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As you continue to work with raster-based images inside of Illustrator, you may find the need to crop those images. Unfortunately, there is no way to crop a bitmap graphic inside of Adobe Illustrator. It's better to do this inside of Photoshop, or a raster-based image editing program. But if you need to keep this file in its entirety, and you wanted to simply hide portions of it, you can do that inside of Illustrator by utilizing something called a mask. In this movie, I'll show you how to eliminate certain portions of your bitmap graphics by utilizing a masking technique in Illustrator.
In this document that I currently have open, you can see here that the image overlaps the logo at the top, so I need to create some space right up here. It's also a little close to my Courses button down here at the bottom. So I actually want to just make a small selection of the middle of this. I could take this image, and just drag it down by resizing it, like so, but once I do that, it actually distorts the image, and I don't want that to happen. So I will use Command+Z or Control+Z to undo that. The first thing I need to do is actually draw out a box the size that I want my image to be.
So I am simply going to come over here to my Tools panel, and I'm going to grab a Rectangle tool. With the Rectangle tool selected, I am then going to come out, and align it to the side of my artboard right here. I am going to click, and start to draw out a box. I don't have to be precise with this right now, necessarily, but I'm just going to make it so it goes from edge to edge, and then I am going to make it about 250 pixels tall; something like that. Once I have that box created, I am then going to make sure that the Fill color is set to None, and the Stroke color is set to None as well.
I don't want to be able to see the box, necessarily. Then I will switch to my Selection tool, and as you can see, I have got a bounding box around the new box that I just drew. In order to clip this image inside of this box, I need to make sure that I have both objects selected. So I'm simply going to hold down my Shift key, with the box selected, and then just draw out to select the image as well. If I happen to pick up the background image while I am doing that, I can just Shift+Click to unselect that. Once I have both of them selected, I can go up to the Object menu, I can go down to Clipping Mask, and I can select Make, or you can utilize the keyboard shortcut Control+7, or Command+7 on the Mac.
Once I pick this, you are going to see that the photo snaps automatically into the box that I have created, and now I can maneuver this downward a little bit, and click away. The image has not necessarily been cropped, but I have created the illusion that it's been cropped. If I wanted to select is again, I can double-click to get inside of this, and I can actually move the photo independently of the mask. So if I wanted the bottom of this to actually be showcasing more, I could do it like that.
Then I'll simply exit out of Isolation mode, and again, it acts just like one single object, even though the big photo is still right there on screen. And if I were to relink this file with another photo, it would automatically come in, and fit within that clipping mask as well. If at any given time you need to get rid of the mask, or you send this to the client, and they are like, no, I really don't like that; just move the logo up and shrink it, or move the buttons down, or something like that. You can release the clipping mask very easily.
All you have to do is hold down the Ctontrol key on Windows, the Command key on the Mac, the Option or Alt key, and then press the number 7; that will release your clipping mask. You can also do that from a menu. Let me undo that to snap it back, and let's go up to the Object menu, go down to Clipping Mask, and select Release; it will release the contents. Let me undo that one more time. There's one other option inside of that menu that you need to be aware of.
If you go to Object > Clipping Mask > Edit Contents, it's actually going to drop you in, and allow you to maneuver this around inside of the mask. At the top, in the Control panel, you can see that I have two options here: Edit Contents, and Edit Clipping Path. These are what happen when you're dealing with a clipping group, like what we have here. Although you could have done this from the control panel, I simply did it from the menu. If I want to undo those changes that I just made to get it back to normal, I will just hit Command+Z or Control+Z until it gets back to normal.
And you'll see, once I get back to my original state, that it has switched modes to Edit Clipping Path. So if you wanted to edit the contents, you don't necessarily have to go into Isolation mode; you can simply select the clipping group, and then up here, where it says Mixed Objects, just click to Edit Contents, and then you will be able to select the photo, and move it around there as well. So whether you need to crop a photo, or hide a portion of something, or just flow something around a piece of text, or some buttons, like I did here, using clipping masks is a great way to do that, and it really saves you some time from having to go into another program, make a crop, come back, and update a link.
That can be tedious, and this is going to save you a lot of time.
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