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Home Blog Clipping Path What is Clipping Path?
What is Clipping Path? PDF Print E-mail
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In 2D computer graphics, a clipping path is a closed vector path, or shape, used to cut out an image in image editing software. Anything inside the path will be included after the clipping path is applied; anything outside the path will be omitted from the output. Applying the clipping path results in a hard (aliased) or soft (anti-aliased) edge, depending on the image editor's capabilities



By convention, the inside of the path is defined by its direction. Reversing the direction of a path reverses what is considered inside or outside. An inclusive path is one where what is visually "inside" the path corresponds to what will be preserved; an exclusive path, of opposite direction, contains what is visually "outside" the path. By convention, a clockwise path that is non-self-intersecting is considered inclusive.

A compound path results from the combination of multiple paths (inclusive and exclusive) and the Boolean operations that ultimately determine what the combined path contains. For instance, an inclusive path which contains a smaller exclusive path results in a shape with a "hole" (defined by the exclusive path).

One common use of a clipping path is to cull objects that do not need to be rendered because they are outside the user's view port or obscured by display elements (such as a HUD).

Clipping Path Services:

Clipping path services are professional offerings provided by companies for extracting objects or people from still imagery, and typically includes other photo editing and manipulation services. Addressees of such services are primarily photography and graphic design studios, advertising agencies, web designers, as well as lithographers and printing companies. Clipping path service companies commonly reside in developing countries such as Bangladesh, Philippine, India, and Pakistan, which can provide their services at comparatively low cost to developed countries, fostering outsourcing of such activities.

Uses:

Generally, designers use clipping path when they want to use part of an image but not destroy the rest. Photoshop clipping paths designate transparent areas in images. A clipping path can isolate part of an image; the rest of the image is transparent when the image is placed in a page layout. A common example is to make a clipping path of a foreground object to exclude or mask out the background.

Instruction:

Generally, designers use clipping path when they want to use part of an image but not destroy the rest. Photoshop clipping paths designate transparent areas in images. A clipping path can isolate part of an image; the rest of the image is transparent when the image is placed in a page layout. A common example is to make a clipping path of a foreground object to exclude or mask out the background.

  1. Define an area of the image to be the clipping path by drawing a path around the area. Use the marquee, lasso, pen or pencil tool from the Photoshop tool bar. The path will remain visible.
  2. Select "Window" from the menu bar and click "Paths." This will open the "Paths" palette. Click the pull-out menu on the upper right and select "Make Work Path." Select the appropriate tolerance; higher tolerance numbers mean more detail, lower numbers less detail. Click "OK." The Path pull-out menu will be displayed. Click "Save Path," type a name for the path in the dialog box and click "OK."
  3. Display the Path pull-out menu again. Choose "Clipping Path," and set the options. For "Path," select the path to be saved. If the "Flatness" value is left blank, Photoshop will use a default value. A low flatness value means the greater the number of straight lines used to draw the curve and therefore the more precise the curve. Flatness values range from 0.2 to 100. For low resolution printing, a flatness setting of one to three is recommended; for high resolution printing, use a value between eight and 10. Click "OK."
  4. Convert the file to the correct color mode if necessary. Use CMYK color mode if the file will be printed using process colors.
  5. Choose the correct file format. For printing to a PostScript printer, save as file format EPS, DCS or PDF. Save the file as a TIFF for non-PostScript printing. Select "Save As" under the "File" menu on the menu bar. The "Save As" dialog box will appear. Choose the appropriate format in the "Save As" field and type a name in the "File Name" field. Navigate to the location where the file is to reside. Click "Save."

Tips & Warnings:

  • If importing a DSC or EPS file that has a TIFF preview into Illustrator, the on screen preview of the image's clipping path transparency may display incorrectly. It does not affect the Postscript printing.
  • If experiencing printing errors, change the flatness value to determine how the postscript interpreter approximates the curve.
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