Learn how to create complex shapes by combining groups of objects using Boolean operations. Also, learn how you can mask an object with any shape such as a rectangle or an ellipse.

Combine objects using Boolean operations

You can combine simple shapes to create compound shapes and objects. Select the shapes that you want to combine and use one of the following options in the Property Inspector:

Add to Shape Area

Adds the area of the component to the underlying geometry.

Subtract from Shape Area

Cuts out the area of the component from the underlying geometry.

Intersect Shape Areas

Uses the area of the component to clip the underlying geometry as a mask would.

Exclude Overlapping Shape Areas

Uses the area of the component to invert the underlying geometry, turning filled regions into holes and vice versa.

Combine objects
Add, subtract, and intersect shape areas.

Mask objects

Hide portions of your assets or shapes to draw focus on interesting elements in the design.

Masks are nondestructive, which means the masked area is not deleted from your project. You can adjust the mask again, if required, to highlight another portion of the image or drawing.

You can use masks to hide portions of images, and vector objects. In a scenario where one vector object needs to be masked with another, the top object in the stack acts as a mask. 

  1. Draw a shape that you want to use as the mask and place it on the portion of the image or drawing you want to retain. The portion of the image or drawing that is outside the shape will be masked.

    Using a shape to mask portions of an image
    Using a shape to mask portions of an image
  2. Select the image and the mask.

    On Mac, use the Selection tool and Shift + click or marquee select.

    On Windows, use the Selection tool and Ctrl + click or marquee select.

  3. On Mac, select Object > Mask with Shape. On Windows, right-click and select Mask with Shape from the context menu.

    The masked image
    The masked image

Release an object from its mask

To release an object from its mask, right-click (Windows) or Ctrl + Click (Mac) the object and select Ungroup Mask from the context menu.

Keyboard shortcuts:

  • On Mac: Shift + Cmd + G
  • On Windows: Shift + Ctrl + G

Edit an object mask

To mask a different portion of the object, select the object, and do any of the following:

  • Move the object to bring the required portion into focus under or above the masking shape
  • Change or modify the masking shape. You can also copy and paste additional objects into the mask (for example, another image)