Create a mirror effect using Opacity Mask in Adobe Illustrator CS5

In this tutorial we will learn how to create cool mirror effect using the Opacity Masks in Adobe Illustrator CS5

1. Open your vector logo in Illustrator.

SaffronStroke logo

2. Now we will duplicate the entire logo and flip it below the original logo. Select the logo using the Selection tool. Right click and choose Transform > Reflect… In the ‘Reflect’ dialog box, switch on the ‘Preview’, choose ‘Horizontal Axis’ and click on ‘Copy’. This would create a copy of the logo (inverted). Now move this copy to the bottom of the original logo. Leave very little or no space in between the two.

TIP: Holding down SHIFT while moving the logo downwards will help you maintain the vertical axis.

Reflected logo

3. Lock the original logo so that it remains uneditable. Select the logo, go to Object > Lock > Selection.

4. Then draw a rectangle over the mirrored copy and fill it with a gradient of grey-black using the ‘Gradient Panel’. (see image below) We will create an Opacity Mask out of this shape.


Adjust the sliders to get the desired effect.

5. Now select the rectangle and the mirrored image (placed behind the rectangle) using the ‘Selection tool’. Open the ‘Transparency Panel’. If not visible go to Window > Transparency. Click on the double arrows on the top of the panel and from the menu choose ‘Make Opacity Mask’.

Make Opacity Mask

TIP: To select both the rectangle and the text behind it, choose the Selection tool and drag to cover the entire/part of the area to select.

6. This is what we get:

Mirrored logo

I am not totally satisfied with the output here. I want the reflection to be even more faded, so I would want to edit the opacity mask.

Choose the mirrored image (the opacity mask) and open out the ‘Transparency Panel’. Click on the Opacity Mask (second) thumbnail which lets you edit the opacity mask. When you click on the Opacity Mask thumbnail, only the mask becomes editable and all other objects on the art board are locked. To get out of this mode, click on the first thumbnail that shows the original image.

Transparency panel

Then open out the ‘Gradient Panel’ and move the sliders to adjust the gradient. When done, click on the first thumbnail. This is how our final image will look like;

Final logo

Filed Under: Adobe Illustrator


About the Author: Minal is a freelance web and graphics designer. She specializes in designing Logos, Stationery, Graphics and Icons as well as website templates using graphical tools like Photoshop, Illustrator and Expression Web. Twitter @saffronstroke

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  1. ek says:

    No matter how I adjust the gradient, I never get a complete fade out from the bottom of the image. What’s going wrong?

    • Minal says:


      The fading effect depends upon the gradient colors, tone and position of the object you then convert into opacity mask. Try adjusting these factors to get the desired effect.
      I would also like to suggest you to try working on a fresh document, follow the tutorial and when you get your hands on it follow it on your original work. Hope this helps.


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