I got a TIFF with an embedded clipping path according to the photographer.

I do not know how to use this clipping path. When opening the TIFF with gimp I don't see any hints or elements concerning the clipping path let alone any clue how to use it for clipping the image.

Any hints, how I can make the path usable?

  • The primary purpose of a clipping path is for use in a layout application such as Scribis or InDesign to define image edges. How would you want to utilize the path within Gimp? – Scott May 12 '17 at 15:00
  • Maybe it's an alpha channel that acts like a clipping path by applying various transparencies as a mask. I would expect a TIFF file could have an alpha channel, but not a vector (path) mask. TIFF is exclusively raster based AFAIK, although there was always the capability for unique "tags" in the TIFF spec. – user8356 May 12 '17 at 17:55
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    Do you have a sample image? – xenoid May 13 '17 at 9:21
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    @user8356 TIFF does support tag to hold vector based clipping path (or here but require access permission) but must be supported by the software reading and parsing the file. – user7179 Oct 2 '17 at 13:42
  • @K3N -- Excellent point. That jogged my memory about some unusual capabilities. There always is a caution about compatibility. – user8356 Oct 2 '17 at 15:22

Clipping paths in Tiffs are not a standard tiff feature. Much like transparency within tiffs, clipping paths in tiffs are an Adobe feature. I can't state whether or not Gimp can do anything with the path if it exists.

Customarily if a Photoshop .tiff has a clipping path, you would Place the image into a layout applications such as InDesign or QuarkXPress and then set the image to use the embedded clipping path to designate where transparency should be indicated in the (rectangular) image.

The use of clipping paths in tiffs is very similar to how one would use transparency within a .tiff file for use in layout applications - for text wraps and other object interactivity.

Within the raster editing application itself, the path is generally of no great use. Again no knowledge of GIMP here, but with Photoshop you could select the path, convert it to a selection then create a Layer Mask based upon the path. Essentially converting the clipping path to transparency.

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In GIMP, first you'll need to make sure you the 'Paths' dockable dialog is enabled. This can be done via Windows->Dockable Dialogs->Paths

See the GIMP manual 2.3. Paths Dialog for reference.

Using this, any embedded clipping paths can be edited and used to 'make selection from path'.

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  • Works if the path was not a work path, but saved with a name in Photoshop. Photoshop itself finds also a work path which existed when TIF was saved, but GIMP doesn't see it. – user287001 Jun 22 '19 at 10:46

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