Layer Mask

Layer Mask is an advanced feature of Artboard that must be enabled in Preferences. Masking objects on a layer is a purely visual, non-destructive way to hide parts of the current layer’s content.

Enable Layer Masking

Layer mask commands are an advanced feature that must be enabled in Preferences.

  1. Open ‘Artboard > Preferences… Advanced’ in the main menu.
  2. Check ‘Enable Layer Mask commands’. Mask commands are now available in ‘Layers > Mask’ in the main menu.

1. Draw The Objects to be Masked

Layer Mask works by first having objects that will be masked out by the Layer Mask. On a single layer, draw your background objects to be masked.

2. Draw the Shape(s) that will be the Mask

Draw one or more shape objects to be used as the mask.

3. Add the Shape to the Layer Mask

  1. With the masking object(s) selected, choose ‘Layer > Mask > Add To Layer Mask’ from the main menu.
  2. The masked area is initially displayed with a semi-transparent checked-pattern, hiding the drawing objects underneath. The original masking object(s) is not automatically removed from the drawing. Move or delete the masking object(s) as desired.

4. Hide Layer Mask

When you are satisfied with the layout of the mask, choose ‘Layer > Mask > Hide (or Show) Layer Mask’ to visually hide (or show) the checkered mask area.

To Subtract Areas From an Existing Layer Mask

  1. Select the layer with the mask you want to subtract from in the Layers panel.
  2. Draw a shape(s) to subtract from the existing mask area (it should overlap the existing mask area).
  3. With the masking object(s) selected, choose ‘Layer > Mask > Subtract from Layer Mask’ from the main menu.

A Note on Using Text and Paths in Layer Mask

  • Convert text before adding to layer mask by selecting the text and choosing ‘Graphic > Convert To Path or Graphic > Convert To Shape’.
  • Outline paths before adding to layer mask by selecting the path(s)and choosing ‘Edit > Path > Outline’.

To Add Additional Shapes to the Layer Mask

  1. Select the layer with the mask you want to add to in the Layers panel.
  2. Draw another shape to add to the existing mask area.
  3. With the masking object(s) selected, choose ‘Layer > Mask > Add To Layer Mask’ from the main menu.

To Temporarily Disable (or Enable) a Layer Mask

  1. Select the layer with the mask you want to temporarily disable (or enable) in the Layers panel.
  2. Choose ‘Layer > Mask > Disable (or Enable) Layer Mask’ in the main menu.

To Clear a Mask from a Layer

  1. Select the layer with the mask you want to remove in the Layers panel.
  2. Choose ‘Layer > Mask > Clear Mask’ from the main menu.