You can make a basic single-clipping mask in Adobe Illustrator by placing a clipping path object over a background image or object, so that only the background within the borders of the clipping path are visible. The top clipping path must be a vector object and cannot be a photo. Clipped objects have to be placed in the same group or layer, and you can only use one clipping path to clip one or more objects. You can make multiple clipping masks in a similar fashion using the Compound Path command under the Object drop menu.
- Start the clipping mask process
From the drop down menu, select Object, followed by Clipping Mask and then Make. You can also use several shortcuts by pressing Command and 7 on your keyboard, clicking Make/Release Clipping Mask on the Layer Panel or highlighting all objects and right-clicking to select Make Clipping Mask.
- Arrange the objects
Move and align the clipping path object over the desired area of the background image.
- Make the mask
When you have everything aligned to your liking, click on the drop menu Object, then select Clipping Mask, followed by Make. Everything outside of the clipping path disappears into a plain white background. To release the mask for further editing or adjustments, click Object, followed by Clipping Mask, then Edit/Release. You can save your project or add more objects or layers.