Illustrator 3.13 [clipping masks]

“Simple Clipping Masks”


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  1. With Illustrator open and a shape (defined by a path) on the Artboard, place a texture or image you wish to mask into the document.
  2. The image you place may need to be re-sized. You can do this with either the free transform tool (remember to hold down shift to keep the image proportional) or you can use Object > Transform > Scale to type in a percentage value of the scale you wish to perform.
  3. Next, look at the layers window. (Window > Layers) Click on the small arrow next to the layer name (shown with red circle below). This arrow will expand the layer showing the objects and paths contained within the layer. Double click on the layer name and change it to “Clipping Mask 1”[premium content]
  4. Now, with the layer expanded, pay careful attention to the order of the objects/paths within the layer. You will likely see a “Path” and a “Linked File” The “path” is the shape that will be doing the clipping, and the “Linked File” is the photograph you placed into the drawing that will be clipped.
  5. The “Path” object MUST be on top of the object to be clipped (“Linked File”) in the layer stack. If it is not, drag the “Path” object above the “Linked File” object. Your layers window should look like the example you see above.
  6. Now making sure the main layer, “Clipping Mask 1” is selected (it will show up as blue as it does above), click on the Layers shortcut menu (red rectangle above) and select “Make Clipping Mask” from the context menu that appears.
  7. You should see your photograph clipped by the shape defined by the “Path” layer.

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