How To Mask In Ai

Masking is a method employed in Adobe Illustrator (AI) for crafting distinct and personalized designs. It enables you to conceal or expose specific sections of your artwork, offering enhanced control over the end result. This article will walk you through the steps of masking in AI.


Before diving into the steps of masking, it’s important to understand what a mask is and how it works in AI. A mask is a layer that covers or hides certain parts of your artwork. It acts like a filter, allowing you to selectively show or hide specific areas based on the shape of the mask.

Step 1: Create Your Artwork

To begin masking in AI, start by creating your artwork. This can include any shapes, images, or text that you want to work with. Make sure to create each element on a separate layer for easier manipulation.

Step 2: Create the Mask

Once you have your artwork ready, it’s time to create the mask. To do this, select the shape or image that you want to use as the mask. Then, go to the “Path” menu and choose “Clipping Mask” or “Compound Path.” This will automatically create a new layer above your selected artwork, which will act as the mask.

Step 3: Adjust the Mask

After creating the mask, you can adjust its shape and position to control what is revealed or hidden. To do this, select the mask layer and use the selection tools (such as the ellipse tool or rectangle tool) to modify its shape. You can also move it around using the selection arrow.

Step 4: Apply the Mask

Once you have adjusted the mask to your liking, it’s time to apply it to your artwork. To do this, select the layer that you want to mask and go to the “Path” menu. Choose “Clipping Mask” or “Compound Path” again, depending on whether you want the mask to clip or compound with the selected layer.

Step 5: Preview and Edit

After applying the mask, you can preview your artwork to see how it looks. If you need to make any further adjustments, simply select the mask layer and modify its shape or position as needed.


Masking in AI is a powerful tool that allows you to create unique and custom designs. By following these steps, you can easily master the art of masking and take your illustrations to the next level. Remember to experiment with different shapes and positions to achieve the desired effect.