The black gradient effect that is placed in front of the pattern but behind the text is what I'm looking to achieve. I've tried creating a black to transparent gradient but can't the nice blur/fade effect the arrow points to. Thanks in advance!
Draw a rectangle above your pattern object and fill it with a gradient...
You will have to add the color stops the Gradient Panel to create the reflected gradient.
Then be certain to click the end stops and set their opacity to 0%:
Set your foreground and background colors to the default black and white. You can do this my just tapping the D key on the keyboard.
Layer > New Fill Layer > Gradient from the menu.
Name the layer if you want in the pop up window then click
You get a second pop up window. Simply alter the settings to create the gradient....
Then move this new layer above your pattern layer in the Layers Panel
Select the Gradient Tool.
In the Control Bar across the top of the screen, choose the Reflected gradient option:
Set the gradient in the Control Bar to be a foreground to transparent gradient (because you set the color to defaults it will be a black to transparent gradient).
Add a New Layer above the "pattern" artwork.
Then, click and drag from the center of the document window to the edge.
This will create a gradient across the center of the document.
Gradient fill layers are probably your best bet, but another simple way to do it is to just paint the black in.
Create a new layer on top of your background layer and below your text layer. Select a wide brush (width depends on your canvas size and personal preference) and make sure your hardness is set to 0%.
Place your brush outside of your document bounds and holding the SHIFT key, drag straight down. This will give you a straight black (soft) line.
One benefit to this method is that it's easily altered (effects, blurs, smudging, etc.)
Edit - I just now saw that this was for Illustrator?? Was it always or was that a recent change? This method obviously will not work in Illustrator.
Also, if I may just expand upon the correct answer already given by Scott...
Whenever I am creating these color-to-transparent gradients, I always make the entire gradient the same color and adjust only the opacity. I find this gives a much more even gradient.
If you have a black-white gradient that you want to also make transparent, the white portion of the gradient shows through, making the colors beneath appear desaturated.
See my two versions below.
Maybe it doesn't look too apparent to some, but I feel that the bottom version has a richer color to it. The white in the top one seems to make the blue behind the gradient almost gray.
You will also want to change the blend mode of the gradient layer to
Multiply, especially when working in CMYK.
You can make a shape around the text
Color it Black
And then set Gaussian blur to the shape, works nicely with irregular shapes.
Will work both in Illustrator and Photoshop.