Learn to add a duotone look to any artwork in Adobe Illustrator using an image as an opacity mask for a filled rectangle, layered on a second color.

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What you learned: Apply an opacity mask using an image to create a duotone look

What is a duotone?

A duotone image is an image typically composed of two colors.

Apply an opacity mask

Find an image you want to use. You can then use that image as an opacity mask for a rectangle filled with color.

  • Create a rectangle and fill it with a color.
  • Cut or copy the image.
  • With the rectangle selected, open the Transparency panel by clicking Opacity in the Properties panel or choosing Window > Transparency.
  • Click Make Mask. By default, a black mask is applied. In a typical mask, black hides artwork and white shows artwork.
  • In the Transparency panel, with the rectangle still selected, deselect Clip to remove the black in the mask and show the rectangle artwork again.
  • Click the mask thumbnail in the Transparency panel and paste the image into the mask.

Tip: An image with more contrast will usually work well.

Edit the opacity mask

With the opacity mask applied, you can now edit it.

  • Drag the mask in the document to place it over the rectangle.
  • To move the rectangle and the mask together as a group, click the artwork thumbnail on the left in the Transparency panel.
  • To see the mask by itself, Option-click (macOS) or Alt-click (Windows) the mask thumbnail in the Transparency panel. You can see the mask (the image) in the document and can edit it to change the appearance of the final artwork. Option-click (macOS) or Alt-click (Windows) the mask thumbnail to see the masked artwork again.
  • Click the artwork thumbnail on the left in the Transparency panel to stop editing the mask.

Tip: To move the artwork independent of the mask, click the lock icon between the artwork and mask thumbnails in the Transparency panel.

01/20/2021

Adobe Stock contributor: Salajean

Designer: Matthew Fleming

Presenter: Brian Wood

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