I have some paragraph text that I have modified using an envelope in Illustrator CS6. I can not make it into a clipping mask. I can make it into a mask up until I make it an envelope, after that, I cannot make it a clipping mask.

Here's what I am trying to do, and maybe someone knows a simpler way to do it. I am trying to halftone some pictures using small text instead of a halftone screen in Photoshop CS6. It looked like creating a clipping mask from the text overlaying the picture in Illustrator was the easiest way, but it won't work after I select 'envelope'. Any ideas? Thanks!!

2 Answers 2


Try Object > Expand with your warped text selected. If it's still live, editable text, convert it to outlines first.

Then, you'll be able to copy it and paste into Photoshop as a Shape Layer, which can be used as a clipping mask.

If this is totally off the mark, add a couple of screenshots to help us understand your process.

  • Thanks for the quick reply. I have tried both of what you suggest, but never copied it into Photoshop, only viewed it in Illustrator. In Illustrator the results were unsatisfactory, one way was not viewable, and the other outlined the text as it was before being modified by the envelope. Do you think copying it into Photoshop would have a good result, despite the way it appears in Illustrator? Apr 1, 2015 at 15:52
  • You'll have to get the appearance right in Illustrator first, but I'd recommend doing the steps in this order: 1. Paste in your paragraph text 2. Create Outlines 3. Envelope, mesh distort, etc. 4. Object > Expand 5. Copy and paste into photoshop as Shape Layer 6. Place image into the shape (clipping mask)
    – Suki
    Apr 1, 2015 at 15:58
  • Thanks for the quick reply Suki. I'm not sure what you mean in step 2. The reason for the envelope is my outlines are horizontal, not vertical. I need to warp the text horizontally. The other method I'm thinking about, but haven't tried yet, is to use the threading text. Have you any experience with this, and would you know what is the maximum number of path's Illustrator cs6 can thread successfully in a reasonable amount of time on an i7 laptop? Apr 1, 2015 at 16:20
  • @JonathanHemlock I'm not sure of the tech specs of an i7, but can you include a screenshot of your Illustrator doc?
    – Suki
    Apr 1, 2015 at 16:22
  • this is my first post on stackexchange, I signed up after hours of researching this problem on the web. I'm sorry to be such a noob, but can you tell me how to insert a screenshot here? No rush though, it is 2:30am and I am calling it a night now. I thought a response to this question would take days, not minutes. Thanks!! Apr 1, 2015 at 16:30

Really old question I know.....

Rather than making a Clipping Mask in Illustrator... make an Opacity Mask.

Edit your text, including the envelope, then place the text of the image you want to mask.

Select both the text and the image, and on the Transparency Panel (Window > Transparency) click the Make Mask button.

You might also need to tick the Invert or Clip options on the Transparency Panel - these somewhat depend upon the mask and artwork.

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