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Adding Images and Text

Chapter Description

In this sample chapter from Adobe XD CC Classroom in a Book (2019 Release), author Brian Wood explains how to bring raster images into, and add text to, your app design.

Masking content

You can easily hide portions of images or shapes (paths) using two different methods of masking in Adobe XD: mask with shape or image fill. Masks are nondestructive, which means that nothing that is hidden by the mask is deleted. In either case, you can adjust the mask, if required, to highlight another portion of the masked content.

Masking with a shape or path

The first method for masking you will learn is masking with a shape. This method of masking (hiding) portions of artwork or images is similar to masking in a program like Illustrator. The mask is either a closed path (shape) or an open path (like a path in the shape of an “s,” for instance). To mask content, the masking object is on top of the object to be masked. Next, you’ll mask a portion of artwork.

  1. Click in the gray pasteboard area to deselect all.

  2. In the Layers panel on the left, double-click the artboard icon (artboard_icon.jpg) to the left of the Recording artboard to select it and zoom in to it.

  3. Click to select the map illustration artwork so you can see all of it.

  1. Select the Rectangle tool (rectangle_tool.jpg) in the toolbar. Starting at the top edge of the artwork on the left edge of the artboard, drag down and to the right corner of the artboard.

  2. Press the V key to select the Select tool.

  3. With the shape still selected, in the Layers panel, Shift-click the Path and Group objects to select the map artwork behind the shape.

  4. Choose Object > Mask With Shape (macOS) or right-click and choose Mask With Shape from the menu that appears (Windows).


    With the Layers panel open and the image still selected on the artboard, you’ll see Mask Group 1 in the Layers panel list. The mask shape and the object that is masked are now part of a group.

Editing a mask

When you mask content, you may later want to crop it in a different way, revealing more or less of that content. When you mask with a shape, as you did in the previous section, you can easily edit both the mask and the object masked. Next, you’ll change how the content from the previous section is masked.

  1. With the Select tool (sp_selectiontool_lg_n.jpg) selected and the image still selected, double-click the map artwork to enter mask editing mode. The mask (rectangle) will be selected.


    Double-clicking a masked object will temporarily show the mask and the masked object (the map artwork, in this instance) in the window. That way, you can edit either the mask or the object that is masked.

  1. Click the Different Radius For Each Corner button (different_radius.jpg) in the Property Inspector on the right. Change the first two values to 15, pressing Return or Enter after typing in the second value. Leave the last two values at 0.

    The top two corners of the mask are now slightly rounded. If you wanted to edit the mask shape further, you could double-click the edge of the mask and enter Path Editing mode to edit the anchor points.

  2. In the Layers panel, click the Mask Group 1 icon (mask-group.jpg) to reveal the content of the mask group, if you don’t already see it. Click the “path” object and then Shift-click the “group” object to select both. To keep them together, you will now group them. Right-click one of the selected objects in the Layers panel list and choose Group to group them.

  1. Option+Shift-drag (macOS) or Alt+Shift-drag (Windows) the lower-right handle of the map artwork down a little to make it larger.

    You could transform the masked content in different ways, or you could select the shape that is the mask (the rectangle, in this case) and reposition or resize it. You can also copy and paste other content into the mask.

  2. Drag the selected artwork into the center of the artboard. Make sure that it fills the mask shape and covers the lower corners of the artboard.

  3. Press the Esc key to exit the mask editing mode. The map artwork is once again masked.

  1. Press Command+0 (macOS) or Ctrl+0 (Windows) to see everything.

  2. Click in a blank area away from the artboards to deselect the masked content.

  3. Choose File > Save (macOS) or click the menu icon (menu_icon.jpg) in the upper-left corner of the application window and choose Save (Windows).

Masking with an image fill

Another method for masking is to drag and drop an image into an existing shape or path. The image becomes the fill of the shape. This method of masking is great when adding design content to a low-fidelity wireframe, for instance. Next, you’ll import a new image for a profile picture and mask it with a shape.

  1. Double-click the artboard icon (artboard_icon.jpg) to the left of the artboard name “Journal” in the Layers panel to fit the artboard in the document window.

  1. Select the Ellipse tool (ellipse_tool.jpg) in the toolbar. Shift-drag on the Journal artboard to create a circle. Release the mouse button and then the key when you see a width and height of approximately 144 in the Property Inspector. As you drag, you’ll notice that the Width and Height values change by 8 because the circle is snapping to the square grid.

  1. Go to the Finder (macOS) or File Explorer (Windows), open the Lessons > Lesson04 > images folder, and leave the folder open. Go back to XD. With XD and the folder showing, find the image named meng.png in the folder, and drag the image on top of the circle you drew in the Journal artboard. When the circle is highlighted in blue, release the mouse button to drop the image into the frame.

    By dragging an image onto a shape, the image becomes the fill of the shape.

Editing an image fill mask

Dropping an image into a shape so that it becomes the fill of the shape means the image is always centered in the shape. Next, you’ll explore the editing capabilities of this type of mask.

  1. With the Select tool (sp_selectiontool_lg_n.jpg) selected, double-click the image to enter Path Edit mode. The image will be selected.

  2. Drag a corner of the image to make it larger. Then, drag the image so that more of her face is in the circle.

  3. Press the Esc key to stop editing the image within the circle.

  4. Deselect the Border option in the Property Inspector to turn it off.

  5. With the masked image still selected, Shift-drag a corner of the bounding box to make the image smaller. When Width and Height are 80 in the Property Inspector, release the mouse button and then the key.

    The image will remain centered in the shape and resizes proportionally to fill the shape. Unlike images you place, the Lock Aspect option (locked_aspect.jpg) is not selected for masked content by default. That’s why you held the Shift key down when resizing it.

  1. Drag the image into position, as you see in the figure.

  2. Choose File > Save (macOS) or click the menu icon (menu_icon.jpg) in the upper-left corner of the application window and choose Save (Windows).

5. Working with text | Next Section Previous Section

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