Working with clipping paths in Adobe InDesignIvan | Mon, 2010-03-15 04:33
Adapted from Adobe InDesign CS4 Bible (Wiley Publishing)
By Galen Gruman
A clipping path is essentially a shape that acts like a cutout mask—anything inside the shape displays and anything outside does not. It’s a very handy way of displaying just the pieces of a graphic that you want to display, such as masking out extraneous background or focusing on a specific portion of a larger image. Clipping paths are also frequently used to control text wrap around graphics.
InDesign can work with clipping paths that are already part of an imported TIFF, JPEG, Photoshop EPS or Photoshop image, or with clipping paths you create in InDesign. And no matter the source of the clipping path, InDesign lets you modify it.
Creating Clipping Paths in Photoshop
Creating a clipping path in Photoshop is simple after you get the hang of the process. (See the Photoshop Bible series [Wiley Publishing] for more on creating clipping paths in Photoshop.) A path is essentially a selection, which you can create with any of the Photoshop selection tools, including tracing your own selection to hand-drawing a path. After you make the selection, here’s how you make a path:
- Open the Paths panel by choosing Window > Paths.
- Using the panel’s flyout menu, choose Make Work Path. You’re asked to choose a Tolerance setting in pixels—the smaller the number, the finer the path’s shape.
- Click OK to accept your setting. A work path appears in the Paths panel, showing in white the area contained by the path.
- Convert the work path into a named path by double-clicking the work path in the panel or by choosing Save Path in the flyout menu.
- Give the path a name and then click OK.
- Choose Clipping Path from the flyout menu. You’re asked to choose which path to use as a clipping path (you can have multiple clipping paths in a Photoshop file); next, choose a Flatness setting. As with the Tolerance setting, the smaller the number of pixels, the finer the path’s contours.
- Click OK.
That’s it! The tricky part is creating the selection area to begin with.
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