Pixelmator Tip #51 – How To Use Text And Clipping Masks To Make Beautiful Posters

Ninja Share:

In this tutorial, we are going to show you the basics of using clipping masks and text elements to create some beautiful posters using Pixelmator.

Clipping masks, and layer masks in general, can be used to create some great effects in your designs. Especially when you can merge clipping masks and text elements together. We showed you how to use basic clipping masks back in Tip #27.

The Final Product

At the end of this tutorial, you will be able to recreate the below poster. We chose to go with an animal zoo theme for this poster with release of the latest Jungle Book movie, which is one of our favourite movies of all time.


So let’s get started.

Merging Text and Clipping Masks – The Basics

Step 1:

Create a new canvas of size 1024x768px or whatever size you prefer.1

Step 2:

Select the text tool in the tools menu.

Add in some text into the first layer and set the font size to be large enough to almost fill the poster. Align it to the center of the poster.

We went with the theme of motivational poster, hence the word “DESTINY”.3

Step 3:

Next, copy and paste the image you want to use into a new layer above the text image. Re-size the image so that it fills the canvas using its size handles. Lets name this the holiday layer.

We used this serene image by Ales Krivec from Unsplash.4

Step 4:

Now in the layers panel, right-click on the holiday layer, and select Create Clipping Mask.6

This will now create the desired effect, where the holiday image is only visible through the text element.

Feel free to adjust the size of the holiday image, so that we show a lot of the detail within the text element.


Your layers panel should look like the below.

We also added in a background layer, and using the color selection tool and the paint bucket from the tools menu, we selected a color from the visible parts of our holiday image, and filled the background layer with that color. The reason to choose a color that is visible as our background color is to show some fluidity between the text element and the background, but at the same time to contrast the text with a solid color.5

Great, we have now created a beautiful motivational poster.

Step 5:

The poster looks good, but we thought it might be an idea to make the holiday layer stand out a bit more.

Open up the Effects browser (CMD+3), and under Stylize, drag and drop the Vintage effect onto the holiday layer.

We went with Freesia, with a saturation of 100% and a vignette of 100%. Feel free to try different vintage effects and play around with the saturation and vignette settings.

Now we have finished our poster. Once we export the image, we get the final product with a background.

You can see the holiday layer has become really vibrant and enhances the text element at the same time just by adding a vintage effect.


Here is the same design without  the background.


We also created another image to show how easy it is to merge text elements with clipping masks.


And here is the same design without the background – cool right.


Merging Text and Clipping Masks – Complex Poster

Step 1:

Create a new canvas 1024x768px, and fill it with an image like we showed you earlier.

For the image here, we used a photo by Jessica Weiller available on Unsplash. All we did to this was to add a Colorize effect from the effects panel (CMD+3) to make it a blue color.

Step 2:

Duplicate the bear layer and call it bear-copy layer. Make sure that the bear-copy layer is above the bear layer, and then hide this layer on the layers panel.

Note: it is very important that you don’t move or change the bear and the bear-copy layer after this point.

Now select the bear layer, and using the square selection tool, select the right half of the image, delete it. While the selection is still active, fill the area using the paint bucket with white color.12

Step 3:

Now using the text tool, add in your text. We used the line from the famous song in the Jungle Book. We use the standard Headline font, with a font size of 96pts, and all caps. We also reduced the text vertical spacing to 0.7, and the horizontal spacing to 0%.

Arrange the text so you roughly have something like the below and align it to bear image so that it looks good relative to the bear silhouette.

In the layers panel, ensure that the text layer is now in-between the bear layer and the bear-copy layer. Now right-click on the bear-copy layer, and select Create Clipping Mask.14

This now gives us a cool text clipping mask like we showed you earlier. You’ll also notice that we moved the text layer to touch the bear layer slightly to ensure there is a visual flow from the bear on the left to the text on the right.15

Step 4:

Now we add in some final text embellishment to the bottom right of our zoo poster to complete the look and we are finished.

We can finally export the image from Pixelmator to create this beautiful poster for London zoo celebrating the Jungle Book.




  • I love it! Thanks for helping the pixelmator community with this inspiring guide

    neilApril 21, 2016
    • Thanks Neil – Glad you liked our Pixelmator tutorial

      Pixelmator NinjaApril 21, 2016
  • Thanks for the clipping mask technique!

    Kate PittersonJuly 11, 2016
Oops. Comments are now closed on this post!
%d bloggers like this: