Learn how to create a “clipping mask,” or an object whose shape masks other artwork so that only areas that lie within the shape are visible. In this video, you'll explore some of the basic uses of clipping masks in Adobe Illustrator.
What we have here is the pieces we need to create a clipping mask.
So, on the right I have the US dollar sign and I have green as a background. In the United States for a long time our money was always green. Now we're changing that because of counterfeiters, but green is associated in the US with money, so I put the green back there.
And the other thing is—now I think this is more European, and it was brought over to the United States, but the piggy bank— okay, that's my idea of a piggy bank. I drew that with the pen tool. I had one when I was a kid. It had a little slot up here, and you put money in it.
So my goal is to put the dollar signs on the pig, creating a clipping mask. I have the pieces I need. Let me explain what they are.
Number one, the pig is vector.
- The clipping mask, the part that actually defines what you see, must be vector.
- These over here are two separate areas.
- Actually, there are the dollar signs that are grouped, and there's the green in the background.
- You can have as many things in the mask as you want to.
- They can be photographs, they can be text, they can be objects, they can be anything you want them to be, but they have to be underneath this.
Now what I did is put piggy in his own layer. That is not necessary. He just needs—or she actually, I didn't do a gender check when I actually drew that, but he or she must be above everything else. Now I did that by:
- Putting him in his own layer, so by just the default of having the stacking order in the layers, he is on top.
- Move him over.
- Let's make him a bit bigger before we get going here.
- I'm going to go down to a corner.
- I'm going to hold the alt key—that's the option key on a MAC and alt key in Windows—
- And I will also hold down the shift key to maintain proportion, and let's make him a bigger piggy. Holds more money that way.
- I'm going to use my arrow keys here to move him over into that area just a little. So we have the mask.
- We have everything underneath the mask that we want to be part of this shape, and we have select everything.
- Go up to the word Object on the pull-down menu.
- And go down to Clipping Mask
- And say Make.
- There you go, you have your first clipping mask.
Let's say we change our mind in a sense that we really don't want these things as a clipping mask anymore. This is nondestructive.
- If we select it and go back up to the word Object
- And go down to Clipping Mask,
- Click Release because something interesting is going to happen.
Now, it did release it, but by default, for some reason, Illustrator doesn't really remember the original fill and stroke of the clipping mask, so it's there, but it's invisible because it has no stroke and no fill. How do you find it?
- Well, the easiest way would probably be to go up to the word View.
- And change to Outline—that's control in Windows, command on a MAC Y, if you want to use a shortcut— and you can see it, it's right there.
- So if we come over here and we grab it.
- Wait for the little black square to come next to the selection tool we can pull it back out again.
- And we can go back into a preview.
- Now, it's still invisible, so I suggest while it's still selected to give it a color so we can see it, and we're kind of back to where we started, except we do have a bigger piggy over here.
Clipping masks are easy, and basically there are just a couple of rules you need to follow, and once you do that you can make these all day long.
Contributors: Infinite Skills, Andy Anderson