Day 26: Masking using Clipping Path/ Opacity Mask

With Clipping Mask and Opacity Mask, you can quickly mask away any unwanted areas you wish to hide. Let’s take a look how it works…

Clipping Mask

In this illustration I have 3 layers. The background, sunburst effect and the sun. I will need to mask the sunburst to a square.

First, I will select both the sunburst and background and group it together. Select both with Selection Tool and press Ctrl/Command+G to group it.

Draw a rectangle to decide the area you want to show. Make sure it is at the topmost layer.

Select both the background and the path. Right click and select Make Clipping Mask (Object>Clipping Mask>Make).

Next send the background to the back by pressing Ctrl+Shift+[ / Command+Shift+[.

Editing Clipping Mask

To make any changes to the clipping mask go under the group and select Clipping Path. You can rescale your clipping path in here. To remove the clipping path, go Object>Clipping Mask>Release.

Opacity Mask

Opacity lets your create transparency to your layer. The Intensity of black will determine the opacity of the layer. Black will be transparent and white will be opaque.

Instead of drawing a square in our previous example, I’m now going to draw a circle instead and fill it with gradient.

Now select both shapes and select Make Opacity Mask by clicking the Options icon at the corner of the Transparency Palette.

So now, I have an opacity mask that has the edges fading out. Opacity Mask is a very good way of blending edges to the background and it will prove useful in your illustrations.

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About The Author: Tony Soh

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    hfng August 8th

    Great stuff!! I always enjoy reading your tutorials.
    Quick question, does istock accept vects with clipping mask or opacity mask?

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    iStockdiary August 11th

    Clipping mask – accepted, Opacith mask – not accepted

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    Peter Breis September 2nd

    Fantastic stuff.

    I am trying to follow through all the tutorials but there still seem to be several missing and The table of Contents page has gone missing and produces a 404 error.

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    Vectordiary September 2nd

    Hi Peter Breis, try it again.. It should be fine. I guess it is some server hiccups.

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    Rasta blood claat man, dis one a bit harder

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    ..nice tutorial…

    keep on posting! 🙂

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    please tell me deference between the pantone and spot color

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