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.

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

  1. leev said:

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

  2. Chris Takakura said:

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

  3. Anonymous said:

    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!

  4. Chopol said:

    Very Nice

  5. Stacey Sutherland said:

    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.

  6. Dan said:

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

  7. lovessleep said:

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

  8. Kaypublique said:

    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.

  9. Tahsinur Rahman said:

    Nice one.Really like it.

  10. jasa logo said:

    Illustrator is still difficult for me. Thanks for the tutorial

  11. Billy said:

    hi I have Adobe illustrator CC and question is how I do I use the clipping mask with a logo? Or if it’s possible? I understand how to use it with regular text but I have a logo with pre existing text and every time I try to use the clipping mask with it all I get is a white background

  12. Daniel Polite said:

    Great tutorial, Thanks for writing the article.

  13. Enamul Hoq said:

    This tutorial is very helpful for me but i think it will be very helpful for all categories beginner

  14. Hameed said:

    Great tutorial, we are like it

  15. Michael Cooper said:

    Wow nice and helpful Article, Thanks for shear it

  16. Jahid Hasan said:

    I am a beginner and this tutorial help me very much.

  17. Rustam Ali said:

    That is very helpful tutorial for new designer.

  18. clippingpatharts said:

    Nice one. This tutorial is very helpful for me but i think it will be very helpful for all Beginner Students who want to learn about Clipping path. Thank you.

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