Clipping Path from Selection in Photoshop

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by joe_gibb, Apr 26, 2005.

  1. joe_gibb macrumors newbie

    Apr 24, 2005

    I have a lot of images I need to make clipping paths for. I've been using the wand to select the background (they're sharp images on a white background) and then selecting inverse, making a work path, saving that path, then selecting that path as a clipping path. When I save the selection as a path it isn't as 'tight' as the selection even with the tolerance set to 0.5 pixels.

    Is there a better way to do it, or do I have to go back to actually drawing the paths with the pen tool?

  2. macstudent macrumors 6502


    Feb 12, 2002
    Milwaukee, WI
    Drawing the paths is the best way to do it. After a while you get a lot better at it.
  3. jayscheuerle macrumors 68020


    Just out of curiosity, what do you need clipping paths for? (I know what they're used for, but what's YOUR use?)
  4. primalman macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2002
    at the end of the hall
    I've actually had better luck setting the device flatness to 8 rather than a lower number, at least for print work.
  5. aricher macrumors 68020


    Feb 20, 2004
    I recommend getting a Wacom tablet - you can hand draw paths in no time with that puppy. After sing a tablet I can barely path or draw with a mouse anymore - everything becomes second nature. I agree with Macstudent - draw the paths yourself or clean up the "convert to path" outlines. you'll never get a really great path with "convert to paths."
  6. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    If it was me and time was of the essence, and I had clean easily-made selections from white backgrounds, then I'd save them as alpha channels and save the files as LZW TIFs.

    File size, schmile size.
  7. joe_gibb thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 24, 2005
    I'll try increasing the flatness and see how that works. Otherwise I guess I'll just have to use the Pen Tool for the moment.

    Thanks for the input guys.
  8. jayscheuerle macrumors 68020


    Joe, is there a reason you can't use alpha channels? Are you putting it in a Quark document?
  9. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    Bingo ;) there's just something fundamentally wrong with designers using mouses. :p

    That was going to be my suggestion too. :)

    yep... buy KnockOut 2 Photoshop's stock masking abilities are frankly sh*t. ;)
  10. joe_gibb thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 24, 2005
    Hi jayscheuerle,

    I guess I don't really need to use clipping paths, so I tried your suggestion using alpha channels and it works very well. I think be using them from now on and ditch the clipping paths unless I'm exporting to Quark or something.
  11. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Ahem... I'll take the credit for that suggestion. :D
  12. jayscheuerle macrumors 68020


    I don't know how familiar you are with using alpha channels, but you can often find one grey scale color channel (either the R, G, B or C, M, Y, K) that offers the greatest contrast between your object and the background can be duped and used as a starting point for a transparency alpha channel.

    OR invest in something like Knockout Pro.
  13. joe_gibb thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 24, 2005
    I'm terribly sorry Blue Velvet, you did mention it first :)

  14. Espnetboy3 macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2003
    What is the main point of using alpha channels and or clipping paths or masking? I was never really sure as to when one would apply these techniques.
  15. jayscheuerle macrumors 68020


    usually to separate an element from its background.
  16. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    If you do end up wanting to do it the way you do now, for some reason, wouldn't the magnetic lasso (hehehe I think of wonder woman every time I think of that tool...lalala, I'm such a 'tard) be a much better choice than the wand? It will give you a very well defined path, rather than having fuzz on it.
  17. Mickel Clark macrumors newbie

    Mickel Clark

    Jul 9, 2015
    You just use pen tool and path your all images, then you have to change color, pixel, size etc.
  18. citizenzen, Jul 15, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2015

    citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    I've worked as a pre-press technician and graphic designer for 25 years. I never use clipping paths. I save Photoshop files with layer masks (alpha channels) as .PSD's, place them in InDesign, and get perfect results. This technique allows you to control the transition between transparency and image in ways that clipping paths cannot provide.

    I use the pen tool when I need a nice round curve, otherwise I use the polygonal lasso, (not magnetic) as it allows me the most speed.

    It really becomes a question of which one you're most comfortable and used to using.
  19. Larry-K, Jul 16, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2015

    Larry-K macrumors 65816

    Jun 28, 2011
    I've been using clipping paths since they've existed, and they are incredibly useful in photoshop. The choice to use a layer mask, a vector mask, a clipping path; or all of them in conjunction is a very powerful solution to selecting and isolating things.

    How did this thread get jumpstarted again?
  20. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    They've existed a long time. And back in the olden days there weren't the alternatives that we have today. I don't use Quark, so things might be different in that realm, but using InDesign removes any need for them. I'm not saying you can't have an alternative workflow, but they just not a necessary part of one.
  21. Larry-K macrumors 65816

    Jun 28, 2011
    Indesign, Quark? You have an obsession with page layout.

    There are many ways to use clipping paths in many workflows, just because you're unaware of them, doesn't make them unnecessary.

    I get a lot of sloppy Photoshop files in where people are just too lazy to clean up their alphas, especially from iMac users who don't know how badly their monitors perform, you can tell by the crappy shadow work (well, you can on a good monitor).
  22. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    Yes. I've been a pre-press technician and graphic designer for 25 years.

    You call it an obsession. Some might call it a career.

    In my world, the print world, they are unnecessary.

  23. Larry-K, Jul 17, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2015

    Larry-K macrumors 65816

    Jun 28, 2011
    Didn't know you were claiming the "Print World" for yourself, but I beat you by over a decade on that point.

    Page layout is just one part of the print world.

    I'll forgive you, since you're a newbie.
  24. Clippingphotoshop macrumors newbie


    Mar 19, 2016
    Magic wand only takes the color of images and select one color area. That is not perfect tool for selecting an image. There are many selection tool which are used to select items. These are rectangular marquee tool, polygonal lasso tool, magnetic lasso tool and quick selection tool.
    But none of these can give you better result at all. You can't take feather which is must to select an item perfectly. The selection will not be tight and proper if you select an image by these tool.
    It is better if you apply pen tool to select your images. Pen tool will help you to clip or select desired portion of image image. This will allow you to take feather and make inverse and as a result you will be able to extract the item from background easily. If you are not able to use pen tool, you can take the help of skilled designers who can help you by providing you best clipping path service.

    For any more inquiry or question, please knock us any time;

    Have a good day
  25. MacGizmo macrumors 6502a


    Apr 27, 2003
    Well, considering you stated you started working in pre-press in 1992 (25 years ago), and InDesign didn't exist for another seven years after that, Quark and Pagemaker were the only apps around. Neither of those apps worked with Alpha channels or imported PSD files. In fact, they absolutely required you to use clipping paths and save the files in EPS format.

    Let's not start a holy war over such a stupid subject such as which one of you has been using which tools longer than the other and what for.

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