Clipping Paths, Layer Masks & Image Tracing – Photoshop/ Illustrator

After gathering my images and looking back at my sketched designs, I set about isolating the cat from the background to use on white paper. My book is black and white, so I will alter the saturation and colour channels. However, my initial task was to create the path around the cat to maintain the detail of the cat but isolate it from the background. This would be really easy if it were on a plain background, However the busy background will make it tricky.

So below is the image of the statue of the cat that I wanted to clip. I started by using the magic wand tool to make a rough selection around the cat.



I then hit “Q” on the keyboard to get a quick selection mask. This enabled be to tidy up any parts I had missed. This is almost like another layer of refinement of the overall selection.

Screenshot 2017-01-09 12.15.08.png

I then hit “Q” again to exit the selection mask. giving me a decent selection but not as tight to the body as I’d like. I went to select and mask to refine the edge and maintain the detail within the cat. I manipulated the sliders to get a pretty tight selection. I used a variety of different backgrounds to make sure the selection was clean


In output settings, I hit new layer with layer mask. This enabled me to tweak edges with a very soft brush, just by painting in black and white on the layer mask. Below is the outcome of all the refinement.


I then saved as a .psd to maintain the layer structure and transparency of the clipped artwork. I then imported it into illustrator, where I imaged traced the image. The brief said we can be as arty as we like, and I feel this arty vibe gives it a touch of fantasy, whilst combining the book with “genuine” images of cats seen in the wild.

I took this process with two images I had taken of the cat

The Outcome – (Layout to be tweaked)





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