Creating Clipping Paths

Clippingpaths are often used in layout programs to clip parts of an image so that unwanted parts do not print. However, if you have drawn a path and tried to define it as a clipping path, you might have noticed that the Clipping Path option is grayed out. That's because the path needs to be saved before it can be defined as a clipping path. To save a clipping path, take the following steps:

1. Double-click the Work Path tile.

2. Name the path in the Save Path pop-up dialog box and then click the OK button.

3. Choose Clipping Path from the Paths palette menu. The path should be selected for you in the Clipping Path dialog box. Leave the Flatness text field blank (see the paragraph that follows) and click the OK button.

When you save a clipping path, the flatness value that you enter in the Clipping Path dialog box controls how faithfully the clipping path's curve will be reproduced by the RIP (Raster Image Processor). If you enter a lower flatness value, it translates into a more accurate curve because a greater number of straight lines are used to draw the curve; a higher flatness value translates into a less faithful curve because fewer straight lines are used to draw the curve.

Generally speaking, flatness values from 8 to 10 are recommended for high-resolution printing (1200 to 2400 dpi) and values from 1 to 3 for low-resolution printing (300 to 600 dpi). If you are not sure what value to enter, leave the field blank and let the printer use a default value.

TIP If you can't distinguish between the object and the background when you draw a clipping path (for example, a tire on a car that happens to be in deep shadow), use a Curves or Levels adjustment layer to adjust the image, make the path, and then delete the adjustment layer.

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