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Applying a gradient

From: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Applying a gradient

Over the course of this chapter we are going to take this humble drawing right here, which goes by the name of the Pink-pong paddle.ai, and without adding a single path outline, we are going to transform this graphic into the rich lustrous illustration that you see before you now. This graphic incidentally is called Final gradient effect.ai. As I say, I haven't added a single path outline. All I have done is add a bunch of gradients. There is also a few Drop Shadows. We'll adding a Blend, which is another way to create a gradient inside of Illustrator, and we'll be applying some Opacity value, some blend modes, and so on, all in the name of creating what is ostensibly a photo realistic illustration.

Applying a gradient

Over the course of this chapter we are going to take this humble drawing right here, which goes by the name of the Pink-pong paddle.ai, and without adding a single path outline, we are going to transform this graphic into the rich lustrous illustration that you see before you now. This graphic incidentally is called Final gradient effect.ai. As I say, I haven't added a single path outline. All I have done is add a bunch of gradients. There is also a few Drop Shadows. We'll adding a Blend, which is another way to create a gradient inside of Illustrator, and we'll be applying some Opacity value, some blend modes, and so on, all in the name of creating what is ostensibly a photo realistic illustration.

Now, I'm not suggesting for a second that I would mistake this, even from a distance, for being a photograph. In fact, it's better then a photograph because its super sharp. It has all kinds of awesome vector detail, super smooth. But whatever you think of, it's a heck of a lot better than this cartoon graphic right here. Largely as I say a function of gradients. Now, I'll also say gradients are super powerful inside of Illustrator, and they've gotten even better. We've made a quantum leap in the gradient department here inside of Illustrator CS4. But they are not what I would call approachable. They don't make a lot of sense right up front. The most counterintuitive thing about gradients is applying a gradient to a path in the first place.

So let me show you how that works. I'll show you four ways that I don't care for, by the way, four ways to apply a gradient here inside of this exercise and then I'll show you a fifth better way in the next exercise. So working here inside Ping-pong paddle .ai, I'm going to click on the central red shape right here, which represents the paddle cushion itself. Notice that currently it's filled with a shade of red, and I want to apply a gradient instead. I want something resembling this right here, where we have darkness down in the lower right region and lightness up here in the upper left region.

So how do we go about doing that? Well, several different ways to apply a gradient, as I have said, many of which work from the Gradient palette right here. So I'm going to go ahead and click on the Gradient tab, or you can go to the Window menu and choose Gradient. You also have this altogether unmemorable keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+ F9 or Command+F9 on the Mac. So once you're seeing the gradient, even if its just this dinky little bar right there-- And what I did is I just kind of clicked below it and I assigned the gradient, the default gradient of white to black to my red paddle cushion.

So I'm going to press Ctrl+Z or Command+ Z on the Mac to undo that modification. So just click some place in this region and you will apply the gradient. Another thing you can do, you can go ahead and expand the Gradient palette by clicking in this little do hickey a couple of times, and now we're seeing the full Gradient palette in all of its splendor. You can click on this thicker bar right here, and you should now this bar can get very thick indeed. Check this out. If I drag the bottom of the palette downward, you can get a huge gradient block right there if you want. Now, I don't see why in the world you would ever want that. It's just a little gradient preview. You are going to see what the gradient actually looks like when you will apply it to the illustration, so you don't need this preview over here, especially taking up that much room.

If however it ends up taking up that much room on its own, which sometimes happens, sometimes it will just leap to the foreground and be huge as anything, just like this, then go to the bottom of the palette and just drag it upward like so, and that will give you more room for you Layers palette and your Appearance palette, and the other ones that really deserve some room on screen. So I could click there, I've already shown that. You can also click on this little guy, and that will apply the gradient to your selection. I'll go ahead and undo that one as well by pressing Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac. Another thing you can do, inside of Illustrator CS4 you now have the option of bringing up a pop-up menu by clicking on this down pointing arrowhead, and then you can choose a predefined gradient that is saved along with your illustration. So these would be gradient swatches that have been saved with this illustration over time.

For example, I could say, I want rainbow. That's going to look very nice, don't you think? No. All right, so Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac once again. Finally, you have the option of applying the gradient from the bottom of the toolbox right here, this dinky little, itsy-bitsy icon right there, which is the center, its right between the Flat Fill and the None icons, and that will apply whatever gradient was last applied, which is this garish, ridiculous clown rainbow gradient. I don't like it one little bit, let's go ahead and reset it to Black White right there. That is of course not the effect that I want, but is preferable to clown stripes.

The other thing you should know is that you have keyboard shortcuts for each one of these icons down here at the bottom of the toolbox. Notice for color you have a less than sign. That would imply you have to press Shift along with the comma key on an American keyboard, and you don't have to, all you have to do is press the comma key. That will give you the Flat Fill right there. That will the last color that you had applied, which restores my red that I spend a fair amount of time on, by the way, getting this exact shade of red down. If you want to apply the gradient next door, then you press the greater than key, not really, you just press the period or full stop key, if you prefer, so that will take you to do the gradient.

Then if you want to apply None, you already know this if you watched the Fundamentals portion of the series, you press the slash key. Those three keys are right in a row to the right of the M key on an American keyboard. But what I want frankly of all the options I've seen so far, I want to restore my original red fill right here. Yes, I want a gradient, but I want it to include this exact shade of red that I spent so much time on. How can I take the color that I've already assigned to an object and integrate it into the gradient that I'm about to craft, so make this color serve as the base for a new gradient? I'll answer that question, I'll show you how to do that in the next exercise.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced
Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

149 video lessons · 21463 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
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  1. 28m 41s
    1. Welcome
      1m 7s
    2. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      8m 59s
    3. Resetting the Function keys on a Mac
      4m 47s
    4. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 20s
    5. Loading the CS4 color settings in Illustrator
      6m 3s
    6. Loading the CS4 color settings in Bridge CS4
      3m 25s
  2. 1h 53m
    1. From the simple emerges the complex
      42s
    2. Introducing Pathfinder operations
      4m 17s
    3. Editing a compound shape
      4m 39s
    4. Adding to a compound shape
      3m 11s
    5. Inserting a subpath into a compound shape
      3m 56s
    6. Expanding a compound shape
      4m 53s
    7. Assembling primitives
      4m 42s
    8. Preparing a template in Photoshop
      7m 0s
    9. Uniting paths permanently
      5m 40s
    10. Minus Front vs. Minus Back
      1m 55s
    11. Working with compound paths
      6m 49s
    12. When in doubt, divide
      3m 54s
    13. Divide and Unite
      3m 2s
    14. Open path pitfalls
      5m 35s
    15. Strokes bad, fills good
      4m 38s
    16. Advanced Divide and Unite
      8m 59s
    17. Using the Crop operation
      8m 30s
    18. Expert Divide and Unite
      8m 45s
    19. "Ghosting" shapes with Fill Opacity
      6m 45s
    20. Anticipating and troubleshooting
      8m 16s
    21. Exclude and Intersect
      7m 24s
  3. 44m 59s
    1. Familiar one moment, different the next
      1m 3s
    2. Snapping to anchor points
      5m 41s
    3. Aligning a group to the artboard
      3m 34s
    4. Distributing objects on the artboard
      4m 16s
    5. Setting the key object
      4m 54s
    6. Distributing objects by space
      3m 6s
    7. Distributing objects by selections
      3m 19s
    8. Aligning point text
      6m 7s
    9. Aligning live text vs. using outlines
      4m 58s
    10. Aligning key letters
      3m 35s
    11. Aligning to key objects
      4m 26s
  4. 1h 4m
    1. CS4’s gradient renaissance
      1m 7s
    2. Applying a gradient
      6m 0s
    3. Dragging and dropping color swatches
      2m 55s
    4. Using the Gradient palette
      6m 27s
    5. Designing a shaded gradient
      5m 9s
    6. Saving a gradient swatch and adding a texture
      4m 2s
    7. Introducing the new Gradient tool
      4m 39s
    8. Editing color stops inside a shape
      3m 26s
    9. Setting multiple gradients to the same angle
      5m 0s
    10. Adding and adjusting radial gradients
      7m 20s
    11. Making a transparent gradient
      7m 6s
    12. Adding drop shadows (a kind of gradient)
      6m 28s
    13. Blends vs. blend modes
      4m 38s
  5. 1h 17m
    1. Creating freeform color flows
      1m 0s
    2. The power of CS4's transparent gradients
      10m 25s
    3. Creating a gradient mesh
      4m 30s
    4. Expanding a gradient to a gradient mesh
      7m 40s
    5. Adding and deleting rows and columns
      6m 13s
    6. Selecting and coloring points
      6m 5s
    7. Assigning colors with the Eyedropper tool
      7m 42s
    8. Cool mesh editing techniques
      3m 56s
    9. Warping and puckering a mesh
      7m 24s
    10. Applying precise finishing touches
      5m 48s
    11. Gradient strokes
      9m 45s
    12. Gradient text
      6m 50s
  6. 55m 35s
    1. The first of the dynamic functions
      1m 4s
    2. Making a blend automatically
      5m 48s
    3. Fixing problem blends
      3m 56s
    4. Making a blend with the Blend tool
      3m 6s
    5. Cloning and coloring a blended path
      4m 37s
    6. Creating a mask
      3m 53s
    7. Blending between translucent shapes
      5m 30s
    8. Blending along a curve
      4m 34s
    9. Adjusting the speed of a blend
      2m 58s
    10. Filling and stroking a mask
      4m 36s
    11. Creating a compound clipping mask
      6m 3s
    12. Nesting one clipping mask inside another
      6m 7s
    13. Ghosting nested masks and blends
      3m 23s
  7. 1h 13m
    1. Patterns that repeat forever and ever
      51s
    2. Introducing tile patterns
      6m 36s
    3. Beginning a core design
      5m 6s
    4. Building an interlocking element
      6m 25s
    5. Achieving precise radial symmetry
      4m 46s
    6. Rotating duplicates around a common center
      3m 10s
    7. Determining how a pattern repeats
      9m 54s
    8. Coloring the core objects
      5m 0s
    9. Identifying the rectangular tile
      7m 14s
    10. Saving tile patterns
      7m 19s
    11. Applying tile patterns to a shape
      3m 25s
    12. Protecting patterns from transformations
      7m 36s
    13. Moving patterns without paths
      5m 51s
  8. 1h 19m
    1. Illustrator gets natural
      1m 15s
    2. Introducing the vector painting tools
      3m 16s
    3. Calligraphic brush options
      4m 3s
    4. Pressure sensitivity
      5m 17s
    5. Editing a calligraphic brush
      5m 53s
    6. Repainting and smoothing paths
      5m 30s
    7. Making the paintbrush behave
      6m 16s
    8. Erasing stroked paths
      3m 17s
    9. Painting with the new Blob brush
      6m 24s
    10. Refining filled paths with the Eraser
      4m 14s
    11. Painting independent paths
      3m 53s
    12. The Selection Limits Merge options
      3m 20s
    13. Applying and scaling an art brush
      6m 23s
    14. Snipping a brushed path
      4m 55s
    15. Colorizing an art brush
      4m 9s
    16. Heaping a stroke on an art brush effect
      4m 32s
    17. Creating a custom art brush
      6m 51s
  9. 1h 44m
    1. The computer art world’s dynamic duo
      1m 7s
    2. Copying and pasting pixels from Photoshop
      7m 21s
    3. Linking is efficient, embedding is not
      2m 47s
    4. Editing an image in Illustrator
      7m 30s
    5. Filtering an image in Photoshop
      6m 34s
    6. Adding a filter mask in Photoshop
      6m 25s
    7. Masking a woman from the background
      3m 49s
    8. Creating a sepia effect
      6m 37s
    9. Adding a second gradient map layer
      2m 13s
    10. Achieving a graphic effect with Levels
      8m 10s
    11. Preparing an image for use in Illustrator
      5m 46s
    12. The importance of image resolution
      9m 40s
    13. Placing and linking images
      4m 43s
    14. Managing linked images
      6m 18s
    15. Integrating an image into a design
      5m 12s
    16. A better way to wrap text
      7m 28s
    17. Previewing the trim size
      4m 25s
    18. Layer comps and editable text
      8m 42s
  10. 2h 11m
    1. Transparency is safe and fun
      1m 27s
    2. Introducing the translucent composition
      4m 39s
    3. Assigning opacity to an Appearance attribute
      3m 41s
    4. Creating a knockout group
      5m 7s
    5. Defining an opacity mask
      7m 15s
    6. Using the Clip checkbox
      2m 41s
    7. Opacity mask tips and tricks
      3m 20s
    8. The Multiply blend mode
      6m 8s
    9. Adding to an existing opacity mask
      7m 53s
    10. Blending between parallel groups
      7m 27s
    11. Creating a gradient opacity mask
      4m 54s
    12. Employing an opposing gradient mask
      7m 57s
    13. Combining Multiply and Screen
      3m 49s
    14. Blend mode roundup
      5m 24s
    15. Mixing blend modes inside a single path
      3m 48s
    16. Blend mode and transparent gradient
      3m 49s
    17. Masking an entire layer
      7m 0s
    18. Combining Screen with 100K Black
      7m 43s
    19. Knocking out a drop shadow
      5m 18s
    20. But will it print?
      3m 8s
    21. Working with the Flattener preview
      8m 44s
    22. Rasterizing an illustration in Photoshop
      9m 16s
    23. Super-rich blacks and raster effects
      3m 35s
    24. Exporting TIFF artwork from Illustrator
      7m 48s
  11. 58s
    1. Until next time
      58s

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