soft edge vector image by bob ostrom

How to Create a Soft Edge Vector Mask using Adobe Illustrator

Vector is not really known for soft edges, in fact, getting the right blend can sometimes be a challenge. In this video tutorial, I’ll show you how to trick Illustrator into giving you exactly what you need. Here I’ve created a piece of art with a straight solid edge for a printed piece my client is using. As it turns out everyone loved the character so much they wanted to use it again as a spot with a faded edge later in the article. This would be easy if I could convert the piece to bitmap. Photoshop is great with fades and blends but my client needs this one to be vector as well. Luckily there’s a pretty simple solution. In this video, I will show you how to take an existing vector illustration, crop it and apply a faded edge. Fasten your seat belts vector lovers because this is one you’re going to want to use again and again.

Until next time, Happy illustrating!



  1. Thanks for the video Bob! I appreciate that your tutorial narration is concise and clear. I used this technique and it worked but I didn’t achieve the same effect until I clicked the “Invert Mask” option after creating the Opacity Mask. Without the invert, I was getting the soft-edge mask but the un-blurred portion of the mask was still covering the layers beneath it. Any idea why the invert was necessary for me but not necessary in your video? Thanks.

    • Thanks Mike. It’s hard to know without seeing your work process but I’m glad you got it to work and thank you for sharing your info. If you’re reading this and for some reason the technique I shared isn’t working take a look at Mike’s process and see if that helps.

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