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Does anybody have an idea how to get this kind of unsmooth grainy gradient effect in illustrator ?

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I tried with sketch torn edges, i tried with a grunged up photo, edited the levels and saved that as a bitmap, then applied it to a mask, but i does not look good

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So does anybody know a better way to get this effect in Adobe Illustrator ?

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The easiest way in Illustrator is to use a color to transparent gradient fill. Then use Effect > Pixelate > Pointillize on that gradient fill.

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Adjusting the Cell Size of the effect will result in more or less speckle clumps. And altering the span of the gradient can control how much drop off there may be.

This effect will be an embedded raster image with a clipping mask when saved or exported to flat file formats such as EPS. However, the ppi of the effect will automatically adjust according to Effects > Document Raster Effects Settings within Illustrator if the effect is kept "live".

There are several effects which will achieve similar, but different, results... you'll have to experiment to find the one you're specifically looking for....

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  • This looks very promising, ill be thoroughly testing this technique, thanks Scott ! – Randy V Oct 22 '15 at 14:32

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