Identifying the Differences Between Image Masking and Clipping Path

Identifying the Differences Between Image Masking and Clipping Path

Clipping path is one of the most common image editing tools, and at the same time, the process is somewhat complicated to comprehend. This is mostly due to the fact that there are multiple aspects involved. One such command that often gets mistaken for clipping path is image masking.

Image masking is another very valuable image manipulation process. This is a bit different from a clipping path, however, if you can convey your end image goals to the graphic designers like us, we’ll take all the necessary steps to make sure your requirements are met.


If you’d like to learn more about how these processes work, continue reading below to find out.

What is Image Masking?

With image masking, you’re basically turning parts of a photo ‘on’ or ‘off.’ A clipping path and image masking essentially do the same thing, just in different manners.

With an image mask, for example, you can alter the properties of your background to help the foreground image appear sharper. Image masking is mostly used on complex images with blurred edges. When you use image masking, the software recognizes these awkward edges and separates them from the background as efficiently as possible.

Of course, one of the downfalls of image masking is that you’re relying on the software to find and recognize different aspects of shape.

The edges might blur depending on the quality of the image but at the same time, you can generally get a more natural-appearing picture compared to if using clipping path services.


What is a Clipping Path Service?

When graphic designers create a clipping path, we do so using a tool available the Adobe software program. This pen tool allows you to physically draw a line around an image that will need to be separated from the background.

When using a clipping path, you’re able to ‘override’ the edges or portions that the automated masking would miss.

Another reason to use a professional would be to ensure impeccable work. Would you prefer a slightly blurred image obtained from masking or one with cropped edges and pieces of different backgrounds all pieced together because the pen tool wasn’t properly used?

When using a professional, you don’t have to make that choice.

Are There Optimum Clipping Path vs. Image Masking Uses?

Image masking is almost always preferred when the edges of an image are very complex. If your e-commerce store sells furry stuffed animals, for example, image masking is the best way to separate a background while still capturing the hairs of the toy.

Masking is preferred for those in the clothing business too if you want items like furry sweaters or jackets with dangling strings to appear natural.

If your business is selling a majority of women’s clothing, you’ll also use masking if the model has long or curly hair. The times when a clipping path is preferred is when the original image doesn’t have a well-defined background.

If there are shadows and differences in lighting then the masking may not work well compared to having well-defined background colors. A clipping path can be more successful when there are cutouts on the inside of the image that need to be set apart.


One of the great things about both approaches is that they are considered ‘non-invasive.’ Basically, we’re not cutting and pasting and ruining the integrity of the image forever. Instead, we’re turning certain portions of the image off or making them transparent by using layers.

If you aren’t satisfied with the original results, we can simply turn that layer off or alter the properties of it. Customer satisfaction is always guaranteed.

Plus in many cases, it’s not an ‘either-or’ proposition when it comes to using image masking or clipping path services. To achieve the highest results it’s not unheard of to utilize a combination between both practices.

Another thing to note is that in terms of image masking, there are many different options to separate the foreground image from the background. Commands such as addition, subtraction, if darker, logical and, etc. will change how the image is read by the software.


We can use these various commands to even alter the colors of the picture. Do you want to see how your logo would look on a yellow background? Does a customer want to visualize a certain blouse in more of a red shade? Once masks and clipping paths are applied to an image, these changes can literally be made with the click of a button. Please contact for more information on how we determine the best way to utilize clipping paths and image masking to help give you the images you always imagined.