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Embedded Paths vs. Alpha Channels

2 Ways to Remove Backgrounds From an Image


When you want to hide a portion of an image, such as the background, you can create clipping paths to hide the unwanted image elements. Two methods used to create clipping paths are embedded paths and alpha channels. EPS, TIFF, PICT, and PNG are some common graphics formats that support either embedded paths or alpha channels or both. For desktop publishing, EPS and TIFF are the favored formats. A third method is to use a program such as Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress that can create a clipping path directly in the program.

Embedded Paths

Paths are vector masks or outlines with hard edges. They are separate objects within an image. The paths isolate portions of an image. One common use of a path is to remove the background of a photo and create the illusion of transparency. Paths can also be used to extract individual objects or create non-rectangular shapes. Embedded paths can be exported as a clipping path to use in page layout applications. EPS images support embedded paths.

Alpha Channels

Alpha channels are bitmap masks with transparency. They have both transparent and opaque areas. Typically, alpha channels are used in photo or video compositing. Some programs can create a clipping path from the alpha channel information stored in an image. TIFF images support alpha channels and embedded paths.

In the next several pages of tutorials learn how to create clipping paths and alpha channels for use as clipping paths in an image editing program such as Adobe Photoshop or Corel Photo-Paint. Then learn how to access the clipping path or alpha channel information once an image is placed in a page layout application.

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  5. Edit or Modify Graphics for Us
  6. Clipping Paths
  7. Embedded Paths vs Alpha Channels -- Using Embedded Clipping Paths and Alpha Channels to Remove Backgrounds from Images

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