Masking Images Made Easier

In previous versions of Illustrator, if you wanted to crop a photo, it wasn’t very easy. You had to draw a rectangle on top of the image, select the image and the rectangle, and go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make. The image below would be cropped (masked) to the size and position of the rectangle. In Illustrator CS3, I stumbled upon a new cropping feature that for some reason, I could not find mentioned in Illustrator Help (Help > Illustrator Help). When you select any pixel image, a Mask button magically appears in the Control panel. If you click on this button, a mask is created, which can be easily adjusted by clicking-and-dragging bounding box points in or out to crop the picture. If you decide to re-crop, select the Mask with the Group Selection tool or the Direct Selection tool, then Switch to the Selection tool. Using the Bounding Box Points you can easily re-crop the picture. Finally, there’s a Mask in Illustrator that almost feels like a Frame.

Tip provided by Jeff Witchel, Certified Adobe® Training Provider.