In the Photoshop gradient settings there's an option 'Align with layer', and when you leave it unchecked the effect is that the gradient takes up the whole canvas and you can move your object 'over' the gradient, like in the GIF below. I am wondering how to achieve this effect in Illustrator? Align with layer unchecked

I've tried using the gradient tool and applying it to multiple objects, but so far the gradient just 'sticks' to each one and moving the object doesn't affect the gradient part that is showing. I don't want to be moving the gradient itself.

Thank you!

  • Curious as to what purpose this would serve in Illustrator.
    – Scott
    Commented Dec 3, 2020 at 2:56

1 Answer 1


This is a way to get this in Illustrator. I am not sure if this will work for you without knowing what your use is.

  1. Create Rectangle at artboard size with linear black to white fill and no stroke.
  2. Make Ellipse with white fill and no stroke.
  3. Select both rectangle and ellipse.
  4. In Transparency Panel (Window>Transparency) click the "Make Mask" button. Make sure Clip is checked and Invert is unchecked.
  5. In the Transparency Panel click on the right side square to activate the edit Opacity Mask mode(the one showing the ellipse) and you can move the ellipse around.
  6. In the Transparency Panel click the left side square to return back to work further on the project.

enter image description here

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