Images at Mister Clipping are processed in Photoshop. If background removal is required Mister Clipping generally uses a Clipping Path, a Layer Mask or a combination of both.

Removing the background in Photoshop: Layer Mask, Masking
In the same way that a costume mask is worn over the face, Layer Masks are placed and visible over their accompanying layer in Photoshop, hence the term Layer Masks. A Mask is based on pixels within the layer, and determines what pixels of the object are background, object or transparent. To determine and fix the exact positions of a Mask, an extra Color Channel is made in Photoshop, called an Alpha Channel.

Layer Masks are the alternative to Clipping Paths for removing backgrounds in Photoshop. Creating and correcting a layer mask can be a very tedious job. Luckily, Photoshop has implemented a new tool in Creative Suite 5 named "Refine Edge", to make correcting the details of a Layer Mask much easier. However, this technique still requires expert level skill.

At Mister Clipping we typically only use Masks to isolate aspects of an object that are too detailed to isolate with a Clipping Path (For example: Hair, or a Christmas tree). The other use of Masking is to isolate transparent parts of an object (Glass, Fine/Silky Fabrics). Edges of objects that need to be isolated with a Mask are called "Soft Edges" whereas edges of an object that need to be isolated with a Clipping Path are called "Hard Edges". Images of people have hard and soft edges and therefore require both methods for background removal in Photoshop.

Layer Masks at Mister Clipping
Images at Mister Clipping are delivered without a visible background unless specified otherwise. To preserve them for future use, backgrounds are made invisible using Layer Masks. Even if the background has been removed in Photoshop with a Clipping Path, a Layer Mask can be switched on and off to view the original. This is accomplished by clicking the Layer Mask while holding the [shift] button.

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