I need to create a circular selection of a vector. If I would use Photoshop I would create a circular selection using the marquee tools (M) and then I would crop the image to that selection, invert my selection and remove the non-circular stuff. This is depicted in the gif below. However, how can I achieve the same result in Illustrator?

enter image description here

2 Answers 2

  • Draw a circle above the shape.
  • Select the circle and the shape below it.
  • Choose Object > Clipping Mask > Make from the menu.

enter image description here

You can learn more about Illustrator clipping masks by reviewing the Adobe Illustrator Help Files.

  • Thanks! And "Crop" in the pathfinder will remove the remaining "noise".
    – Kalaschnik
    Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 9:20
  • Yes, if you wish to work destructively, crop is one way to then trim objects to the clipping mask.
    – Scott
    Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 9:26

There are several ways this could be done.

First draw a circle above the vector, and select both the circle and vector

Then do one of the following:

  • Open the Pathfinder, and hit "Intersect". This is a boolean operation which will phyiscally cut the graphic where the circle overlaps it, and delete the parts outside the circle.
  • Use the ShapeBuilder tool, and click on the head, then hold down Alt and click on the other pieces to delete them. Essentially the result is a cut shape.
  • Do Object > Clipping Mask > Make. This makes a clipping path, and is non-destrutive. The original graphic is not cut.
  • Ensure the circle is filled white with no stroke, then open the Appearance panel, double click on Opacity, and click Make Mask. This creates an opacity mask, which like a clipping mask is also non-destructive.
  • Ensure the circle has no fill and stroke. Select the Shaper Tool, and draw a squiggly line over the parts outside the circle. This is also creates a non-destructive edit, called a Shaper Group.

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