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Good day, just as the header question stated. I have multiple layers of shadows that has to overlap seamlessly together. I can manually go and try to make sure that these shadows connect seamlessly but it would be a tedious job to draw all of them to make sure that these shadows do not overlap. Their opacity is set to 15% at the moment and I have quite a bit of vectors that I need to make sure fit together at any given time.

Is there a way to get around this issue? If this question needs some more info, please let me know. Thanks in advance!

An image to illustrate it a bit better:

enter image description here

EDIT:

I forgot to mention that these layers need to stay separate at all times. These will be used for an NFT project that will be exported as PNG files and then added randomly to each other to create a JPG file. I'm guessing that this wont be possible at all.

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  • Hi. Welcome to GDSE. Can't you select all the shapes that make up the shadows, and do Unite in the Pathfinder?
    – Billy Kerr
    Oct 2 at 19:25
  • Hi Billy, thanks for you comment. Please have a look at my edit. Thank you. Oct 2 at 19:50
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    Then could you make your shadows a solid light grey, and not semi-transparent? I think you are running out of options here to be honest.
    – Billy Kerr
    Oct 2 at 19:57
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.... remove all opacity for the shadows and use tints of colors instead.

This does, however, mean that if any "shadow" passes over multiple objects, you'll need to split the shadow into several pieces, using several tints. Essentially you need to "flatten" the artwork so it can lie on top of itself and not create buildups. Transparency is not your friend here based upon your stated usage needs.

enter image description here

It's a more cumbersome construction, but as I read the question, you have a more cumbersome usage desire. With tints you won't need to be concerned with aligning any shadows or the buildup associated with using opacity.

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  • Thanks for your answer! I should really add more detail to my question next time... So the reason why I use opacity is because the background of the item that the shadow is on will change to several random colors. So using a tint won't look to great on some lighter or darker backgrounds. The opacity helps here as some of that background color will come through. Looks like I will have to go with making sure the shadows do not overlap. Thanks again for your input! Oct 2 at 20:15
  • @CareTaker22 as I posted, I realize it's a more cumbersome construction. It will take more work. However, in my experience, practically all "shadowing" is achievable in AI without transparency. It may not be the answer you want to hear, but it's the solution. Opacity is not your friend if you need to avoid buildup and keep objects on separate layers.
    – Scott
    Oct 2 at 20:18
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Activate the Knockout Group feature in the Transparency Panel.

When activated, the shadow objects in the target group won't blend with each other and display darker where they overlap. This is exactly what you are trying to achieve.

Knockout Group option in the Transparency Panel

To apply the Knockout Group feature:

  1. Select your shadow Objects and Group them (type [Ctrl]+[G] or [Cmd]+[G] on a Mac);

  2. Open the Layers Panel and Target the new Group; Be sure you target the Group itself and not any of the individual objects in the group. Otherwise this won't work.

  3. Open the Transparency Panel and click the Knockout Group checkbox until it's fully "on" (checkmark is displayed). If the checkbox is blank or has a dash ("-") then it's not activated.

You can also do this to a Layer if a Group isn't ideal for your layout. For more info check out the Illustrator User Guide at https://helpx.adobe.com/illustrator/using/transparency-blending-modes.html

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    +1 very good. I question if the knockouts would be held during single layer export to PNG though - that's the "kicker". Knockouts generally need to see what to knockout. With single layer exports that data would not be present.
    – Scott
    Oct 3 at 21:34
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Select one of the "Shadow" Objects

Go to Select> Same> Opacity

this should select all your shadows (assuming you have no other objects with 15% Opacity)

Then go to Window> Pathfinder and choose the Unite button

this will create a Group of single shapes from any overlapping shapes

the shapes will maintain their Color and Opacity settings so you can modify them later if needed

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  • Thanks for your answer Kyle. I forgot to mention that these layers need to stay separate at all times. These will be used for an NFT project that will be exported as PNG files and then added randomly to each other to create a JPG file. I'm guessing that this wont be possible at all. Oct 2 at 19:49

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