Guide to Masking in Adobe Illustrator!

Masking makes everything easier when you’re creating illustrations or logos in Adobe Illustrator. In this video, I will set out a complete guide to masking in Adobe Illustrator CC 2022 so you can learn how to mask in Illustrator. We will talk about the clipping mask in Illustrator, the clipping mask layer in Adobe Illustrator, the Draw Inside feature of Illustrator, and Transparency masks in Illustrator as well.

These are my recording notes used as a loose guide as I worked through this video.

Crop artwork within a shape using a clipping mask.
Show the Arrange function to restack the artwork to get the mask shape up on top of the object to be clipped.
Place the shape on top and select both items and use the clipping mask button in the Properties panel.
Object>Clipping Mask or,
Right-click and create clipping mask or,
Create clipping mask button in Properties panel or,
Hotkey: Cmd/Ctrl + 7
Show how to select that artwork without selecting the mask. You can move the artwork or change the color of the artwork, etc… when you select just the artwork and not the clipping shape.
You can also select and move or transform the clipping mask itself as well by selecting that in the Layers panel.
Clipping mask with multiple shapes need to first be converted to compound paths by selecting all the shapes you want to be part of the clipping mask and go Object>Compound Path>Make and then go ahead and create the clipping mask.
Make a clipping mask with live text as well.
Undo a clipping mask by selecting the clipping group and going Object>Clipping Mask>Release. You can also use the Release clipping mask button in the Properties panel.
Cmd/Ctrl + 7 is the hotkey to create a clipping mask and Cmd/Ctrl + Alt/Opt + 7 releases a clipping mask.
Do a clipping mask within a clipping mask layer. (e.g. Clipped artwork is bigger than the artboard and you can use a clipping mask to trim everything to the artboard.)
Crop a texture within some artwork?
Crop artwork within text (remain editable text with a clipping mask.)
Get rid of a clipping mask by hitting Cmd+Opt+7 or use the Object menu to find the Clipping Mask options in there.
TIP: Draw Inside function with the AI Brush tool. The draw inside function can be toggled at the bottom of the tools panel. NOTE: You need to select the shape which you want to draw inside of. Once the clipping group has been created, find the shape in the Layers panel and manually select it to add more “inside” drawings to that clipping group.
You can also convert an entire layer to a clipping layer. When you do this, the top-most shape in that layer becomes the de facto clipping mask. Then, any artwork or images you add to this Illustrator layer will be clipped into this same shape. This method tends to be easier to use if you know you’ll be drawing and adding all kinds of artwork to your clipping group because Illustrator will add your artwork directly to the selected layer–which in this case is a clipping layer, whereas it does not create artwork directly in a random clipping group in a layer.
EXAMPLE: Add a texture or pattern to a shape or background. (Use a radial gradient to control this, but maybe wait until the transparency masking to talk about this.)

Create the shape you want to use as a mask.
Select the artwork and the shape that will be used as a mask and hit the “Add Mask” button in the Transparency panel.
You can also add your shape (or shapes) to your mask by double-clicking the thumbnail in the Transparency panel and pasting the shape in front. NOTE: The Opacity area of the Properties panel purports to do this same thing, but it just doesn’t seem to work for me. I’m assuming it’s not me because Adobe’s apps never glitch or have issues of any sort.
In this type of transparency mask, Photoshop masking rules apply. Black covers and white reveals. If you fill the whole mask with black, everything will disappear. If it’s white, it’s all visible. If it’s any shade of gray in between it’s more visible if that gray is lighter and it’s less visible if that gray is darker.
Show the Clip button and how it helps by either hiding everything, or by keeping everything visible and only hiding the bits you are masking away or fading.
EXAMPLE: Create a reflection or fade of an object.

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