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I'm really more of a Photoshop person--so I know exactly how to do this technique in Photoshop but can't for the life of me figure it out in Illustrator!

Here's what I'm trying to do.

I have multiple paths that form a compass design. I have now drawn a rectangular shape over the compass and would like to use a "soft light" blending mode on it so that it can give the appearance of highlights on the compass below.

This is my problem: the soft light layer needs to act like a clipping mask; It should only be applying "soft light" to the compass. I can't figure out how to do that.

Let me know if any additional clarification would help. Thanks!

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

It's still a clipping mask. It's simply created in a different way with Illustrator.

Select the shape of your compass - the outer shape.

Edit > Copy - Command/Ctrl + C

Select > Deselect - Command/Ctrl + Shift + A

Edit > Paste in Front - Command/CTRL + Shift + F
(This pastes the shape on top of everything since nothing is selected)

Select the newly pasted shape and the soft light shape.

Object > Clipping Mask > Make - Command/Ctrl + 7

If you don't have one shape which defines the compass, you may need to duplicate the compass and utilize a few Pathfinder commands to get a single shape. Or use the Offset Path feature to create a shape then expand appearance.

The basics... with multiple shapes selected the top most shape in the object stack is used as the masking shape. Therefore when you create a clipping mask whatever shape is on top, will "clip" everything selected below it.

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Thanks! That was very helpful. –  Pete Feb 13 '13 at 19:33
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