Alright, so I'm about to rip my hair out. I'm a Photoshop guy who occasionally vectorizes stuff into Illustrator CS4 by exporting work paths. Usually it works fine, but it's been a few years since I've done this and I cannot for the life of me figure out how to apply an opacity mask to an area of a layer so that it is transparent through all objects of the layer down to the background.
Basically, I created an image with text in Photoshop. I exported work paths to illustrator and colored/filled in all the objects. I need to cut out certain parts of the image so that they're transparent through to the background so that when the image is printed up on a shirt, fabric shows through rather than ink. This sounds like a stupid question, and it probably is, but I just can't get it to work.
I've gone through all the steps of creating an opacity mask, but every time I make the object transparent, I just get a white fill from an underlying object. It will not cut through to the transparent background. I need to get this object to cut through all layers. I'll admit that a huge part of the problem is my inability to adapt to an "Illustrator" way of thinking, so this is undoubtedly easy but I just can't get my brain wrapped around a solution. Can anyone help?
Well, in case anyone else is looking for an answer to a similar question, here's the brute force technique I ended up using:
I took note of all objects involved in the "D" above (a total of 4 objects, including the one I wanted to cut). I layered them directly one on top of the other. I then copied the object I wanted cut out (CUT), and pasted it twice in the same spot. I then layered each of these object copies individually over every object below it as pairs. Then, as pairs, I went through and selected the CUT and used the "Minus Front" tool in the Pathfinder box to subtract the CUT from each underlying object. I did it a total of 3 times before I had cut through all layered objects underneath to create the desired transparent effect.
I replicated it for every object I needed to cut in the design.
Now I know there's got to be a simpler way of doin this, but this worked and I was able to submit for final print.
Hope this helps someone in the future!
there is a simpler way:
for source reference, see this link