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Masking in Illustrator

Posted on 2011-02-19
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I am trying to work with masks in illustrator for example. I understand if I make a simple mask the overlapping area will become the new shape, but what if I want to make say a sea gull.

I have the main body which is white, then coloring towards the tail. I want dont want to spend hours getting the points to evenly match so no white is shown, I want to overlay and mask.

I have uploaded an image as an example. The top one is what I am trying to make and the bottom is the one I am learning from.

Any ideas on how I can do that?
Screen-shot-2011-02-19-at-1.46.1.png
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7 Comments
 
LVL 26

Expert Comment

by:David Brugge
ID: 34935519
Perhaps it's those cheap drugs I'm taking, but I'm having a difficult time following your question.

A clipping mask is a layer that chops (or clips) off the view of part of the underlying layers. Think of it like the mat on a painting. The mat keeps the viewer from seeing the outside edges of the painting and puts the focus on the center. Sometimes you will see a picture with an oval cutout or perhaps a more complex shape.

Same with illustrator, the "cut out" can be any shape, or several shapes merged together. The mask then blocks the view outside the bounds of the "cut out".

So what is it exactly you are wanting to accomplish with your mask?
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:jeremyjared74
ID: 34935760
I think I understand what you are talking about. When you want to overlay the area, place the overlapping shape over the shape to be merged. Once it is in place hold Ctrl+C, then Ctrl+F to place a copy of it directly over the overlaying shape. Now select the shape below the one you just pasted and the it is being merged with and perform your Add or Subtract Shape. You can now add color to the shape you pasted in place.

Does that make sense?
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LVL 22

Accepted Solution

by:
Sigurdur Armannsson earned 2000 total points
ID: 34937336
If you are working with Illustrator CS5 you might consider to use the seagull whole shape as a basis and draw everything else "into" that shape.

Start with the shape and change to the Draw Into mode by using Shift-D. Or use the icons near the bottom of the toolbar.
Now you can draw other shapes like the gray wing and the colored tail. What you draw out of the shape will not show, just like it has been masked but at the same time gives you much more freedom to draw.
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:catonthecouchproductions
ID: 35069619
Let me try this, I have never used the draw in to mode before. It sounds like exactly what I need
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:catonthecouchproductions
ID: 35076390
I select the shape I want to draw into and the Draw Inside option is disabled. Any ideas?
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LVL 22

Expert Comment

by:Sigurdur Armannsson
ID: 35155299
The Draw Inside is new in CS5.

Make a shape and select Draw Inside while the shape is selected. Then start drawing over the shape.
Does that not work?
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:catonthecouchproductions
ID: 35166329
I got it! this is great
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