Spotlight effects in illustrator

Written by john sauls
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Spotlight effects in illustrator
Dazzle viewers with your Illustrator spotlighting skills. (Ryan McVay/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Illuminate objects in an Illustrator drawing using a few simple tools. Change the feeling of a landscape or still life with a simple spotlight or add multiple sources of light. Follow a few simple steps to get the specific look you want without compromising because you don't know how to perform certain operations.

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Gradients and Layers

Create a new document using the File pull-down menu. Draw a rectangle the size of the page using the rectangle tool. Using the Swatches palette to apply a gradient (colour) to the rectangle to serve as the background. Lock the background with the Object pull-down menu. Create a new layer by pressing the new layer icon on the Layers palette. Name your new layer "Spotlight 1."

Let There Be Light

Decide where you will place the light source and draw a cone diagonally between the light source origin and the termination point using the pen tool on the "Spotlight 1" layer. Switch to the Convert Anchor Point tool. Click and drag the handle bars on each corner of the cone to round the ends. Use the gradient tool to apply a gradient to the cone. Place two white stops on the gradient, one at the top and the bottom.

Adjusting Opacity

Adjust the opacity of the second stop to 0 per cent. Verify that the 0 per cent opacity spot is at the bottom of the spotlight, where the light will terminate at the large end of the cone. Create another new layer and name it "Spotlight 2." Select the cone on the "Spotlight 1" layer with the selection tool. Copy the cone and paste it in place on the "Spotlight 2" layer using the File pull-down menu for each operation.

Gaussian Blur and Completion

Select the cone on the "Spotlight 2" layer and use the Effects pull-down menu to access the "Blur/Gaussian Blur" effect. In the Gaussian blur dialogue panel, change the blur radius to 5 pixels. Access the Appearance dialogue box using the Window pull-down menu. Click on the word "Opacity" to access the Transparency panel. Change the transparency of the blurred cone to 65 per cent. Select the cone on the "Spotlight 1" layer and change the opacity to 30 per cent. Place the object to be highlighted on the first layer with the background rectangle and position it under the spotlight.

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