I'm Alaina. Artist, brush maker, texture whisperer, and design geek. here to help you get creative with Procreate.

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July 15, 2022

What’s the difference between Alpha Lock and a Clipping Mask?

Today I wanted to explore a question that I get a lot – the difference between alpha lock and clipping mask in the Procreate digital art app, and how to do each one. The functionality is similar, but there are pros and cons to consider.

Alpha Lock

Apply alpha lock to a layer by swiping right with two fingers. The checkered background shows that alpha lock is applied. This makes it impossible to draw anywhere else on this layer, so that you can draw and apply effects all on the same layer without going outside the lines.

Pros: It’s a bit easier for beginners and saves layers.

Clipping Mask

Add a new layer above the object – tap the layer – Clipping Mask. The clipping mask layer references the layer below. The artwork looks the same, but is now on 2 different layers.

Pros: Nondestructive, allows you to edit the pieces individually.

The difference between alpha lock and a clipping mask

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xo, alaina