Artboard mask in Illustrator?

Hello fellow Graphic Designers,

I have run into something that has me stumped and I’m hoping someone here can shed some light. I’m going to try to explain it the best way I can.

I downloaded a very pretty EPS background for use in Illustrator. The graphic is a swirly flowery monotone vector. I do not know what the artist used to create the graphic, but it’s an .EPS and I’m working in Adobe Illustrator CC2019.

The graphic looks light gray on the artboard, but is dark gray past the edges. It seems as though the graphic itself is dark gray, but there is some kind of translucent filter wherever the graphic is over the artboard.

The same thing happened with another graphic my colleague downloaded. The graphic has text which is translucent only when it is over the artboard, but a bright orange outside the artboard.

I have no idea what is causing this, but it almost seems like there’s an artboard mask, except it’s tied to the artwork because the translucent effect appears even when I copy/paste the artwork into a new document.

For ease of troubleshooting, I will tell you I have checked the following things:
Blending mode
Layers and layer opacity
Clipping Masks (there is one, but it’s to contain the graphic, normal stuff here)

To further help, here is a screenshot of the actual graphic and what it’s doing:

I would love to learn something new and find out how to create/manipulate this effect.

If there’s anything else you need to know to help troubleshoot, please ask and I’ll try to answer the best that I can.

Thanks in advance!!

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In the example you shared, it looks as if the artwork is slightly off white with a transparent background, which is why it looks somewhat transparent when moving it over and scaling it over your artboard.

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Or, based on your other comment, while the transparency of the grouped or masked item may be set to 100% normal, the contents of the mask may not be. Double click into the mask or grouped item and see if the items inside don’t have a different type of transparency applied.

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It looks like there is a white box set to 70% opacity and the same size as the art board on a layer above the layer with the floral pattern. Based on your post, you seem astute enough that you would have picked this up it that were the case. Tough to say what’s going on without getting my hands on the actual file.

Have you checked to see if there are locked objects over the artboard? Objects>Unlock All is a good starting point.

This was exactly it. Thank you. I can’t believe I did not think of that.

Having said that, the other file my colleague was working on had a similar issue and I know for a fact the artwork was bright orange and it was showing up with some gradient effect when he moved it around. Unfortunately that file was lost due to a software crash, and I cannot recreate the effect for some reason. Go figure.

Thanks everyone for your suggestions!!

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