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Do you want to learn how to make a clipping mask in Photoshop for difficult background removal?

Using a clipping mask in Photoshop is excellent for removing the background of an image. And it’s especially useful for difficult background removal, where your object has color cast from a colored background.

In this post, we’ll show you how to create a clipping mask in Photoshop to remove the background from hair.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s first explain what a clipping mask is.

What Is a Clipping Mask?

How to make a clipping mask in Photoshop

A clipping mask in Photoshop is a way to control the visibility of a layer. Even though they are similar to layer masks they are indeed different.

Let’s explain this further…

While a layer mask uses black and white to show and hide different parts of the layer, a clipping mask uses the first layer’s transparency and content to control the second’s visibility.

So to create a clipping mask, you need two layers. And the bottom layer controls the visibility of the top layer.

In other words, the bottom layer is the mask, and the layer above it is the layer that’s clipped to the mask.

Alright, let’s show you how to do this in action!

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Removing the Background From Hair in Photoshop

Now that you know what a clipping mask is, let’s take a look at how to create a clipping mask in Photoshop to remove the background from hair.

You can either watch the video tutorial or continue reading the text below:

Given that you’ve already adjusted the background in Lightroom, we’re moving on directly to Photoshop.

Step 1. To begin, duplicate the photo and add a New Layer.
Step 2. Fill it with a solid color on the Adjustment Layer.
Step 3. Select the Background Eraser Tool and then use the Sampling once. You can adjust the tolerance later depending on how you want it.
Step 4. Change the limit to Discontinuous and check the Protect Foreground Color.
Step 5. Then, change the Foreground Color with the Hair Color. It’s advisable to choose the lightest color of the hair.
Step 6. Now, start Erasing the background. To do this, click the background for sampling and then run it through the hair.
Step 7. Next, continue Brushing around the hair.
Step 8. When you’ve finished brushing the hair, use the Other Eraser Tool to separate the body and the background.
Step 9. Then, use the Magic Wand Tool to select the remaining background and press Delete.
Step 10. To fix the pink color cast, add a New Blank Layer and clip it with the Main Layer.
Step 11. Change the Layer Mode to color, and then use the Brush Tool to change its brush mode to lighten with Opacity of 20-30%.
Step 12. Next, press the Alt Key Button to pick the hair color and start brushing. To remove the color cast of the shirt, just repeat the previous process.
Step 13. Lastly, click on File and Save as PNG to save the picture without a background. Or you can choose a new background of your choice.

And that’s it!

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Background removal photo editing by PhotoUp
Background Removal Photo Editing by PhotoUp

As you can see, using a clipping mask is excellent for removing difficult backgrounds where your images have color casts. And hair is a perfect example where it comes in handy.

With a little bit of time and effort, you can practice and become an expert in working with clipping masks.

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We hope this post helped you learn how to make a clipping mask in Photoshop. Before you go, make sure to check out the following resources as well:

Stina Pettersson

Professional Blogger

Stina is an entrepreneur, digital marketer, and professional blogger who's passionate about real estate photo editing, being outdoors with her pup, and sweaty gym sessions. She loves the written word and has been writing for publications like Forbes and Thrive Global. Originally from Sweden, she's called South Florida her home since 2013.

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