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Chapter 16. Collage > Clipping Masks

Clipping Masks

This feature is not new; it was known as Grouping in earlier versions of Photoshop. (You chose Layer > Group with Previous to access it.) All Adobe has done is rename the menu choice from Group with Previous to Create Clipping Mask. But because they've done away with the concept of grouping, it makes it a bit more difficult to describe. So, if you've used this feature in previous versions of Photoshop, you should know that Adobe hasn't changed anything but its name.

When you create a Clipping Mask, Photoshop will change the active layer so that it shows up only where there is information on the layer directly below it. Then, to show you that something special is going on with the layer you were working on, it indents the layer preview thumbnail in the Layers palette and adds a small down pointing arrow to indicate that this layer now relates to the layer directly below it (Figures 16.2 and 16.3). The underlying layer is the Clipping Mask, and the layer with the arrow next to it is the one being clipped by that mask. You can have a Clipping Mask apply to multiple layers, effectively making multiple layers show up only where there is information on one layer. The arrows indicate which layer is the Clipping Mask—it's the layer that all those arrows point to (the first layer that isn't indented below the layers that have the arrows). You can create a Clipping Mask by using any of the following techniques:


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