I am trying to recreate a logo in Illustrator that I made in Photoshop. I am not very experienced with Illustrator. In Photoshop, I used masking to mask out the shape of the treble clef and outline the text in the paint blob shape so those areas are actually transparent. Here is my image from Photoshop.

enter image description here

However I'm having trouble achieving the same effect in Illustrator. I have my paint blob, text and treble clef shapes. But I can't figure out how to create the transparent areas. Pathfinding is not working - when I create a compound shape I lose the three separate colours and end up with the entire blob in a single shape and colour.

Any ideas for how to go about this? Also, I can't figure out how to expand the text to get the perfect border like I could in Photoshop (in PS I simply selected the text and used Expand Selection).

Here's a screenshot of what I have in Illustrator. enter image description here

After using pathfinder: enter image description here


1 Answer 1


You need an Opacity Mask in Illustrator. Clipping masks and/or Pathfinder aren't going to work, at least not easily.

Place the shape (type) you want to mask and the object(s) being masked on the same layer.

enter image description here

Select the mask shape and what you want masked:

enter image description here

Click the Make Mask button on the Transparency Panel.

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Everything is going to disappear for a moment.
Click the Clip checkbox on the Transparency Panel and you should see the mask working as expected:

enter image description here

Here, you're done.

You'll notice the mask shape has vanished from the Layers Panel:

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If you want to further edit the mask shape in the future, you need to click the mask thumbnail on the Transparency Panel to edit the mask.

enter image description here

  • Thank you so much Scott! That is amazingly helpful. For the stroke on the text, I actually want that to be transparent as well like the treble clef shape. Any ideas on how to go about that? Commented Mar 18, 2018 at 0:33

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