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The Book of Inkscape by Dmitry Kirsanov

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10.7 Gradient Tips and Examples

If you want to “fade out” or “feather” the edge of an object, you don’t have to (indeed, often you can’t) apply a color-to-transparent gradient to it. One way to address this need is by using a mask (18.4 Clipping and Masking); however, in many cases, if the background under the object is a solid color, an overlay object—a shader—of the same color as the background with opaque-to-transparent gradient would be easier to create and maintain. This method works equally well for multiple objects that need to be feathered as a group, for feathering more than one side, for objects that already have different gradient fills, or for bitmaps or pattern-filled objects.

In this example, four gradient shaders are put over the ...

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