Clipping Mask (updated for CS4)


clipping mask tutorial

clipping mask tutorial

1. Clipping masks is a feature in Illustrator that enables you to mask out an image that you placed within the Illustrator document. With this example, I am going to use the type layer as my masking layer. First off, I want to place an image on my Illustrator document. To place a document efficiently in Illustrator, go to FILE > PLACE. Look for the image you want to place on your computer. (not cut and paste from photoshop or other photo programs).

clipping mask tutorial

clipping mask tutorial

2. Make sure you don’t outline the font cause it’s really not necessary to do so. Now let’s apply the mask. Make sure you have both the letters and the background imagery selected at once.

clipping mask tutorial

3. Now go to OBJECT > CLIPPING MASK > MAKE. That’s it!

clipping mask tutorial

4. The result so far. You can see the photo in the back through your letters.

clipping mask tutorial

clipping mask tutorial

5. Now remember I told you not to outline your fonts? Well here’s the reason why. You can STILL edit your text after you applied the mask as you can see here. The same goes for shapes and patterns. You can still go back and change them after the mask has been applied. And also another thing you can do is get the white arrow tool and move the letter around while the background stays in a static position! So you can move it around to see where you want to make the clipping mask first. This is great with shapes such as circle and squares (and not text like this tutorial).

clipping mask tutorial

6. Now what happens if you did OUTLINE the font? Well you can also play around with the anchor points of the text and manipulate the font while the background image still follows the clipping mask.

35 Responses to “Clipping Mask (updated for CS4)”

  1. azdark said:
    February 21st, 2009 at 9:59 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    how is it possible to move out back ground and adjust it to our likings like in photoshop?casue her ein illustrator once we clip in mask the back ground does not move!

    beat regards

  2. Synergy said:
    February 21st, 2009 at 12:40 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    you can move the actual text or object that you clipped it with, using the direct selection tool (white arrow tool).

  3. Shivaram said:
    May 7th, 2009 at 1:49 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    Please send Illustrator Tutotrail

  4. Barb Heizman said:
    June 3rd, 2009 at 4:37 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    I want to thank you for these tutorials. I have just started a graphic design class, and I’m so lost. Our teacher went over the entire Illustrator yesterday and left me overwhelmed. Atleast you’ve given me an opportunity to understand some of the features. Thank you SO much.

  5. prett said:
    June 27th, 2009 at 7:28 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    Hiiii

    If you can send more tutorials on illustrator tools . like rotate.text.reflect , wrap,twirl….

    Thank you

  6. Hendo said:
    July 2nd, 2009 at 5:45 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    how can i create font or image ready for outline cutting ?

    I have a plotter and want to cut the outline of a standard image – how to do ?

    Hendo

  7. Synergy said:
    July 2nd, 2009 at 6:04 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    The best option for you is to trace it using Illustrator manually or using the auto-trace option. Although auto-trace is time saving, I cannot say that it is accurate. It really depends on how you work the settings.

    If you want to modify fonts to your liking, I suggest you check out my outlining fonts tutorial on this site.

  8. Synergy said:
    July 2nd, 2009 at 6:05 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    I will be loading up more illustrator tutorials soon.

  9. dnb said:
    July 10th, 2009 at 3:23 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    its says ,,
    cant make clipping mask ,
    the selection must contain more then one object

  10. Synergy said:
    July 15th, 2009 at 4:10 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    you have to select both objects, top and bottom to make a clipping mask. the top one is the shape that it will cut out at.

  11. jenne said:
    August 26th, 2009 at 3:35 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    Its a very useful tool

  12. P.K.BARUA said:
    September 22nd, 2009 at 10:51 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    Dear Sir

    Would you send me the tutorial on making the wheel by illustrator?

  13. clipping mask said:
    November 18th, 2009 at 4:07 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    great tutorial

    it will help me on my project
    keep on posting! :)

  14. Synergy said:
    November 18th, 2009 at 4:23 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    @clipping mask: Thanks for reading!

  15. abster said:
    May 26th, 2010 at 10:30 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    what if you have multiple objects that you want to apply the mask to?
    for example, i have a logo that is in the shape of a butterfly, no outline, and if i select the whole logo with the pattern behind, it comes out no fill no outline.
    thanks!

  16. Chris said:
    May 26th, 2010 at 12:08 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    If you have multiple objects you want to apply the mask to, you need to duplicate the image in the back multiple times. If you want to retain the outline of an object, go to OBJECT menu, and then PATH, and then OUTLINE STROKE, while you have the object (with the outline selected). Then go to OBJECT -> UNGROUP to seperate the two. Stack the 2 objects you want to apply the mask together underneath your logo with the outline, apply clipping mask to both individually.

  17. Henry said:
    November 30th, 2010 at 7:57 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    I have two objects to trace one of them is a graphic overlaid on a hashed background. I want to trace the objects, not the hashed background. Can I apply a mask and trace the object? Is there another method to extract the object from the background, that would do the job?

    Using a standard trace extracts object and hashed background and can’t isolate the two.

    Thanks,

    Henry

  18. Chris said:
    December 1st, 2010 at 1:40 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    @Henry: You can use the LIVE TRACE feature in Illustrator to do that. The Live Trace feature offers numbers of options in the dialog window.

    Hope this helps.

  19. guy said:
    December 6th, 2010 at 11:27 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    i dont get it

  20. Jennifer said:
    April 6th, 2011 at 3:22 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    Hi there,

    You have very thorough tutorials, thank you for that.

    My question is regarding the last portion stating when you have the text outlined. Anchor points aren’t visible before or after clipping mask so I don’t understand how you’re able to play with the points here. I understand for an image you’ve created with the pen tool but can you explain how you got the points on the text?

    Thanks!

  21. Chris said:
    April 6th, 2011 at 5:10 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    @Jennifer: You use the white arrow tool and click on the actual letter itself to pull up the anchor points. I believe you select the whole thing if you use the regular mouse pointer. Let me know if this works out for you. If not, I will give you a much fine detailed instruction.

  22. Bettina said:
    April 8th, 2011 at 3:03 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    Very helpful tutorials! Thank you very much!

  23. Chice said:
    April 8th, 2011 at 3:16 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    I’m not new to designing, but I’m a rookie with illustrator. I have so many stuff to ask. But first of all, I want to know how do u play with the letters “E” above? I mean, how to create the path and than make a new clipping mask? or it is automatically follow the path? I’m confused.

  24. Chris said:
    April 9th, 2011 at 12:33 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    @Chice: You do the clipping mask method explained above, select the text after you apply the clipping mask and then go to TYPE > CREATE OUTLINES.

    Then you get the white arrow tool and adjust the anchor points with the clipping mask still applied.

    White arrow tool shortcut: Press A
    Create outlines: SHIFT + CTRL (COMMAND FOR MAC) + O

  25. Chice said:
    April 15th, 2011 at 6:37 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    Thanks Chris… (“,)

  26. michael said:
    May 25th, 2011 at 5:39 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    Hi thank you for the tutorial. Could you tell what fonts you are using on your website. They look really nice!

  27. Chris said:
    May 25th, 2011 at 12:41 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    @michael: My main studio signature font is called “Avenir”. :)

  28. leev said:
    December 30th, 2011 at 8:26 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    Thank you~! I like the way you explain everything :)

  29. Chris Takakura said:
    January 3rd, 2012 at 6:45 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    @leev: Thanks for your comment! I do my best to make my tutorials easy to follow! :)

  30. Anonymous said:
    April 13th, 2012 at 9:39 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    I have AI 10. I know nothing of Illustrator. Is there a way to take a picture and cut the background and replace it with a white background? I have a picture of a cat I took, and I want to erase the background around the cat. I have a vague idea of how it is done in Photoshop (which I don’t have), but haven’t a clue how it’s done in Illustrator – or even if it can be done. Help!

  31. Chopol said:
    October 13th, 2012 at 2:32 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    Very Nice

  32. Stacey Sutherland said:
    January 28th, 2013 at 9:22 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    Great tutorial glad to find it! How can i use the type for a logo or cut and paste the transparent type to another document? I hope this makes sense.

  33. Dan said:
    January 2nd, 2014 at 9:22 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    How do I do the opposite of this and cut the text out of the image (leaving a text shaped hole in the image)

  34. lovessleep said:
    March 4th, 2014 at 9:07 am | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    @Dan: Isn’t it just easier to place white letters on an image?

  35. Kaypublique said:
    April 14th, 2014 at 7:03 pm | reply to this postReply to this comment |

    I got these instructions to work in Illustrator CC but it took a little fiddling. Sometimes it appeared that the mask would be applied to the wrong layer. In case of problems, I recommend starting with “clean” layers to clear any misapplied mask.

Leave a Reply - Need an avatar for your posts? Register here for global avatar usage.

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current day month ye@r *

media temple