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How to Make a Clipping Path in Illustrator 2022 [Video Tutorial]

Adobe Illustrator makes it easy to show or hide individual sections of an image without deleting objectsIllustrator allows you to go back and tweak the photo at any point in the creative process. To do this, you’ll need to know how to make a clipping path in Illustrator. So that you can have total control over your work. Whether you need the flexibility to make edits based on the whims of an unpredictable client. Or want a fail-safe option to change your job, clipping paths are a handy tool.

What is a clipping path, and how does it affect your project? Let’s say you have a simple black-and-white path in the shape of a crescent moon. Currently, your project’s main layer is a cool floral wallpaper, which fills the entire background in a square shape. But, you want to apply the moon-shaped path to the wallpaper like a cookie cutter so that you end up with a floral moon. Illustrator is made possible with clipping paths.

How to Make a Clipping Path in Illustrator


Below, we’ve shared how to make a clipping path in Illustrator, using any path and layer that you like.
  1. First, launch an Illustrator project and select the layer that you want to edit. For our hypothetical example, we’ll continue with the floral wallpaper and crescent moon project
  2. The floral wallpaper should be your background layer, and the crescent moon can be a separate black-and-white image, or you can draw it by yourselfEither way, your moon shape needs to be placed in its layer, and it needs to be located above the floral wallpaper in the Layers
  3. Now, you’re going to use the moon shape to create a clipping path. Click on the “Make/Release Clipping Mask” button at the bottom of the Layers palette (the icon looks like a tiny rectangle and circle)Illustrator will cut a moon-shaped path into your floral wallpaper layer, leaving the rest of the canvas blank
  4. The beauty of this approach is that you can change it whenever you like! For example, you can adjust your moon path’s position, and it will still clip the background layer. If you drew the moon, it’s also possible to photoshop the shape itself by tweaking the control points. Finally, if you want to undo the clipping path, select the path layer in the Layers palette, and click the “Make/Release Clipping Mask” button again
Picture of Michael S. Carey

Michael S. Carey

With over 15 years experience as a graphic designer, Michael is passionate about helping people enhance their content by mastering image manipulation software. Michael has worked with a variety of educational publishers in the U.S. and U.K.

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Clipping Path Specialists is a team of more than 300 image-editing experts and graphic designers who provide high quality Clipping path, Background removal, Advanced Photoshop mask, Shadow effect, Retouching/Airbrushing, Image optimization for E-commerce, Raster to vector conversion and other Photoshop services.

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