Explore adjusting the opacity of artwork as well as applying blending modes to stylize your artwork in different ways.

What you'll need

This sample file is an Adobe Stock asset you can use to practice what you learn in this tutorial. If you want to use the sample file beyond this tutorial, you can purchase a license on Adobe Stock. Check out the ReadMe file in the folder for the terms that apply to your use of this sample file.    

What you learned: How to adjust the opacity (transparency) of artwork and apply blending modes to achieve creative results

Change the opacity of content

You can adjust the opacity (how see-through the content is) for all types of content, from an individual object, to a group, to a whole layer.

To change the opacity of content, select the artwork and adjust the Opacity value in the Properties panel.

Note: If you change the opacity for a group, then ungroup the group, the opacity change will be removed and the individual objects in the group will retain their individual opacity setting.

Understand blending modes

Blending modes let you vary the ways that the colors of objects blend with the colors of underlying objects. When you apply a blending mode to an object, the effect of the blending mode is seen on any objects that lie beneath the object’s layer or group.

Copy and rotate artwork using the Rotate tool

  1. With the shape (circle) selected, select the Rotate tool in the toolbar.
  2. Press Option (MacOS) or Alt (Windows), click somewhere near the bottom center of the shape to open the Rotate dialog box, and automatically set the point around which the artwork will rotate.
  3. Set the rotation angle and click Copy to make a copy.

Apply a blending mode to the copied shape

  1. With content selected, click the Opacity option in the Properties panel on the right to open the Transparency panel.
  2. Click Normal to open the Blending Mode menu. You can choose from a wide range of blending modes; they are grouped in the menu according to their function. Normal is the default mode and doesn’t apply any interaction between the colors of artwork. The dark blending modes like Darken, Multiply, or Color Burn make the resulting color darker. The lighten blending modes like Lighten and Screen, make the resulting color lighter overall.

Note: If you experience issues previewing blending modes, try choosing View > Preview On CPU or View Using CPU.

Create more copies of the shape

To add more copies of the circle, let Illustrator apply the same copy and rotation you did previously using the Transform Again command.

  • With the circle still selected, choose Object > Transform > Transform Again. Illustrator creates a copy and rotates it using the same relative rotation point. Choose that command several more times to add enough circles to complete the artwork.

Apply an opacity change to the artwork

You can apply both blending modes and opacity changes to artwork.

  • With the Selection tool selected, drag across the circles. Change the Opacity value in the Properties panel to adjust the opacity (transparency) of the selected artwork.


Back to: Create and apply a pattern


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