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why are some files so heavily masked?

Discussion in 'Flexi' started by gabagoo, May 27, 2010.

  1. gabagoo

    gabagoo Major Contributor

    Oct 10, 2006
    Vaughan, Ontario
    I find the odd file sent to me and its like opening a russian egg. Mask after mask after mask. What is the purpose of a file with multiple masks? I can sit for who knows how long trying to break it down...is it really necessary or is there a simpler way to deal with them?
  2. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

    Sep 11, 2003
    Olympia, WA
    It's just a particular way of working that some designers use who aren't concerned with the different requirements of different types of production or with anyone being able to easily edit what they've setup.

    They can make a job setup more difficult to understand and they can also throw off the size readings in some applications.

    If one is just printing, they usually don't present a problem other than sizing. For vinyl cutting, often the best approach is just to unmask and then delete the masking vectors. In other situations, converting them to a raster image is the easiest solution.
  3. Flame

    Flame Major Contributor

    Apr 26, 2006
    To wrap up what Fred said in 2 words........ dumb designers.
  4. gabagoo

    gabagoo Major Contributor

    Oct 10, 2006
    Vaughan, Ontario
    I agree but I have also found the odd time that while demasking that you can actually lose information and the way that flexi works you cant even tell. What I mean is that when I hit unmask I then get a black box that covers everything in the graphic area and even if I work in wire frame the box is solid black. The only thing you can do is delete it and try and see if anything disapears with it.

    Very annoying!!!
  5. jfiscus

    jfiscus Map Wraster

    Apr 2, 2009
    Cincinnati, OH
    That is an importing / converting issue between applications, created by the software companies to try to keep you from using another manufacuter's product. If it's too clunky / problematic to transition hopefully you'll stick with what you're using already. Or at least that's how I see it.

    I deal with it everyday opening a simple EPS I created in Illustrator in Flexi puts masks onto objects that I assuredly did not put there.
  6. CrabbyOldGuy

    CrabbyOldGuy Member

    Dec 14, 2005
    out behind the barn
    I think this goes way back in Illustrator when most of the designers would just cover up stray marks or objects with white instead of deleting them. All that did for the printers was to add more lines and file size. When was the last time you saw a line of copy or shadows welded together instead of overlapping text? The option is there in an easy to use tool. Do these people not know it is available? I have spent hours trying to correct and weld files from designers who should know the process.
  7. thewood

    thewood Very Active Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Yes, often times the multiple masks are created when Flexi parses files.

    On the flip side, I've also dealt with files where the designer used unnecessary masks as an alternative to proper design technique.
  8. imagep

    imagep Active Member

    Dec 1, 2006
    I really dont know what a mask is for, although I see it done all the time. In 20 years of designing, I have never had an occasion where I have needed a mask in a vector file, not even when using bitmap images in a vector file.
  9. thewood

    thewood Very Active Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    The only times I uses masks in vector-based apps is to either achieve the effect shown below or to make a "soft crop" of a bitmap in case I want to easily undo the "crop".

    Attached Files:

  10. anotherdog

    anotherdog Very Active Member

    Sep 6, 2008
    It is usually a lack of knowledge on the part of the designer. Many designers who send me work are one-trick-ponies; they are only really comfortable in one design program. I have seen a whole 48 page book done in photoshop and someone trying to colour correct scanned images using only illustrator.

    The worst has to be the vector masking of bitmaps. Drives me nuts when it would be so much cleaner with photoshop transparency. It's like a game of Ker-pluk. Pull one mask and the whole show fails...and of course buried in the mess is a spot colour they need to hit.
  11. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

    Dec 27, 2005
    Guam USA
    I think it is a matter of workflow, depending a lot on your source files and intended output.
    Vector masking of images for me are the way to get things done quickly.
    Vector masks are clean, scale well and are easy to edit and update.

    wayne k
    guam usa
    Last edited: May 27, 2010
  12. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

    Apr 17, 2003
    Valle Vista
    Some files, especially some .pdf's will add masks on top of masks, or treat each compound element as a mask and then mask those groups and gradients on each letter... hard to say if this is a designer workflow thing or a crappy .pdf since there is not a whole lot of info to go on.
  13. visualeyez

    visualeyez Member

    Jan 23, 2007
    The worst is when I get a letter sized document .pdf that is somehow over 10 megs, all vector. Opening it in Illy, I find it has hundreds of thousands of paint splatter marks, just clipped off all sides of the document. All for one liitle paint splatter on the darn thing. And of course it's a spot color with transparency settings...
  14. binki

    binki Premium Subscriber

    Jul 23, 2007
    The PRC
    We just went through this with someone. We find that the worst artwork comes from someone who has a product they want to sell and they do their own artwork to save money. Some of them are very creative but as mentioned, they don't understand the requirements for different applications of the artwork.

    BROWNDOG Member

    Oct 1, 2007
    How can i explain to my designer what she is doing or not doing so i dont have to unmask 300 times to cut a simple sign, she's using illi and i'm, cutting from flexi,
    Is there something that she is or isnt doing?