I am new to Illustrator and am still trying to wrap my mind around the concept of vector shapes.

In Photoshop, I used to make a glare very easily. I would write text and then I would put a rectangular marquee shape over the text. I would then fill it with a gradient of white to transparency and turn the opacity down until it created the effect on the text. I would then take the magic wand and basically delete the entire marquee shape except for the part where it overlapped with the text thus just having the glare on the text and not on the background.

I'm trying to do the same for Illustrator. I've created a logo and then put a rectangular shape over top of the logo and filled it with a gradient and changed the opacity. I can't for the life of me figure out how to delete the negative space of the rectangular shape now so it just overlays on the logo and not all around the logo. Does my description make sense? And if so, does anybody have a solution? Thanks.

4 Answers 4


Use the Pathfinder tool to intersect the shapes...

  1. Make your text Some Text
  2. Make your shape over the text Some Shape
  3. Intersect the shapes Shape Intersection
  4. Final result Final Result

You can expand the compound object if you wish, but beware that effects/gradients are calculated from shape edges, so expanding can change the visual effect: Not expanded Expanded

  • Awesome. This looks relatively simple. When I hit "Intersect" it gives me the error message "The filter produced no results. Please select two overlapping paths." What am I doing wrong? Feb 13, 2012 at 18:27
  • @MxmastaMills Intersect works by retaining the fill-areas of 2 objects where they overlap. I ommitted outline mode screenshots, but if you look at Step #3 you will see the blue bounding box of the rectangle, and also the blue point of the text. The rectangle overlaps the text. Likewise, your objects must overlap.
    – Farray
    Feb 13, 2012 at 20:12
  • This does address the question as stated, but Scott's answer would seem better in this situation, since it keeps the text alive. In general though, this illustrated answer is quite handy.
    – Jon Coombs
    Nov 2, 2015 at 23:40

The correct way is the same in Illustrator as in Photoshop though the mechanics are slightly different.

  1. In illustrator type your text.
  2. Create a shape with your gradient.
  3. Move shape behind your text.
  4. Select both
  5. Object -> Make -> Create clipping mask

To save you time in Photoshop from now on you can do the exact same thing.

  1. Type
  2. Whatever fill you want on a different layer
  3. Put the type UNDER (as opposed to above in Illustrator)
  4. Right click on the fill layer in your layer pallette and choose Create Clipping Mask.

This works not only for gradients but also if you want a photo or other image to become the shape of the text. Enjoy.

  • "Correct" is subjective :) There are various methods, all of which could be called "correct" if they function.
    – Scott
    Feb 13, 2012 at 18:49
  • This was the easiest way to do what I was looking for although other answers looked good too. Thanks! Feb 13, 2012 at 19:16
  • Scott - while your way works the original poster included the tag 'mask' in their question. You're applying a fill style not a mask.
    – Ryan
    Feb 13, 2012 at 19:49
  • My point was a mask is unnecessary overhead. You shouldn't use masks if they aren't needed. And in this case, a mask is absolutely not needed.
    – Scott
    Feb 13, 2012 at 20:10
  • Scott's answer does seem much better in this case because it keeps the text alive and editable. But this answer does answer the OP's stated question, and it seems like a good general-purpose approach for other contexts.
    – Jon Coombs
    Nov 2, 2015 at 23:36

I like live type. I try and keep text live as much as possible. This effect can be done while keeping text live and editable. You don't need the rectangle. You can accomplish this easily with an extra fill and the Appearance panel. Especially with Illustrator CS4+ and the ability to add transparency to gradient stops.

Here's a video showing the steps. (click here)

  1. Add new fill
  2. Set new fill to gradient
  3. Adjust Gradient to your liking
  4. Realize you can still change the text
  5. Gasp at how easy that was

When complete, you can drag the text to the Graphic Styles Panel and in the future simply click the style to apply the effect to text.


The other thing you could do would be to create your text, duplicate it, and select "Type -> Create Outlines". You'd be left with a vector shape you can fill with a gradient.

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