Image masking is a crucial technique in graphic design and UI/UX design, allowing designers to create complex visual effects and seamless compositions. In Figma, a leading design tool, image masking is an essential feature that enhances design flexibility and creativity. This article delves into the intricacies of image masking in Figma, covering all related topics comprehensively.

What is Image Masking?

Image masking is the process of hiding or revealing parts of an image. This technique allows designers to create intricate designs by controlling the visibility of specific image areas without altering the original image.

Benefits of Image Masking in Figma

Image masking offers numerous benefits in Figma, such as:

  • Flexibility: Easily edit masked images without altering the original.
  • Creativity: Enhance visual storytelling by integrating complex image compositions.
  • Efficiency: Save time by using non-destructive editing techniques.

How to Perform Image Masking in Figma

Basic Image Masking

To perform basic image masking in Figma, follow these steps:

  1. Select the Image: Choose the image you want to mask.
  2. Add a Shape: Draw a shape (rectangle, circle, or custom) that will define the visible area of the image.
  3. Mask: Select both the image and the shape, right-click, and choose “Use as Mask.”

Advanced Masking Techniques

Using Multiple Shapes

Combining multiple shapes can create complex masks. Here’s how:

  1. Create Shapes: Draw multiple shapes to define different mask areas.
  2. Combine Shapes: Use the “Union Selection” tool to combine shapes into a single mask.
  3. Apply Mask: Select the combined shape and image, then apply the mask.

Using Boolean Operations

Boolean operations allow for more complex masking effects:

  1. Draw Shapes: Create shapes that will form the mask.
  2. Apply Boolean Operations: Use operations like “Subtract,” “Intersect,” and “Exclude” to refine the mask shape.
  3. Mask the Image: Select the final shape and image, then apply the mask.

Best Practices for Image Masking in Figma

Maintain Non-Destructive Workflow

Always keep original images and masks separate to allow for easy adjustments.

Use Vector Shapes

Vector shapes provide flexibility and scalability, ensuring masks remain crisp at any size.

Organize Layers

Properly name and organize layers to maintain a clean and manageable project structure.

Common Use Cases of Image Masking in Figma

Creating Custom Shapes

Image masking allows for creating custom shapes that fit specific design needs, such as unique button designs or avatars.

Enhancing Visual Hierarchy

Masking can highlight essential elements by controlling which parts of an image are visible, improving the overall visual hierarchy.

Designing Complex Interfaces

Image masking simplifies the process of designing intricate interfaces by enabling designers to manipulate images without destroying them.

Troubleshooting Common Issues in Image Masking

Mask Not Applying

Ensure both the image and the mask shape are selected before applying the mask.

Unwanted Areas Visible

Double-check the mask shape to ensure it covers only the desired areas.

Performance Issues

Large or complex masks may slow down performance. Simplify masks or optimize images to improve performance.


What is the difference between masking and cropping?

Masking hides parts of an image without altering it, while cropping permanently removes the unwanted sections.

Can I animate masked images in Figma?

Yes, Figma allows for animating masked images using the prototyping features, creating dynamic and engaging designs.

Is image masking reversible in Figma?

Yes, image masking in Figma is non-destructive, allowing you to modify or remove masks without losing the original image data.


Image masking in Figma is a powerful tool that enhances design capabilities and creativity. By understanding and utilizing the various masking techniques and best practices, designers can create visually stunning and highly functional designs. Whether you are creating custom shapes, enhancing visual hierarchy, or designing complex interfaces, mastering image masking in Figma will undoubtedly elevate your design projects.

This page was last edited on 4 July 2024, at 6:20 pm