Apply a clipping mask in Photoshop

Using a clipping mask is a simple but effective way to transform your photos by adding interesting effects. All you need is a little imagination and your Instagram page will be filled up with beautiful photos worthy of everyone’s attention.

This lesson is done in Photoshop CC. However, it can be done in earlier versions.

Step 1

Let’s start by opening Photoshop and creating a new document. We will need a document with specific dimensions. To do this, in the create new file dialog box, select Set – Custom.

Set the height and width 1080×1080 pixels. This is the standard message size for Instagram. Make sure the background color is white.

Step 2

First we will create a simple photo frame. Choose a tool Rectangle (Rectangle Tool (U)) and hold down Shift , draw a black square measuring 980 x 980 pixels.

Translator’s Note: Use the Rectangle tool mode. Figure. Dimensions for the square can be set on the top sidebar in the tool settings.

Now we will center the layer with the square relative to the background layer. Select the background layer and the square layer on the layers panel. Next, go to the menu Layer> Align> Vertical Centers (Layer – Align – Vertical Centers) and Layer> Align> Horizontal Centers (Layer – Align – Center horizontally).

Place the square layer in Group. Name the group Mask.

Step 3

Make sure the square layer is active. Choose a tool Rectangle (Rectangle Tool (U)). Set the mode for the shape. Subtract overlapping shapes (Subtract front shape). Hold down the Shift key and draw a black square measuring 954 x 954 pixels.

Translator’s Note: On the Properties (Propeties) panel you can set the width and height of the shape and the location along the X and Y axis (for centering).

Step 4

Download the mask-15.png file. Place the mask file in our document using File – Post (File – Place). Transform the size and turn to your taste. It is advisable to see the edges of the spot. Place the layer in the Mask group.

Step 5

Select a photo to process and place it in our document using File – Post (File – Place). Click Enter. Make sure the photo is above the Mask group. Next, right-click on the photo layer and in the menu that appears, select Create clipping mask (Create Clipping Mask).

Step 6

Finally, you can add a text layer on top of the image using the background color (in this case, it is white). This will create the illusion of using a clipping mask.


Using just a few simple steps, we created an interesting image that will surely find its application in social networks, for example, you can make yourself a beautiful avatar.

Translator’s Note: You can use various shapes and brushes as a clipping mask. Just paint in black on the new layer the shape of an interesting shape or make a print with a large brush and use this layer for a clipping mask.

Good luck in your work!

Like this post? Please share to your friends: