I'd like to be able to, in this example, darken a portion of a text based on a path I draw, without seeing the path. I've tried variations of opacity and clipping masks without a good success.

Attached some screenshots of a simple example.

First I have two objects..

first have two objects

One way to get close to desired effect is to set opacity of path and make it black.

then one way is to make path black

But then at this point I'd like to only see the text.

  • Just checking: you want only that lower portion of the text to be dark, so there will be no grey on the page, just red and dark red text on white? Mar 18, 2014 at 12:18
  • Why do clipping masks not work? Mar 18, 2014 at 15:07
  • @user568458 yes that is correct
    – crcain
    Mar 18, 2014 at 18:37
  • @BartArondson My first shot with clipping masks is to copy text, paste in place, select all, and then make clipping mask. But my result is glitchy like so: dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/58390955/ill-stack-03.jpg
    – crcain
    Mar 18, 2014 at 18:50

2 Answers 2


You could use an opacity mask on your stroke.

  1. copy your text object,
  2. select your path
  3. go to the transparency panel click on "make mask"
  4. click on the now black square in that panel and "paste in front" (ctrl/cmd +F)
  5. change your pasted text to white
  6. adjust opacity

enter image description here

  • Thanks very much. Reading your instructions, and also the 'opacity mask' info in the 'Painting -> Transparency' section of illustrator reference helped a lot.
    – crcain
    Mar 19, 2014 at 19:02

Here is how I would do it:

  1. Convert the text to outlines and duplicate it (copy and paste in place)
  2. Assuming you've already drawn your shape, select that and the top duplicate of the text
  3. In the Pathfinder window, click the crop button.

This will leave you with only the lower portion of the text. You can group the two parts together if you like so that they will be selected together in the future when trying to position them.

Semi-related tip - When converting text, it is good practice to keep a non-outlined/converted version hidden somewhere in case you want to make changes later.

  • Thanks. In trying your steps, I have two issues. The first is that when doing the crop, it only acts on the trailing "E", and second, I get this strange artifact, which is similar to problems I had with clipping masks. See this screenshot: dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/58390955/ill-stack-02.jpg
    – crcain
    Mar 18, 2014 at 18:40
  • This might be different from Illustrator version to version. Not sure why it isn't working for you straight away. In regards to it only taking effect on the "E"- Are all the letters combined into one object? When you select them, they should select as one, not selecting each one separately. Not sure why it is slightly offset though. If crop doesn't work as expected, you could do it in reverse and make the original shape (background) the lower color and use the curve to either clipping mask (Object>Clipping Mask>Make) or trim (similar to crop, in pathfinder window) the lower part away instead
    – John
    Mar 18, 2014 at 21:14
  • Thanks so much for your help. For my particular question, Evan's answer worked best for me.
    – crcain
    Mar 19, 2014 at 19:04

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