others. It is used in case where the object has intricate and detailed edges such as hairs, furs, etc. Photo masking can only be saved in PSD i.e., Photoshop document. In case of images with transparent objects, path is drawn by hand with the help of pen tool whereas masking is an advance photo effect.
To achieve perfect results, first of all, a path is created and for detailing, advance photo masking is used.
Depending on the nature of the image and the requirement, different techniques are adopted in order to obtain the final outcome.
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