by Jason Mayo : 4 July 2004

What is masking? Masking is a simple way to reveal parts of a layer below. This tutorial will take you through many types of masking from static masking where a image is shown through a non moving mask, animated masks where the mask moves to reveal bits of the image, and a special blurred edge mask.

Static Masks
The following is an example of how a static mask looks:

Here's how to create it:

  1. Open up flash and create a new flash document

  2. On the timeline there is a layer named "Layer 1", place an image on this layer. Ok now you need to create a new layer above layer 1.

  3. Once the new layer has been created, select it and goto Modify > Timeline > Layer properties and select 'Mask' as the type and press ok.

[ the layer properties dialog box ]

  1. Go back to the bottom layer (Layer 1) and goto Modify > Timeline > Layer properties and select 'Masked' as the layer type and press ok. Now you have two layers, the top layer is the 'Mask' where the actual masking will take place, and the bottom layer is the 'masked' layer where the image is.

[ select the option for masked ]

If you have two layers on your timeline, right click on the first layer and select Mask. You will find that the second layer automatically becomes masked. If you have more than two layers, only the layer that acts as the mask and the layer below it will be masked. You will need to repeat Step IV for masking other layers.
  1. Ok, now create a shape such as a rectangle or an oval on the 'Mask' layer (top layer) It doesn't matter what colour or what outline colour is given to the shape
    because the shape will be the part where the image below will show through; anything that is not the shape will be blanked off.

[ the shapes ]

  1.  Now test your mask by pressing Ctrl + Enter or by locking both layers.



A nice trick is to use text for the mask. To do this, create some text on the top layer and preview it. Now it should have the image inside the text.

There is more to masks than what has been covered here. The next page will cover Animated and Blurred Edge masks.



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