Understanding Clipping Masks

A clipping mask (sometimes called a clipping group) is a group of two or more contiguous layers that are linked for the purpose of masking. Clipping masks are useful when you want one layer to act as the mask for other layers, or if you want an adjustment layer to affect only the layer directly beneath it. The bottom layer in a clipping mask is called the base layer, and it serves as the group's mask. For example, you can use a type layer as the base of a clipping mask so that a pattern appears through the text on the base layer, as shown in Figure 23. (On the left side of the figure is the imagery used as the pattern in the type.) The properties of the base layer determine the opacity and visible imagery of a clipping mask. You can, however, adjust the opacity of the individual layers in a clipping mask.

QUICKTIP

You can merge layers in a clipping mask with an adjustment layer, as long as the layers are visible.

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