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Creating a mask

From: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Creating a mask

In this exercise I'm going to introduce you to masking inside of Illustrator. Now, masking is much older than the Crop function that we saw when we discussed pathfinders a few chapters ago. However, it's more powerful feature than Crop as well because Crop is the static function and masking is a dynamic function as you will see. And we are going to get to compare and contrast them in this very exercise. So I have gone ahead and saved my progress as Four-shape blend.ai and I'm going go ahead and twirl close my Blend right there. And I'm going get my rectangle. Now let's say we decided that we are going to use the rectangle to crop the Blend.

Creating a mask

In this exercise I'm going to introduce you to masking inside of Illustrator. Now, masking is much older than the Crop function that we saw when we discussed pathfinders a few chapters ago. However, it's more powerful feature than Crop as well because Crop is the static function and masking is a dynamic function as you will see. And we are going to get to compare and contrast them in this very exercise. So I have gone ahead and saved my progress as Four-shape blend.ai and I'm going go ahead and twirl close my Blend right there. And I'm going get my rectangle. Now let's say we decided that we are going to use the rectangle to crop the Blend.

That is theoretically an option. I'll just grab this Blend guy and move it outside of object so we just get rid of the objects group there. And then I move rectangle in front of Blend because anytime that you are cropping or masking, the thing that's serving as the crop boundary needs to be in front of the stuff that it's cropping. All right now I'll go ahead and meatball the rectangle and Shift meatball the Blend like so and then I'll go to the Pathfinder palette and if you can't find it, go to Window menu and you can choose the Pathfinder command and then you will click on this Crop option right.

Problem is when you click on Crop you just goof everything up. Notice that you do get this path that is no longer filled or stroked. It's all empty. But it didn't manage to crop the Blend at all and that's because the Crop Pathfinder function is not compatible with Blends inside of Illustrator. But that's actually for the best because masking is better. Go ahead and press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac to undo that modification and what you are going to do instead is with these two items selected just as they are, so meatball one, Shift meatball the other rectangle in front of Blend just as we see it here. I want you to go up to the Object menu, I want you to choose Clipping Mask and then choose Make or you have a keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+7, Command+7 on the Mac.

Now it's an arbitrary keyboard shortcut but if you can remember it, it's a great one because you are going to be masking a lot one would presume inside of Illustrator and we'll throughout future chapters. All right, so I'm going go ahead and choose this command and just like that we put the Blend inside of the mask. We now have this group. Illustrator automatically puts the mask and its contents inside of a group. I'm going to twirl open the group, you can see there is the rectangle and you'll notice it's a mask because it shows up as white against gray very much like a vector mask inside of Photoshop.

And what that means is anywhere we are seeing white then we are seeing through to the contents of the mask to the Blend and back of it, and anywhere where we see gray, the Blend is being hidden. But the whole thing is completely dynamic and editable. So I have got my White Arrow tool selected here, I'm going to click off the shape, then I click on this bottom right corner again just by way of demonstration and if I move this out I'm revealing more of the Blend. Now, if I go too far I'll see a weird reddy (ph ) edge of the Blend, which of course I could solve lickety-split if I wanted to, just by clicking on that blended path and then I could drag it down too if I wanted to in order to give myself some more room so that I'm not reveling any bad stuff here inside of this mask.

So it's all dynamic. I can modify it as much as I want to just a terrific feature. Anyway, I'm going ahead and take that bottom right corner and move it back up there, so it snaps into alignment with the bottom right corner of the artboard and we have this shape right there. So that's all there is to masking inside of Illustrator. The main thing to remember is that you have to put the mask on top of the stuff that it's masking. That's the part that I think is really counterintuitive. Otherwise it's very easy, very straightforward and extraordinary flexible.

In the next exercise, I'll show you how to blend between translucent shapes.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced
Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

149 video lessons · 21601 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 28m 41s
    1. Welcome
      1m 7s
    2. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      8m 59s
    3. Resetting the Function keys on a Mac
      4m 47s
    4. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 20s
    5. Loading the CS4 color settings in Illustrator
      6m 3s
    6. Loading the CS4 color settings in Bridge CS4
      3m 25s
  2. 1h 53m
    1. From the simple emerges the complex
      42s
    2. Introducing Pathfinder operations
      4m 17s
    3. Editing a compound shape
      4m 39s
    4. Adding to a compound shape
      3m 11s
    5. Inserting a subpath into a compound shape
      3m 56s
    6. Expanding a compound shape
      4m 53s
    7. Assembling primitives
      4m 42s
    8. Preparing a template in Photoshop
      7m 0s
    9. Uniting paths permanently
      5m 40s
    10. Minus Front vs. Minus Back
      1m 55s
    11. Working with compound paths
      6m 49s
    12. When in doubt, divide
      3m 54s
    13. Divide and Unite
      3m 2s
    14. Open path pitfalls
      5m 35s
    15. Strokes bad, fills good
      4m 38s
    16. Advanced Divide and Unite
      8m 59s
    17. Using the Crop operation
      8m 30s
    18. Expert Divide and Unite
      8m 45s
    19. "Ghosting" shapes with Fill Opacity
      6m 45s
    20. Anticipating and troubleshooting
      8m 16s
    21. Exclude and Intersect
      7m 24s
  3. 44m 59s
    1. Familiar one moment, different the next
      1m 3s
    2. Snapping to anchor points
      5m 41s
    3. Aligning a group to the artboard
      3m 34s
    4. Distributing objects on the artboard
      4m 16s
    5. Setting the key object
      4m 54s
    6. Distributing objects by space
      3m 6s
    7. Distributing objects by selections
      3m 19s
    8. Aligning point text
      6m 7s
    9. Aligning live text vs. using outlines
      4m 58s
    10. Aligning key letters
      3m 35s
    11. Aligning to key objects
      4m 26s
  4. 1h 4m
    1. CS4’s gradient renaissance
      1m 7s
    2. Applying a gradient
      6m 0s
    3. Dragging and dropping color swatches
      2m 55s
    4. Using the Gradient palette
      6m 27s
    5. Designing a shaded gradient
      5m 9s
    6. Saving a gradient swatch and adding a texture
      4m 2s
    7. Introducing the new Gradient tool
      4m 39s
    8. Editing color stops inside a shape
      3m 26s
    9. Setting multiple gradients to the same angle
      5m 0s
    10. Adding and adjusting radial gradients
      7m 20s
    11. Making a transparent gradient
      7m 6s
    12. Adding drop shadows (a kind of gradient)
      6m 28s
    13. Blends vs. blend modes
      4m 38s
  5. 1h 17m
    1. Creating freeform color flows
      1m 0s
    2. The power of CS4's transparent gradients
      10m 25s
    3. Creating a gradient mesh
      4m 30s
    4. Expanding a gradient to a gradient mesh
      7m 40s
    5. Adding and deleting rows and columns
      6m 13s
    6. Selecting and coloring points
      6m 5s
    7. Assigning colors with the Eyedropper tool
      7m 42s
    8. Cool mesh editing techniques
      3m 56s
    9. Warping and puckering a mesh
      7m 24s
    10. Applying precise finishing touches
      5m 48s
    11. Gradient strokes
      9m 45s
    12. Gradient text
      6m 50s
  6. 55m 35s
    1. The first of the dynamic functions
      1m 4s
    2. Making a blend automatically
      5m 48s
    3. Fixing problem blends
      3m 56s
    4. Making a blend with the Blend tool
      3m 6s
    5. Cloning and coloring a blended path
      4m 37s
    6. Creating a mask
      3m 53s
    7. Blending between translucent shapes
      5m 30s
    8. Blending along a curve
      4m 34s
    9. Adjusting the speed of a blend
      2m 58s
    10. Filling and stroking a mask
      4m 36s
    11. Creating a compound clipping mask
      6m 3s
    12. Nesting one clipping mask inside another
      6m 7s
    13. Ghosting nested masks and blends
      3m 23s
  7. 1h 13m
    1. Patterns that repeat forever and ever
      51s
    2. Introducing tile patterns
      6m 36s
    3. Beginning a core design
      5m 6s
    4. Building an interlocking element
      6m 25s
    5. Achieving precise radial symmetry
      4m 46s
    6. Rotating duplicates around a common center
      3m 10s
    7. Determining how a pattern repeats
      9m 54s
    8. Coloring the core objects
      5m 0s
    9. Identifying the rectangular tile
      7m 14s
    10. Saving tile patterns
      7m 19s
    11. Applying tile patterns to a shape
      3m 25s
    12. Protecting patterns from transformations
      7m 36s
    13. Moving patterns without paths
      5m 51s
  8. 1h 19m
    1. Illustrator gets natural
      1m 15s
    2. Introducing the vector painting tools
      3m 16s
    3. Calligraphic brush options
      4m 3s
    4. Pressure sensitivity
      5m 17s
    5. Editing a calligraphic brush
      5m 53s
    6. Repainting and smoothing paths
      5m 30s
    7. Making the paintbrush behave
      6m 16s
    8. Erasing stroked paths
      3m 17s
    9. Painting with the new Blob brush
      6m 24s
    10. Refining filled paths with the Eraser
      4m 14s
    11. Painting independent paths
      3m 53s
    12. The Selection Limits Merge options
      3m 20s
    13. Applying and scaling an art brush
      6m 23s
    14. Snipping a brushed path
      4m 55s
    15. Colorizing an art brush
      4m 9s
    16. Heaping a stroke on an art brush effect
      4m 32s
    17. Creating a custom art brush
      6m 51s
  9. 1h 44m
    1. The computer art world’s dynamic duo
      1m 7s
    2. Copying and pasting pixels from Photoshop
      7m 21s
    3. Linking is efficient, embedding is not
      2m 47s
    4. Editing an image in Illustrator
      7m 30s
    5. Filtering an image in Photoshop
      6m 34s
    6. Adding a filter mask in Photoshop
      6m 25s
    7. Masking a woman from the background
      3m 49s
    8. Creating a sepia effect
      6m 37s
    9. Adding a second gradient map layer
      2m 13s
    10. Achieving a graphic effect with Levels
      8m 10s
    11. Preparing an image for use in Illustrator
      5m 46s
    12. The importance of image resolution
      9m 40s
    13. Placing and linking images
      4m 43s
    14. Managing linked images
      6m 18s
    15. Integrating an image into a design
      5m 12s
    16. A better way to wrap text
      7m 28s
    17. Previewing the trim size
      4m 25s
    18. Layer comps and editable text
      8m 42s
  10. 2h 11m
    1. Transparency is safe and fun
      1m 27s
    2. Introducing the translucent composition
      4m 39s
    3. Assigning opacity to an Appearance attribute
      3m 41s
    4. Creating a knockout group
      5m 7s
    5. Defining an opacity mask
      7m 15s
    6. Using the Clip checkbox
      2m 41s
    7. Opacity mask tips and tricks
      3m 20s
    8. The Multiply blend mode
      6m 8s
    9. Adding to an existing opacity mask
      7m 53s
    10. Blending between parallel groups
      7m 27s
    11. Creating a gradient opacity mask
      4m 54s
    12. Employing an opposing gradient mask
      7m 57s
    13. Combining Multiply and Screen
      3m 49s
    14. Blend mode roundup
      5m 24s
    15. Mixing blend modes inside a single path
      3m 48s
    16. Blend mode and transparent gradient
      3m 49s
    17. Masking an entire layer
      7m 0s
    18. Combining Screen with 100K Black
      7m 43s
    19. Knocking out a drop shadow
      5m 18s
    20. But will it print?
      3m 8s
    21. Working with the Flattener preview
      8m 44s
    22. Rasterizing an illustration in Photoshop
      9m 16s
    23. Super-rich blacks and raster effects
      3m 35s
    24. Exporting TIFF artwork from Illustrator
      7m 48s
  11. 58s
    1. Until next time
      58s

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