Spatial-frequency masking was studied with briefly pulsed (25 ms) vertical gratings. The mask was noise grating, and the test pattern was a sinusoidal grating. A low-frequency band of noise masked a low- but not high-spatial-frequency test grating when the patterns were presented simultaneously. A high-frequency band of noise did not mask a low-frequency test grating when the patterns were presented simultaneously or when the mask was presented after the test pattern (backward masking). Masking was, however, observed when the mask or test pattern was of sufficiently high contrast so that the stimuli had nonlinear distortion and thus produced DC shifts of the fluid luminance.