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Chapter 17. Blends, Masks, and Pen & Ink... > Masking: Filling Objects with Object...

Masking: Filling Objects with Objects

Mask is the term used in graphics software for an object that is used as the boundary for others. You can see other objects inside the mask but not outside it. You can take an object, group of objects, or even a raster image, and put it, or them, inside of a selected path. The path becomes the mask, and the objects inside the mask are the content elements. The mask clips away all portions of the content elements that fall outside of the boundaries of the mask. In addition to opacity masks, which I covered in Chapter 18, there are two other types of masks: Clipping masks are vector-based objects (no images allowed) that can be applied to any number of objects, but only within one layer. Layer masks are clipping masks that are applied to an entire layer. They hide all the objects on that layer and any layers nested within the layer.

The word mask always reminds me of costume parties where you can only see people's faces outside the mask—exactly the opposite of the function in Illustrator. A better image is masking tape. You use the tape to hide a certain area from being painted. Anything inside the boundary of the masking tape is visible; anything outside is not.



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