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I'm using Adobe Illustrator CS4. I have a drawn vector image that is behind a layer with a stroked ellipse like this:

alt text

However I need just one part of the image to appaer in front of the stroke. In this image I need the paw on the right to be in front of the stroke but I need the other leg to be covered by the stroke as it is above:

enter image description here

I'm guessing I need to somehow make a copy of just the paw and place it on a layer above the layer with the stroke in order to achieve this effect however I don't know how to do that in Illustrator. Any help would be appreciated.

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3 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I had a similar issue recently (trying to Photoshop someone into a scene!)

After looking around for ages, I was told that it was due to "Layer Masking", I am trying to find the article that helped me, (It was for Photoshop) but until I do, I just had a quick look for Illustrator and found this page -

This should help you, but I will try to look for a better answer and edit this if I find a more specific one.

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Thank you! This is exactly what I was looking for. I made a copy of the vector drawing in another layer and then following the directions in the article used a clipping mask to isolate just the paw in the top layer. –  Dave Forgac Sep 5 '09 at 3:39
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Split the image into 2 layers. One layer above the orange, one below it. As long as you don't move the paw around, the 2 layers will lineup and it'll still look fine.

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You could make the paw a separate object on a layer above the circle or alternatively you could use a clipping mask.

I would recommend using a clipping mask because it is 'non-destructive' in the sense that you can still move around your pieces without having to butcher any of your shapes.

  1. Make your Orange punched-out circle shape.

  2. Make your paw (and the animal attached to it) and position it above the circle (the whole thing will be popping out, but don't worry.)

  3. Make a new shape that encompasses the paw/animal (the shape is unimportant for now - just make a big green blob or something)

  4. Highlight the blob and the shape together and choose Object > Clipping Mask > Make (shortcut is cmd 7) The blob will become an invisible Clipping Mask which will only let the objects grouped with it to show up underneath wherever the blob goes.

  5. Now in the layers menu expand your layer with the dropdown arrow so you can see all the shapes. The new "clipping mask" you just made will be a group. Expand that group. Highlight the clipping mask inside the layer menu by clicking the circle to the right of the label "Clipping Mask."

  6. Now use your tablet (or mouse) skills and reshape the 'blob' to cover up the part of the animal that you don't wish to show.

Clipping masks are a complex subject, but I use them for stuff like this all the time. Even a cursory glance through the Clipping Mask help in Illustrator should be able to fill in any of the gaps. Good luck!

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thanks for the detailed procedure. welcome to Super User. :) –  quack quixote May 13 '10 at 7:38
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