How to create clipping paths with the Pen tool on Photoshop?
November 4, 2021

Although an image can be clipped in a multitude of ways on Photoshop, the Pen is, with a doubt, the tool that will enable you to obtain the best results in a majority of cases. It is also the technique that is the most widely used by clipping professionals. Discover, step by step, how to achieve high-quality clipping using the Pen tool with Photoshop.

The tools you will need for clipping with the Pen tool

The Pen tool

This is the basic tool for clipping tasks. It allows you to create anchor points which will generate adjustable Bezier curves with the help of tangents. The associated shortcut is “P”.

The Convert Point tool

This tool will allow you to adjust Bezier curves by working on the tangents. When necessary, this tool will also enable you to delete a tangent in order to create a gap. The associated shortcut is “alt”.

The White Arrow tool

At times you may need to move some of the anchor points that have already been set down. This is when the White Arrow tool comes in handy. The associated shortcut is “ctrl”.

Creating the object’s clipping path with the Pen tool

Clipping with the Pen tool is done in several stages:

  • First of all, select the Pen tool, then create your first anchor point on the edge of the object you wish to clip.
  • Next, set down your second anchor point a little further off, but this time, hold down the click button and gently slide your mouse: the result will be the creation of two tangents.
  • Thanks to the Convert Point tool (shortcut “alt”), you can adjust these two tangents so that the Bezier curve follows the contour of the object you wish to clip. If you feel it is necessary, you can also move an anchor point by using the White Arrow tool (shortcut “ctrl”).
  • All you need to do now is to keep following the same principle, creating as many anchor points as required on the object’s contours, until the Bezier curves entirely cover the object.
  • Once the outline is complete, you should see a path appear in the Paths window. Simply click on it while holding down the “ctrl” key so that the path is selected.
  • You can now copy this newly-created selection and paste it on another layer, against the background of your choice.

If you come across any problems when clipping your photos, don’t hesitate to call on our online image-clipping service Simataï Online. Our teams are available for your clipping requests and can deliver your images in less than 24 hours.

For more information, consult our page presenting online clipping or else contact us directly via our contact form.