Clipping Path: An Introduction for Beginners

Clipping Path- What is it?

Regardless of your profession, you might be in need of photo editing at some point of your life. Perhaps you’re thinking why on earth you would ever need photo editing unless you’re in business, advertising, graphic designs, or photo-shoots. Yes, indeed these professions demand the recurrent use of photo editing. Yet, if you don’t need it professionally, you’ll definitely need it if you intend to crop or extract any particular part from your photo or image. And in order to do that, you must know some basics of cutting and cropping in Photoshop. One of the most popular image cropping or cutting ways is Clipping Path.

Although this is not too technical, it requires dedicated practice before providing perfect output. Your hand is the main tool here and your eyes are the guide. The more you practice, the better result you get. Now the question is, do you have all that time to be the master of graphics? Do you have the luxury to spend hours cutting and cropping images, leaving your other important works aside? If your answer is ‘NO’, then you surely will be looking for expert agencies or freelancers to get the job done for you. Now, let’s take a pause here and explore this tool a bit more.

Let’s get technical- How does it work?

Before going into step by step detail, you must get familiar with terms like ‘pen tool’, ‘anchor points’, ‘handles’, ‘curves’, ‘cones’, ‘selection tool’ etc. The ‘pen tool’ is the key tool for applying the clipping path. Indeed, it requires expert hands to give you the best result. Photoshop experts are efficient in using the pen tool, especially when it comes to navigate the ‘handles’ to curve the ‘anchor points’. All the magic hides in the combination of ‘handle’ and ‘anchor points’ navigation. Let’s have a quick look at the process-

What our experts basically do is simply assess the image our client intends to extract. It needs professional eyes to count the number of curves needed for each image. An anchor point basically works as the starting point or one end of a line, and the second anchor point is placed in another suitable direction. The handle is used to navigate the anchor points to make the curves bigger, smaller, less or more curved. In this way, the desired image is extracted from original image and/or the background is removed as per client’s need. The extracted portion may be placed further against another background.

So far, it sounds simple and easy. Indeed it’s easy for proficient clipping path experts. However, not all the images are just cut and done. There are some images that need keen attention and enough time to be extracted. Based on difficulty level, there are six types of clipping path services applicable.

Ranging from Basic Service to Super Complex Service, clipping path complexity varies due to shape, hole, curve, corner, transparency, shadow etc. The more complex the picture is, the more time and labor it takes to get the job done.

Basic or Easy Clipping

It depends on the image and clients wish whether it requires a simple or more complex. Generally. If there is no whole and less curve required, then it is considered a basic one. Round, square, or any other basic shapes are easy to extract with less time and minimum effort. Therefore, within a short period of time, a large volume of work can be completed. Basic clipping path always costs minimum which any client can comfortably afford.

Simple service

Basic shapes with fewer holes are considered for simple. It’s just needs a bit more time and effort to extract the desired portion. It’s not too far from the basic one.

Medium Service

As we already have understood that gradual increase of corners and curves will rise up the clipping path difficulty level, naturally medium clipping path requires more number of corners and curves along with fewer holes (embedded transparency). For instance, if you need to extract an image of bracelet which contains few holes and curves, it comes under medium clipping path service.

Complex Service

Images which have complex designs including curves, holes, and closed paths etc. increase difficulty level as they require more time and effort. For example an image of a group of people or a player in front of a tennis court needs complex clipping path to extract or change the background.

Multiple Service

Images that need improvisation of color, size, shape, and rotation along with the shapes and curves come under multiple clipping path. This service is considered really difficult and should be given keen attention and enough time to get the appropriate result. Since the service is difficult, along with clipping path it also involves color correction masking.

Super Complex Service

Net, fence, gate, zigzag wire, multiple holes, flying transparent cloth or hair, printed cloth, array of cloths, or collection of jewellery need highly expert hands and professional eyes to get a perfect output. It is considered super complex because it exceeds all other clipping path service in terms of time and effort. It’s easy to guess that this complex work will cost more than other services. Still, clients don’t need to worry much as there are many affordable clipping path service providers who are ready to take it down at a quick pace with minimum price.

Who Needs Clipping Path Service?

The appeal homemade cakes have is definitely worth mentioning, but what about the local baker shop in your neighborhood? Ever wondered why does it even exist when anyone can bake their own dessert watching a YouTube tutorial or reading a cookbook? The answer is simple. Not everyone has the time or expertise to make the dessert taste or look professional. That’s where the need of a baker shop arise. Similarly, in terms of image manipulation, graphics companies are experts in handling your images to give it the best professional look possible.

In this era of marketing, anyone who runs a business will need photo editing service at some point of their life. This Photoshop technique has made the life of advertisers easier. Following are some general clipping path service clients who need the service 365 days in a year.


Primarily fashion magazines, but any other magazines with lots of photos and graphics always need graphic design service for numerous purpose. Magazines often merge two or more photos together on their cover page, or inside the magazine which needs clipping path service to make it happen. Also, their logo and images often need to juxtapose together which is impossible without this technique. In one word, clipping path works as the ‘makeover specialist’ for magazines when it comes image manipulation.

Advertising Agencies

Without this service, advertising agencies can’t run their business for a single hour. Not bragging it, but clipping path service makes an advertising company complete.

Business Companies for Product Listing/Portfolio

In order to enlist their products with images or to make their business profile clipping path service is essential. For business website, catalog, and brochure- product images go under heavy editing using it.

Fashion Photographers/Designers

Fashion photographers are no less than artists. They craft digital portraits for different purpose. Clipping path experts work very close to photographers in order to give them the best output as per instructions. Whether it’s a portfolio, model profile, fashion catalog clipping path service is a must for photographers.

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