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I'd like to draw some closed paths with offsets on their internal edges, and I want the internal edges of the offset bands to be feathered. The external edge would be hard, not feathered. Below is an example of the effect I want, from a National Geographic map. Each colored band is transparent, but also feathered. Is there some way to do this in Illustrator, or will I have to create the effect in Photoshop? I've experimented with opacity masking but that doesn't seem to work. Suggestions? enter image description here

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  • Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow perhaps? Although to avoid raster, I'd most likely use a Gradient Mesh with transparent internal mesh points.
    – Scott
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 17:13
  • Thanks, Scott. Inner Glow was the first thing I went for, but it requires an internal color fill, so I backed off without actually trying it. I suppose I could use an almost-transparent white, and intensify the underlying relief image. I'll look at the Gradient Mesh too -- first I've heard of it!
    – CSyrett
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 17:26
  • Inner glow would depend upon how you are constructing the map. If the regions are separate shapes, it would be no issue. If you have one shape with lines over it, then, yeah, that would be a problem for inner glow. But one shape with lines over it is going to be an issue for anything you want to do in order to differentiate between "zones". (A fill of white set to Multiply blend mode will disappear but allow inner glow to work)
    – Scott
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 17:44
  • Yes, Inner Glow definitely works for this, now that I'm playing with the base and glow colors. The Gradient Mesh looks scary to me, and is actually overkill for the purpose. Thanks for your help!
    – CSyrett
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 18:25

1 Answer 1

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There is always Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow if that works for you. It is a raster effect.

enter image description here


I would handle this with a Gradient Mesh placed above the country/region. And making the internal mesh points transparent. This ultimately provides nearly complete control over the inner "glow" and remains vector.

enter image description here

Now, to be fair, using a Gradient Mesh is more advanced and many users can struggle with them at first. It's not a feature users tend to "pick up instantly". There are many tutorials out there though.

I'm not, by any means, stating this is the "correct" method to use. This is merely how I would tackle the same issue.

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