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Chapter 11. Image Blending > Layer Clipping Paths

Layer Clipping Paths

Layer clipping paths allow you to control which area of a layer will be visible, by using an easily editable, smooth-shaped, crisp-edged path. This capability is brand new to Photoshop 6.0 and it represents a rather radical shift from what was possible in the past. Before 6.0, everything created in Photoshop was made out of pixels, where the resolution of the file determined how large the pixels would be when printed. If those pixels where large enough, then the image would appear jaggy when printed. But with layer clipping paths, you can create a very low resolution (read: jaggy) image and still get a smooth-shaped, crisp-edged transition between the content of a layer and the underlying image.

Adding a Layer Clipping Path

The simplest way to add a layer clipping path is to choose Layer > Add Layer Clipping Path > Reveal All. After you choose that option, the layer that is active will have two thumbnail images in the Layers palette (Figure 11.91). It should look like you just added a layer mask. The only difference is that with a layer mask, you paint with shades of gray to control which areas of a layer will be hidden or visible, whereas with a layer clipping path, you define the area that will be visible using a path.


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