Little question about working between Illustrator and Photoshop when using clipping masks over images (photograph JPEG).

I have created a layout in Illustrator, and I am trialing different JPEG images in a clipping mask path that is within the layout.


This is the layout with the clipping path highlighted. I am using Illustrator for the original layout and to set dimensions, and trial different images within the same layout and clipping path.

I want to then copy and paste (or use any other process that is best) this clipped image into Photoshop. In Ps I have the same layout (the red and black frames/shapes) set to the same dimensions.

When I've been copying and pasting (as Smart object) into Photoshop, the image and clipping mask is tiny in comparison – like so:


So it pastes in around half the size.

Can anybody enlighten me on the best way to transfer this clipped image into Photoshop, preserving its dimensions? And explain why this way works rather than the means I've had a go at. I like to try to understand WHY these programs do what they do!

Thanks as always!

  • What is the physical document size (i.e. in inches/cm) in Photoshop? To check click Image > Image Size. It should be the same as the physical size of the Illustrator document. If the physical size in PS is bigger, then that explains why pasting results in a smaller image. You are essentially pasting an image onto a larger canvas, which will obviously look smaller. If this works for you let me know and I'll post it as an answer.
    – Billy Kerr
    Nov 18, 2019 at 11:27
  • 1
    Hi @BillyKerr Thank you for this. When I first Googled my problem, this was something that kept coming up as recommended to check. My overall image size in Ps (so that's the entire layout complete with red/black frames) is 1080px X 1920px. For context, this is sizing for an Instagram story ad and this is what I'm creating. So I've created the Illustrator layout to the same dimensions, using an artboard of 1080px X 1920px. So this doesn't resolve my issue, as I've been using the same dimensions in both programs and the above is what I get :S
    – user144750
    Nov 18, 2019 at 11:37
  • Oops and @BillyKerr also double checked physical sizes, both the image size in Photoshop and the Illustrator artboard are 38.1cm X 67.73cm
    – user144750
    Nov 18, 2019 at 12:39
  • Why do you need the clipping mask from AI? Is it more complex than your example may show? As a rectangular image, I would merely open the original photograph and use that in Photoshop, adding a layer mask if necessary. Merely based upon the example you posted, there's little benefit, but definite overhead by placing a raster image into AI, merely to copy it back to a raster editor like Photoshop.
    – Scott
    Dec 18, 2019 at 18:12

1 Answer 1


OK, I think I have enough information to try to answer this now, although this is still a bit of a guess.

Let's assume you have a 1080 x 1920px blank image created in Photoshop at 72ppi, and an identical sized Illustrator document containing a raster image to which you have applied a clipping path, and that the clipped raster image fills the width of the artboard.

In Photoshop go into Preferences > General, and uncheck the option Resize Image During Place.

enter image description here

Now try copying and pasting from Illustrator into Photoshop. That should prevent any size changes.

As to why allowing Photoshop to resize the document during place changes the size, Photoshop is seeing the original size of the photograph (without the clip) and trying to automatically resize it to fit the canvas.

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