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I would like to create an effect around the border of an illustration (rectangle) where there is an effect of fading to black.

I've tried feather and outer glow but cannot get it to work; I've used 2 rectangles, the larger one in black in the background and the smaller one white in the foreground and performed a blend, and used multiply in the transparency setting, and still cannot get this to work as I'd like.

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I would simply use a Gradient Mesh.

  • Draw a rectangle
  • Fill with black
  • Grab the Gradient Mesh Tool and click a spot near one of the corners
  • Set the fill to white
  • Click another corner on the same mesh path that was created after clicking the first spot
  • Click a third corner (Still with the gradient mesh tool)
  • Select the last corner mesh anchor that was generated and change it's fill to white.

enter image description here

You can then move or alter the mesh point as desired.

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I've tried a few things in Illustrator to get decent looking vignettes, and often ended up frustrated - this is the method I evolved as a result of that frustration - and it reliably works. I then save it as a graphic style so I can reuse it.

Select your rectangle background, open the appearance pallet, get used to creating multiple fills in one geometric entity... then emulate this and it should work for you.

I used an interior glow with black being the glow colour, and stacked fills with this effect. Each sequential fill layer's inner glow is more intense and smaller than the preceding layer; all are set to multiply blend mode, and this gets us the smoothness in the result we want, as well as giving us the ability to tune the effect with the opacity sliders for each sequential fill layer.

enter image description here

hope this helps.

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