It’s extremely easy to fill images in Photoshop. By an image I mean any shape or letter(s) on a single layer. In this example I will show you how to fill text.
This tutorial looks long but really it shouldn’t be. I could sum this tutorial up in two sentences: Put a picture or patterned paper directly above your text layer. When the top layer is selected choose Layer>Create Clipping Path or if you are working in Elements Layer>Group with Previous. That’s it. If you want much more detailed instructions keep reading.
Let me start from the beginning. First you need to write a word. Big, thick fonts work best. Next drag the paper or picture you want to fill the text with on the layer directly above your text. It can’t be two layers above. It has to be directly above the text layer. Make sure your patterned paper layer is selected and choose layer (up top in the drop down menus) and “create clipping mask” or “group with previous” if you are working in Elements.
If you want to add a second paper or picture on top drag it to the layer directly above the patterned paper. If you do this wrong and drag it to the wrong spot you may mess everything up but it’s no big deal go back a step in your undo history and try again. This time make sure the layer with the patterned paper is selected before dragging the picture on top. If you have a layer selected the next layer dragged to your project will be put directly on top of that layer. After this is done make sure your picture layer is selected and choose Layer>Create Clipping Path or if you are working in Elements Layer>Group with Previous just like you did before.
I don’t like the size or the placement of the picture above so I shrunk it down and moved it over. To do this you make sure you have your move tool selected and make sure the layer you want to change is selected. If you can’t see the transform box (as shown above) click on “show transform tools” or “show bounding box” depending on which version of Photoshop you have. Put your mouse near the corner until you see a diagonal arrow. Press shift as you left click and drag your picture to the size you want.
I want to delete part of the picture. Using the marquee tool I select the part I want to keep then right click in the center, choose select inverse, then delete. This will only work if you are on the right layer.
You can add a drop shadow for extra effect. The layer style needs to be done to the bottom layer that has the shape or text you are working with.
Another fun idea for using clipping masks is to create templates for your layouts. Basically you draw out your layout first with different shapes on their own layers. You can download some free templates here on our message board. After you register for the message board you will be able to see the pictures and download the files.