Changing Object's Shape

Using a Clipping Mask

About Clipping Masks

A clipping mask is an object whose outline masks another object. You can treat such a mask as an infinite surface with a hole defined by the clipping path through which you can see a masked object.

You might be familiar with the crop tool that is present in any photo editing software. A rectangular clipping mask can do the same. But it is much more flexible. It can have any other shape. It can also be applied to multiple separate objects. In addition to that, you can still edit the mask and masked objects after the mask has been applied.

Image before applying a clipping mask.
Image after applying a clipping mask.

Use Clipping Mask to Hide Parts of Objects

To apply a clipping mask to an object:

  1. Create a vector object that will be used as a clipping mask.
    Only the shape of its path matters.
  2. Place the clipping path over the object you want to mask.
  3. Select Modify > Make Clipping Mask command in the main menu.

The result is a ClipGroup object that includes the clipping path and masked object.

Layers panel with a Clip Group

Only vector object can be used as a clipping path. If you try to create a clipping mask out of a raster image, the rectangular boundary of this image will be used to create a clipping path.

You can mask any artwork.

A clipping mask has no fill nor stroke. It doesn't retain any style the original object could have.

Edit a Clipping Mask

To edit a clipping mask, you can modify the clipping path using vector editing tools.

In order to outline the visible part of the masked object, apply a stroke to the clipping path.

Edit a Masked Object

In order to edit a masked object, select it in the Layers panel. You should expand the ClipGroup to access the object.

Then you can modify the masked object using regular methods and tools.

Release Objects from a Clipping Mask

To release objects form a clipping mask, select the respective ClipGroup in the Layers panel or on the canvas. Then choose Modify > Release Clipping Mask from the main menu.

Notice that the clipping mask will turn into an invisible object because it had no stroke nor fill.