Masking is the process of placing one item inside another, so that the masked item is only visible where it overlaps the masking item. Masking causes a lot of confusion, so let’s look at a few examples at what this subtle and powerful tool can do.
The basic process works like this:
- Load the first item, the one you want to be 100% visible. For instance, you might add a nice button-down shirt.
- Load the second item, the one you want to be masked into the first one such that only the parts of it that overlap are visible. For instance, you might add a lightning bolt from Insignia-Standard. Position, scale, rotate, and otherwise place the second item where you want it to appear on the first one.
- Click on the second item (in our example, the lightning bolt insignia) to make it the current, active item.
- Under the Transform tab, click the Mask button. Your cursor turns into a little mask icon because super-heroes. I blame Robin — be glad it’s not scaled hot-pants.
- Click on the original item (in our example, the shirt). You’re telling the program “Hey, I want to place the active item into this other item that I’m clicking on.”
Voila! You have masked one item onto another one. Like this:
Note that once it’s masked, you can drag, rotate, or otherwise transform the masked item (the lightning bolt) around and it stays masked, only being visible where it overlaps the masking item (the shirt):
Using this same basic approach — load the base item, load the second item, click mask, click the base item — you can place items in your character’s hands, apply a flag from Backgrounds to a banner or shirt, make a belt fit a non-Standard body, and much, much more. It opens up a staggering array of possibilities to take your portrait from a paper doll to a true illustration.