Pixelmator Tip #27 – How To Use Clipping Masks (And Bring Godzilla To Life)

Ninja Share:

In this tutorial, we are going to show you how to use clipping masks in Pixelmator and create a cool tribute poster to the new movie Godzilla.

Clipping masks, and layer masks in general, can be used to create some great effects in your designs. We also show you how to use the new Convert Into Shape option for selections that was released in Pixelmator 3.2 Sandstone recently.

The final product

So here is what you’ll be creating at the end of this tutorial.



Step 1:

Create a new document – we use 800x1280px for our poster size.


Step 2:

Create a Background layer, and fill it with a white colour using the paint bucket.


Step 3:

Now let’s go find Godzilla that we liked – here is a cool one we found on Deviant Art by SonicHedgeHog2. We choose it because it is largely monotone, and has a good edge definition – both important for this tutorial.




Copy and paste your Godzilla image into the background layer. Play around with position and size as you wish.



We choose to flip the image horizontally, made the image larger, and moved it off the page a little. We want to draw attention to the size of the beast, so a little play on negative space will give you this i.e. have lots of it. You’ll see how this works well in the final poster.

Once you’ve positioned the image as you want, select the colour selection tool from the toolbar.


Ensure the Godzilla image is selected, and use this tool to paint over the Godzilla shape. Hold down shift to add additional selection areas. Don’t over select, but what you want to see is the selection has a good outer shape of the Godzilla image.

Once you are happy with the selection, right-click on the selection, and choose Convert Into Shape.


You now have Godzilla as a shape. We’ve filled it with black colour and have no stroke.

Step 4:

Next we are going to get the background image for our scene. We found this scene online, and lucky for us it didn’t have Godzilla in the image. The background could be anything really, but it the focal point of the image, so make sure it is detailed enough to capture the attention of its viewers.



Copy the image into a new layer, place it above the Godzilla shape layer, and scale it so that it completely fits the Godzilla shape. Don’t worry about scaling to the exact size.

Right click on this layer, and select Create Clipping Mask. This should clip your background image using the Godzilla shape to create this awesome effect. You can now select the image, and move it around until you are happy that the right details are coming through the shape.

Step 5:

To finish the poster, we are going to add some text using the text tool. First, we found Godzilla Movie Font on Font Space. Download and install this font into your computer. You may need to save your work in Pixelmator and restart Pixelmator before this font shows up.

Add in the text GODZILLA, size of 130px, and set the position of the text to where you want to inside the image you have created. Make sure the text layer is above the  clipping mask image and your Godzilla shape. Next right-click on the text layer, and select Show Styles to change the layer styles of the text.

Use the settings below to create a moody red text effect – we add a gradient and an inner shadow as follows:


For the gradient, use the following settings:27-11


You should have something like the below once you have added the layer styles:


Once you have done this, right-click on the text, and select Convert To Pixels, so that we can add some text effects. Using the Effects Panel (CMD+3), under Stylize, select Gloom with a radius of 3px, and intensity 30. This will give your text an added atmospheric effect.27-12

Next let’s add some Noise with the following settings to give it some realism. It is also found in the Effects Panel (CMD+3) under Stylize.27-13

At this stage feel free to add in any other text embellishments to make your movie poster more like a poster.

Step 6:

Finally we will add some Light Leak to give some more depth to the poster. Ensure you have selected the background image (and not the Godzilla shape or the text layers). In the Effects panel, under Stylize, choose Light Leak. We used Nebula, scaled and offset to the left to further highlight the edges of the Godzilla shape, and using the following settings.



Step 7:

As a final step, we wanted the movie credits text at the bottom of the poster to draw less attention. We used the ink dropper tool to select the brightest part of the image layer – a pale orange colour, and then applied this to that text layer.


Nice one, you’ve just learned how to create amazing posters using some very basic tools in Pixelmator. Here is the finished product



You can even recreate the poster with just text and the clipping mask to get a great poster.



  • My first tutorial here and let me say that is a great tutorial. I am glad found your site… is GREAT!

    jonatanyairAugust 12, 2016
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