Clipping masks are really confusing. They are simply cutouts in storyboards, but you have to group your image to them. Like layer masks, they are a wonderful editing tool, but they are difficult to understand unless you read a really good tutorial or book or have someone show you how to use them. I have two tutorials (tutorial 1, tutorial 2) already posted on my blog, but I still get so many questions.
So I finally decided to make this easy on you. I wrote this really simple actionthat will prompt you to open your image, automatically group it with the clipping mask, and allow you to free-transform it to fit. This is the perfect action if you can't figure out clipping masks and/or you want to save time loading your images. If you can use actions then you can easily use clipping masks!!! I know the screenshots make it sound involved, but this is a very simple action.
Some people have problems running my storyboard building actions in their PSE programs (I think some Mac users?), so perhaps they will be able to use this action to load images on my storyboard templates.
How to use the CoffeeShop Group It action:
1. Open your storyboard template with clipping mask(s). The one I used in this tutorial is here. You can find all of my storyboards here. Some have actions (scroll down to the bottom to find those links), but all of my storyboards should contain a .psd file, even the ones with actions. This action should work on any layered storyboard template with clipping masks, even ones you make!
Make sure you are opening a layered .psd storyboard file. Make sure this is the only thing open in your editing program.
2. Click on the clipping mask you wish to add the image to in the layer pane or in the storyboard. I usually label my clipping masks, but in this case I just labeled it by where it is located. Just look for a black box or shape if the clipping mask is not labeled. I am going to load an image to the left cutout.
3. Click to start the action. You will be prompted to open your first image. Select it and click OK. The image will open, and be selected, copied, and pasted on your storyboard and grouped with the clipping mask you had selected (see below).
The action will prompt you to free-transform the image to fit. If you can't see the bars, then click Ctrl-0 (that is a zero) and your image will zoom out. You can click Ctrl-0 again at anytime to zoom back in.
4. Make sure if you are using Photoshop that the little chain between W and H on the top menubar is clicked on before dragging. Otherwise your image will get distorted. This action should automatically select it so you should not have to hold shift.
If you are using PSE don't hold shift and make sure Constrain Proportions is checked on the top menubar before dragging or your image will get distorted.
5. Once your image is adjusted to taste (you can adjust the placement by dragging it) click on the checkmark on the top menubar (Photoshop) or on the image (PSE) to accept the changes and your image will be perfected placed! The image you just opened and copied to paste on your storyboard will be closed.
Now you can add another image to another cutout (clipping mask). Click on the next clipping mask in the layer pane (top right in this case) and start the action once again.
You can download the free CoffeeShop Group It Photoshop and PSE action HERE.
Want all of my favorite CoffeeShop Actions or Design Elements in one simple download AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures. For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.