Are you wondering what Photoshop Clipping Path is? This clipping path guide will help you understand what the clipping path is, why it’s important, its benefits, types, software, and more! 

You have probably come across product photos online with plain white (or other color backgrounds). The store owners create the simple backgrounds in post-production, by using the clipping path! 

There is no need to carefully arrange the background during a product photoshoot. The clipping path has made it easy to select and remove the unwanted background. 

In this clipping path article, you will learn about the photo clipping path. Learn how to apply the clipping path step-by-step. By the end of this clipping path tutorial, you will know how to apply the clipping path easily. So, let’s begin the article. 

What is Clipping Path?

A clipping path, also known as deep etch, is a closed vector path, or shape, used to remove parts of a 2D image using photo editing software. It is an important part of the Photo Editing process.

Anything inside the traced path will be included after the clipping path is applied. On the other hand, anything outside the traced path will be erased from the output. 

The primary use for the clipping path is Photo Background Removal. A clipping path ensures that only the desired object, item, or person remains focused. 

A Bedroom Chair Before Clipping Path Services
Figure 001: A Chair Before Clipping Path
A Bedroom Chair After Clipping Path Services
Figure 002: A Chair After Clipping Path (Background Removed)

There are various methods to create clipping paths. For example, you can use the following: 

  • Pen tool in Photoshop
  • Pen tool in Illustrator
  • Toolbar panel in InDesign

Each of the clipping path tools above has its own unique set of capabilities to create different types of clipping paths.

Why is Clipping Path Important?

The clipping path is very important in industries where images are used to advertise products. 

For example, eCommerce websites like Amazon and eBay require images with a transparent or white background. The reason for the plain background is to highlight the product’s details & features and be better placed on the web page. 

Services that need clipping path:

The clipping path is important, especially in the Garment Industry & Retail, and eCommerce. 

Benefits of Clipping Path

What are the benefits of clipping paths for you? The clipping path is useful for diverse use cases including: 

  • Businesses 
  • Professionals
  • Job Seekers
  • Students

Benefits of Clipping Path for Businesses

The Clipping Path is a very important process for online businesses and eCommerce. 

Businesses can apply the clipping path technique to remove the background of their product images.

Removing the image background helps make the desired item or person in focus. 

Businesses can use the clipping path for background removal of products, people, or logos. 

For example, an eCommerce business can benefit from using the clipping path to remove mannequins or models from their clothing images. 

Benefits of Clipping Path for Professionals

Are you a professional looking for a new/better job? You can stand out from the crowd with a professional headshot. 

Use the clipping path to remove the background of your photos and replace them with a plain backdrop. 

The clipping path helps homeowners replace backgrounds easily. Want to remove and replace the sky of your home? Use the clipping path to isolate your sky and remove it! Then, you can easily add your preferred background. 

Benefits of Clipping Path for Job Seekers

Are you looking to get a job as a photo editor? A great place to start is to specialize in the clipping path! 

Businesses like online stores require bulk clipping path services to add white backgrounds to their product images. 

As a clipping path expert, you can help these businesses with basic to advanced clipping path services like ghost mannequins, background removal, and more!

Benefits of Clipping Path for Students

Want to become popular on social media? You can create amazing collages of your friends using the clipping path to isolate people from images!

Students can benefit from freelancing as photo editors during their free time. Clipping path is the most popular image editing service on platforms like Upwork. Master clipping path techniques to earn good money while you power through school!

Types of Clipping Paths

There are three types of clipping paths depending on the complexity of the image. They are:

  • Single Layer Path
  • Multi-Layer Clipping Paths
  • Illustrator Clipping Path

Single Layer Path Photoshop

The single-layer clipping path is drawing a simple path on the hard edge of an image. 

Typically, the pen tool in programs like Photoshop is used to apply the Single Layer Path. 

The Single Layer Path is particularly useful for removing or changing an image’s background.

Multi-Layer Clipping Paths

The multi-layer clipping path is creating paths on more than one layer. 

The pen tool in photo editors like Photoshop is used to apply multi-layer clipping paths. 

Multiple paths are created on the same image to remove two or more objects in the photo. As a result, the objects can be removed together using a multi-layer clipping path.

The multi-layer clipping path method is useful for retouchers. It allows retouchers to fix or modify a specific part of an image.

Want Help With Multi-Clipping Paths?

Illustrator Clipping Path

The clipping path in Illustrator refers to the creation of one or more vector shapes following the outline of images. 

An Illustrator clipping path is a non-destructive path of any shape or design.

The Illustrator clipping path allows the photo editor to resize images as required without affecting the resolution.

What is the Future of Clipping Path?

The clipping path business is growing every day with people around the world. With the rise of online shopping, businesses need more clipping path services than ever before.

If you are looking to learn the clipping path, you can definitely expect to find work in a company or freelancing. 

However, it is important to understand the clipping path techniques properly. For example, online photo editing tools can remove backgrounds easily with a button click. Therefore, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has gotten better at using basic clipping path. 

Complex clipping path is still a challenge for AI-based photo editors. So, ensure you learn the ins and outs of photo clipping path to stay ahead of these tools.

Clipping Path Skills

What skills do you need for applying the clipping path? As a clipping path expert, you will need to have proficiency and expertise in the following:

Photo Editing Software

Almost every photo editing software has some way of drawing paths. To become a clipping path expert, you must first master your photo editing tool of choice. For example, you can select Adobe Photoshop and understand how to use it.

Pen Tool in the Photo Editing Software 

The pen tool in photo editing software helps you to create paths on your image. Thus, you need to learn how to draw precise anchor points using either a mouse or a pen tablet. For pinpoint accuracy, we recommend a pen tablet.

Clipping Path Software

Wondering which clipping path software is best for you? There are several clipping path photo editing software for doing the same thing. However, not all clipping path software is suitable for every use. 

The photo clipping path software you use also depends on the device and operating system. For example, there is macOS-specific clipping path software and all-platform ones too. Then, mobile photo editing apps exist that help with on-the-go clipping paths. Also, online photo editors like Canva can do the clipping path edits (like removing background) easily.

The list of clipping path software includes the following:

  • GIMP (Linux, macOS, Windows)
  • Acorn (macOS)
  • Amadine (macOS, iPadOS, and iOS)
  • Pixelmator (macOS)
  • PhotoDirector (macOS, Windows)
  • PaintShop Pro (Windows)
  • Affinity Photo (iOS, macOS, and Windows)
  • Adobe Photoshop (Windows, macOS, iPadOS, Android)

How To Create a Clipping Path?

Wondering how exactly you can create a clipping path? No worries, this image clipping path guide will help you with the exact steps you need. 

I will describe the step-by-step process of creating a clipping path. For easy reference, I have chosen Adobe Photoshop as an example. However, you can also get clipping path services if you need help.

Clipping Path Step-by-Step Process

The step-by-step process of creating a clipping path in Photoshop is as follows:

Step 1: Launch Adobe Photoshop

Step 2: Upload The Image That Needs Clipping Path

Step 3: Select The Pen Tool From The Main Toolbar

Step 4: Select A New Path

Step 5: Draw The Exact Shape Of The Clipping Path Around The Image 

Step 6: Use ‘Ctrl + Enter’ For Selecting The Clipping Path

Step 7: Use ‘Select > Modify > Feather’ To Smoothen The Edges

Step 8: Done! You Have Created A Clipping Path For Your Image

A Bicycle Before Clipping Path Services
Figure 003: A Bicycle Before Clipping Path
A Bicycle After Clipping Path Services
Figure 004: A Bicycle After Clipping Path (Background Removed)


In conclusion, the clipping path is an essential part of the photo editing process. Any photo editor must understand how to apply the clipping path to remove unwanted backgrounds, objects, and basic retouching. 

I hope you have enjoyed reading this clipping path guide. If you have any questions, feel free to check the frequently asked questions (FAQs) given below. If your question is not answered in the FAQ, please comment below. I will try to answer any questions about the clipping path as best as I can. 

Please do not forget to share this clipping path article with whomever you think will benefit! 

Clipping Path FAQs

Have questions after reading this clipping path article? Check out the frequently asked questions about clipping paths in general. If you have further questions, feel free to comment below.

What does a clipping path do?

A clipping path is a closed vector path that is used to remove a portion of an image using image editing software. After the clipping path is applied, the output will contain only the part of the image inside the clipping path. Anything outside the traced path will be removed.

What is the difference between the photo clipping path and image masking?

Clipping path uses a pen tool to draw paths around an object. Then, the selected path can be removed. 

Image masking in Photoshop is done using the background eraser tool, magic eraser tool, and color separation for background (BG) removal.

What is the clipping path in InDesign?

Clipping paths crop part of your artwork so that only a part of the illustration appears through the shapes created. The clipping path is used to hide unwanted parts of your image, creating a path for the picture and a frame for the graphic.

What is a simple clipping path?

A single-layer clipping path is a simple, uncomplicated path created on one layer using the Photoshop Pen Tool. The simple clipping path is useful to remove or replace the background.

Who needs the clipping path?

Clipping path is frequently used by photographers, graphic designers, animators, and other professionals. They use the Photoshop pen tool to draw paths around their objects when editing, creating, or designing an image.

How do I create a clipping path in Illustrator?

Use the pen tool to create a path around your object. The top bar on the program has an object menu. Click on that to find “Clipping” and hit “Make”. A shortcut for achieving this is to right-click on the image, then select make clipping mask.

How do I create a clipping path in Photoshop?

In simple words, select the pen tool from the main toolbar to create (draw) a new path around the image. Key in ‘ctrl + enter’ for selecting the clipping path. For a more detailed description, go to the step-by-step tutorial above.

What are the advantages of a clipping path?

Some of the advantages of a clipping path include:
Remove unwanted objects from the photo.
Retouch the picture to enhance its glamour.
Remove and replace a product image’s background. 
Accurately correct colors after removing the subject. 
Add realistic shadows to the product after removing the background via a clipping path.

This page was last edited on 23 January 2023, at 2:51 pm