Cropping photos and other rasters in non rectangular shapes

How would I go about cropping a photo in a nonrectangular shape such as a circle or a hexagon?



One way is to invert your selection, if you are using GIMP. Probably other software as well.

Use the circle selection tool or free select. With free select you can either draw, like with a pencil, or click to create a polygon. Then, under the “select” menu, click “invert.” If you have a transparency layer and hit “del,” it will go transparent. If you don’t it’ll be white. For most laser things white is likely fine. I’d use “autocrop image” under the “image” menu after that to get rid of extra stuff.


AhHa! I downloaded GIMP the other day but have not played with it much yet. I’ll look into this within GIMP.
All my other photo editing stuff offers rectangles only.

Photoshop Express is very easy to use but by the same token is quite limited.

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A lot depends on the software you use. Most bitmap software, at the very least will usually let you make a selection (most have basic geometric shapes built in like circle, square, etc.) Simply select the area you would like to keep then invert your selection and erase everything else.

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Bitmap software = masks
Vector software = clipping path

Looks like Photoshop Express supports masks.

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Thanx, that is a basic thing I need to know.

That link is to PS elements, I don’t think PS Express supports this. I am preaty sure GIMP does though. I’m just going to have to learn another program.

Sorry . I can’t keep track of all the adobe variations. I think I googled the right name but clicked the wrong result.

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I believe you’re going to run into trouble if you use clipping masks in your design.

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For Illustrator, I suppose what you could do if you wanted to raster engrave a photo is:

Import your raster image and then draw a new path that will serve as your clipping path (you could use ellipsis, rectangular tool, etc. or freeform it with the pen tool). Make sure that your new layer is hierarchically higher than your raster image.

Then, select both the path you created and the image and then go to the top menu where it says Object > Clipping Mask > Make.

This will effectively “clip out” the part of the image you don’t want.

Export this version as a JPEG, which will leave you just the raster image for engraving.

If you needed to create a cut, you could create import this JPEG back into Illustrator and do whatever design work needed to be done for cuts.


Th GFUI ignores the clipping mask. You can crop in pathfinder which cuts it away…


To the best of my knowledge pathfinder will not work with a raster image.

And I guess they’ve made some headway on clipping paths in the UI. I remember several posts where clipping paths were throwing warnings.

They still do (as of 2 days ago)


Does anyone know of a solution for this? I’m super new with Illustrator, so I’m basically looking up tutorials as I try to do things. I had a raster image in Illustrator, and a path which I would like to use to crop the image. The methods I’ve found are “non-destructive,” (Object > Clipping Mask > Make) so even though it looks fine, the rest of the image is still there. Thanks to the above suggestion, I exported the cropped image as a jpg and put it back in, and that worked, it just seems very inelegant. :slight_smile: Does anyone know a better way?

I am really having fun with this! :slight_smile:

Without clipping support, the best bet is the modify the bitmap - which, as you note, is destructive. You can throw a new post in Problems & Support with the request for clipping masks, though.