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Did you ever wish you could shine a spotlight on one part of a design to draw attention to it? Or did you ever wish you could deemphasize other objects by partially hiding them in a shadow? You can create spotlighting effects by overlaying a design with gradient-filled objects and then applying blending modes to use the luminosity of the gradient to lighten or darken your design. Here I have just some text on a green background and even though it says it's so dramatic, it's really not very dramatic at all. It's just kind of sitting there. So I'd like to add some drama by creating a spotlighting effect.
So I'll start by creating a gradient in my Swatches panel. Open the Swatches panel and choose New Gradient Swatch and I'll call it mood lighting. I want a radial gradient. I'll start on the left of the gradient with 30% black, and on the right side of the gradient I'll use 100% black. And I'll move the midpoint down to about 25% and click OK. Now I'll press the F key on my keyboard to get my Frame tool, I'll click-and-drag over the design, and I'll fill this with my mood lighting gradient.
I'll go to my Effects panel and change from the Normal blending mode to Multiply, and now I have a spotlighting effect. I can move it around by pressing the G key on my keyboard to get the Gradient tool and click-and-drag within the page to move the spotlight. So if I just want the spotlight around the word So, I can click-and-drag across it and spotlight it, I'll move it over a little bit. There we go. Or I can highlight a different part of the design. Let's try another. Here I have a photo on a table and I'd like to add the same mood lighting to it.
Again, I'll press the F key on the keyboard, click-and-drag, and for the fill, I'll fill it with my mood lighting gradient. I'll go to the Effects panel and change the blending mode from Normal to Multiply, and this is a little dark for my taste. I'd like the center of the photo to be more visible. So I don't have to use the Multiply blending mode I could use something else, like Hard Light. Hard Light will shine that spotlight right in the middle of my design and still keep those dark shadows around the edges.
You can add dramatic lighting effects to any design by overlaying it with a gradient-filled object and then blend the light and dark parts of the gradient with your design using blending modes.
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