How to Create Masks in Illustrator

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You can make background artwork show through overlying shapes in Illustrator. This is called using "masks." These instructions apply to Adobe Illustrator 8. Procedures for other versions may vary.

Things You'll Need

  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Open or create a file in Adobe Illustrator.

  • Place the masking object on top of a second object.

  • Select both objects using the Selection tool.

  • Click on the Objects menu, then Mask, then Make Mask. The background object now appears through the shape of the mask formed by the top object.

Tips & Warnings

  • To release masks, select both objects and then navigate to Release Mask under Mask in the Objects menu.
  • If you are using layers, all objects between the two layers used in the mask will become part of the mask.
  • Files containing many masked objects may not print properly.
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