Someone wants me to produce "clipping courses" in photos. I've never heard the term before.

What does it mean?
What does this process involve?

I have the ability to do plenty of things that I usually do not know the name of. Also if I don't understand how to do something, I learn to do it well and also do it rapidly.

I simply want somebody to provide me a nudge in the right direction. Any type of internet sites or details referring to this subject would certainly be valued.

  • 1
    Incomprehensible to me. "Clipping courses" makes no sense to me. You should ask them to clarify what they want. Ask for example photos if words aren't enough. It's not unheard of for clients to be vague or even use made-up words to describe what they want.
    – Joonas
    May 29 '19 at 9:38
  • A clipping path is a vector path added to mask out part of an image. Like @Joonas I have no idea what "clipping courses" means. Looks like a translation error to me. Sometimes path = course, but not in this context.
    – Billy Kerr
    May 29 '19 at 11:14
  • I don't understand why you rolled back the edits on your post. Mainly adding back the [background-removal] tag, it has nothing to do with your question. Also it's not necessary to add "thanks" to your question, pay it forward by upvoting good answers and marking as accepted if it solves your problem. Check How to Ask to learn more.
    – Luciano
    Jul 24 '19 at 8:22

Short Answer : Clipping path is the specific path or bound of area from where your images are clipped or cut.

Full Answer : basically in photo editing sometimes there comes situation when you have some extra or unwanted things (like you have shot picture of apple but unfortunately you shot the banana near it but now you want only apple) so you will start drawing path around the surface of an apple and once you complete the path and finish the clip all things inside of closed path will be remain and all things outside of path will be cut or hide or deleted ( may vary on situation ). don't mix Clipping path with Photoshop's clipping mask. since clipping mask is just the layers behaviour where outside area becomes hidden and you get only plain layer while clipping path is global term and should be applicable in anywhere! hope it helps :)

Note : not but least in case you want some hacky definition then here it is


Clipping path, in this context, is essentially a printer feature. It is basically a mask that is in vector form. While you can use it for nonprint reasons its real power comes up when you print.

If you would mask a shape for printing the edges would be blurry because your image IS intrpolated for color resolution. However, a clipping mask can bound the printed image at the full resoltion of the printer device. This allows you to have crisp, nonsquare, boundaries to print areas.

As to what your client wants is opaqe to me.


I can comfortably say that in this case, the meaning of clipping course / clipping path is a carefully-created and saved work path, drawn with the pen tool, supporting multiple potential final workflows from straight clipping path to layer mask or vector mask depending upon the final image use-case; final deliverable of this to be a .psd with one or more such clipping paths saved and clearly named for client's ease-of-use in their final use pipeline.

enter image description here

Hope that helps someone somewhere.


I would like to explain it in terms of Illustrator and Photoshop features. Maybe you'll get an idea.

See this image. Suppose you want only a certain part of star. So you use Object > Clipping Mask > Make feature. Here the word used is mask, but on very right side you see the desired output, i.e., a portion of star. The square object is still there, but now it's acting like a boundary/fence there. You can call it a clipping path.

enter image description here

The following is a feature called Vector Mask. Using it, you can perform a similar action. Just create a vector mask, and select the desired area with pen tool.

You can see a white colored polygon in layer panel. It's vector mask. And you can call the path as clipping path.

enter image description here

Note: In Photoshop, rasterize the circle object before you apply vector mask.

For example, in the image, I don't want the mike, so I can use the Vector Mask feature (to remove the mike. You'll need more Photoshop work to make it perfect).

Sometimes you can use this feature to remove backgrounds, but for that you've to be good at pen tool.

enter image description here

  • 2
    You should be aware that in Photoshop, layer masks, vector masks, and clipping masks are 3 different things. What you've detailed here are Vector masks, they aren't clipping masks in the strictest sense when referring to Photoshop. I mean, yes they clip and mask.. but in Photoshop a clipping mask is created by holding the Option/Alt key down and clicking between two layers in the Layer Panel.
    – Scott
    Jul 16 '19 at 3:57
  • 2
    Also a clipping path is different than a clipping mask.
    – Scott
    Jul 16 '19 at 3:59
  • Yes @Scott So does it mean my answer has some wrong information here? Should I update?
    – Vikas
    Jul 16 '19 at 4:17
  • Well, even though it's a good answer about vector clipping masks, that wasn't the question. The question was about clipping paths.
    – Scott
    Jul 16 '19 at 16:23
  • @Scott Agree, but that's why I wrote "you'll get an idea" ;)
    – Vikas
    Jul 16 '19 at 16:41

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