I have lot of objects which are bounded by opacity mask.

I need to get rid of my opacity mask, clipping each object where it intersects with my mask. It is a lot of hassles to do it manually.

Is there some other easy way? Some automatic clip of all objects?

  • Object -> Expand is not working with opacity masks. And looks like not trim object with clipping mask as well. Solution is not found yet. Please remove the dublicate mark, question are different.
    – Vnovak
    Jun 1, 2014 at 11:48
  • 1
    Reopened.. but you can't trim or clip opacity masks. Opacity masks other than the flatten the objects.
    – Scott
    Jun 1, 2014 at 14:15
  • Ok, btw, in CC I can't even "expand" usual clipping mask (Ctrl+7). Is this version sensitive?
    – Vnovak
    Jun 1, 2014 at 16:32
  • 1
    Release the opacity mask, make a copy of it, trim the underlying objects with the pathfinder, reapply the opacity mask Jun 11, 2014 at 17:39
  • 1
    Generally opacity masks are used with gradient fills. Does yours? Or is it a solid white/grey/black? If it's solid, are you familiar with 'regular' clipping masks?
    – MG_
    Aug 8, 2014 at 8:00

3 Answers 3


Building on what GoofyMonkey suggests:

  1. Release the opacity mask. Cut it.

  2. Group the underlying objects or combine then using the pathfinder tool that unites areas.

  3. Paste the object that was formerly the opacity mask back into the composition. Use Paste in Front to ensure it's on top of your other objects and in the same position.

  4. Use the pathfinder on the 2 objects (the single group of 280 objects + the former opacity mask).


If anyone's still looking, I think I found a solution.

  1. Release your opacity mask.
  2. Select the mask shape, Copy it to your clipboard, then delete it.
  3. Draw a rectangle around ALL of the other objects that you want to be removed/trimmed. Color this larger rectangle some other color so you can see it clearly.
  4. Ctrl/Cmd+F to Paste in Place the original mask shape on top of this new larger shape.
  5. Select the newly-pasted mask shape and the large rectangle behind it.
  6. In the Pathfinder palette, click "Divide".
  7. Using the Direct Selection Tool (keyboard shortcut "A"), delete the inner shapes (the shapes of the mask that have been cut out from the larger rectangle).
  8. Once the opacity mask's shape has been removed from the larger rectangle (leaving an opacity mask-shaped hole in it), select the larger rectangle and the objects beneath it.
  9. In the Pathfinder palette, click "Merge".
  10. Using the Direct Selection Tool, select the larger rectangle shape and delete it. This should leave the objects beneath in the shape of the original opacity mask.
  11. To clean it up even further, enter Outline Preview (Ctrl/Cmd+Y) and select one of the 'ghost' outlines of the opacity mask. It should have a Fill and Stroke of 'null' (the white with the red slash through it). With that selected, go to Select (in the top menu) -> Same -> Fill & Stroke. With all the 'ghost' lines selected, click Delete.

I just answered this related question here https://graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/a/38300/22703

They wanted to 'crop' (or minus front using pathfinder) multiple objects at once.

Below is my example of 3 ways to 'crop' objects.

3 ways to 'crop'

  • Not with opacity masks.
    – Scott
    Sep 7, 2014 at 15:24
  • Stated above @Vnovak says "I need to get rid of my opacity mask" - It sounds like they just want to clip many objects at once. So my solution should still work if an opacity mask is not needed. Perhaps the question or title needs clarification. Sep 7, 2014 at 16:24
  • Please explore your method with an opacity mask. Pathfinder will not work. As @CharlesB mentions in his answer, the opacity mask needs to be released, then reapplied. You can't simply use pathfinder on opacity masks.
    – Scott
    Sep 7, 2014 at 17:16

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