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Assigning a gradient to editable text

From: Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Assigning a gradient to editable text

In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to assign a Gradient to live editable type, which is a lot more difficult than it ought to be. Illustrator gives you some pretty poor feedback in this department, and it's even going to seem like you've got to convert the text to outlines in order to fill it with a Gradient, and that's the way a lot of folks recommend you work. That's actually not necessary. You can keep live editable type and you can fill it with a Gradient. You just have to approach things in the right order. You actually have to heap a Gradient on top of the existing Fill, and here's how it works.

Assigning a gradient to editable text

In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to assign a Gradient to live editable type, which is a lot more difficult than it ought to be. Illustrator gives you some pretty poor feedback in this department, and it's even going to seem like you've got to convert the text to outlines in order to fill it with a Gradient, and that's the way a lot of folks recommend you work. That's actually not necessary. You can keep live editable type and you can fill it with a Gradient. You just have to approach things in the right order. You actually have to heap a Gradient on top of the existing Fill, and here's how it works.

I've saved my progress as All drop shadows.ai, and I'm going to switch over to the layers panel, so that I can select these lines of type independently of each other, because I need independent control. I want to fill each one of the lines of type with a Radial Gradient, that begins bright in the center and progresses toward darkness on the outside. And if I assign a Gradient to the entire group, which is possible, then the center of the Gradient is going to be down here in the cat's head, in other words, I'm going to have only one annotator to work with for both lines of type.

Anyway, so what I want to do is twirl open this black cat layer right there, and then I'm going to twirl open the text group as well. Then I'm going to meatball the top line of type, THE NEW CHAT IS, and now I'm going to assign a Gradient to it. So I'll go ahead and click on the Gradient swatch here inside the Gradient panel, and Illustrator acts like it's assigning that Gradient, it even brings up that Progress bar to show me that it's adjusting the Drop Shadow. And we see that we have assigned a Gradient here inside the Color panel, we just don't see it out here in the illustration, it's just a solid black Fill, and that's because Illustrator is lying to us.

We can't apply a Gradient in this way. What we have to do is go over to the Appearance panel and we have to add a new Fill. So I'm going to undo that last adjustment I just applied by pressing Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z on the Mac, which is going to bring up this Progress bar again. And that's because each and every time we make any kind of change, Illustrator has to update that Drop Shadow. That's a big pain in the neck. So let's switch back to the Group for a moment by double-clicking on it here in the Appearance panel, and let's turn off that Drop Shadow temporarily.

So I'm going to click the eyeball to turn it off, and that way we aren't going to be bothered by those Progress bars anymore. Now I'll switch back to the Layers panel, and I'll once again meatball that top line of type. Now, I'll switch back to Appearance, and here's what you do. Make sure that the Type object is active, not the individual characters. If you double-click on Characters, then you'll actually select the Characters with the Type tool. Instead what we want to do is we want to gain control over the Fill, and so far I'm not even seeing a Fill here in the Appearance panel, so I need to add one, and I do that by clicking on Add New Fill or pressing that keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Slash, Cmd+Slash on the Mac, and that adds a solid black Fill. Fine! Now we're going to switch that Fill to a Gradient by clicking in the little Gradient swatch, and this time it actually works.

This time we see a Gradient here inside of the illustration, and the reason is that this Gradient Fill is heaped on top of the type. So whether that makes any sense or not, that's the way it works here inside Illustrator. White is my starting color. That's just fine. I'm going to change this ending color by double-clicking on that color swatch to bring up my Color panel, so I'll click on the little palette to make sure I'm working inside the Color panel. Then I'll click on the flyout menu and switch over to CMYK, and the values that I'm going to dial in are 25 for Cyan, then 25 for each of the others as well, Magenta and Yellow, and then for Black, I'm going to take it down to 75%, so 25, 25, 25, and 75 are the values that I'm looking for.

That just keeps this shade of black a little darker than the color of the background, and now I'll press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac to accept that modification. Now I'm going to change the type of Gradient from Linear to Radial, and I'm going to press the G key in order to switch to my Gradient Annotator. Now, I want that beginning point to be right there at the center of the illustration. So I'm going to press Ctrl+Semicolon or Cmd+Semicolon on the Mac in order to bring up my Guides, and I'm going to drag that origin point, so it aligns to the Guide, like so.

And then I'll drag the terminus outward like that, and I'll press the Shift key, so that I'm constraining the angle of this Gradient to exactly horizontal, and then I'll release. And then finally, I want to make this an elliptical Gradient instead of absolutely circular. So I'm going to change its Aspect Ratio value to 70%, and then press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac to apply my change. Now I'll switch back over to the Layers panel and grab the lower line of type by meatballing it, and I'll get my Eyedropper by pressing the I key, and I'll click on that top line of type in order to lift its attributes and assign them to the text.

Unfortunately, I just changed the Type size as well, so I'll undo that modification by pressing Ctrl+Z, Cmd+Z on the Mac. I'll double-click on the Eyedropper tool in order to bring up the Eyedropper Options dialog box. And I'll turn off Character Style and Paragraph Style inside of this Eyedropper Picks Up column. I'll click OK. And then I'll try it again and see if it works this time. I'll click on that text, and sure enough, I just lifted the Gradient, I didn't lift any of the formatting attributes. Now, having done that, having filled this type exactly the way I want it, I will go ahead and switch back to the Group, which I can do from the layers panel, by meatballing this text item.

Then I'll switch over to the Appearance panel, a lot of back-and-forthing here, and I'll turn on the Drop Shadow once again, so that we can see the Drop Shadow at work in the background. And then finally, I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Semicolon or Cmd+Semicolon on the Mac in order to hide those Guides, and I'll get my Black Arrow tool and I'll click off the text in order to deselect it. And that is the many-step process required to apply a Gradient to live editable text inside Illustrator.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced
Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

153 video lessons · 28021 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 38m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 48s
    2. Linking AI and EPS files to Illustrator
      6m 48s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      7m 43s
    4. Remapping Mac OS shortcuts
      6m 56s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 54s
    6. The color settings explained
      7m 4s
    7. Preserve Numbers vs. embedded profiles
      3m 22s
  2. 1h 40m
    1. Converting pixels to vectors
      1m 2s
    2. Tracing an imported image
      6m 17s
    3. Other ways to trace
      3m 17s
    4. Raster and vector previews
      7m 2s
    5. Threshold, Min Area, and Max Colors
      5m 27s
    6. Tracing options: The raster functions
      8m 2s
    7. Using the Ignore White option
      5m 3s
    8. Tracing options: The vector functions
      6m 40s
    9. Expanding traced artwork
      5m 6s
    10. Sketching and drawing for Illustrator
      6m 24s
    11. Editing scanned line art
      9m 23s
    12. Adding contrast and color
      10m 32s
    13. Live Trace and resolution
      9m 8s
    14. Expanding and separating paths
      8m 43s
    15. Scaling and editing traced art
      8m 4s
  3. 1h 8m
    1. Gradients are good
      1m 15s
    2. Assigning a gradient fill
      6m 9s
    3. Using the gradient annotator
      7m 31s
    4. Editing multiple gradients
      4m 37s
    5. Establishing symmetrical gradients
      5m 28s
    6. Creating a radial gradient
      5m 46s
    7. Adjusting the midpoint skew
      3m 23s
    8. Mixing gradients with blend modes
      6m 11s
    9. Making a transparent gradient
      6m 42s
    10. Drop shadows and dynamic effects
      5m 58s
    11. Assigning a gradient to editable text
      5m 42s
    12. Editing text that includes dynamic effects
      2m 56s
    13. Assigning a gradient to a stroke
      6m 46s
  4. 1h 37m
    1. The earliest dynamic functions
      1m 10s
    2. The gradient-intensive illustration
      5m 26s
    3. Creating a multi-color blend
      7m 39s
    4. Establishing a clipping mask
      3m 34s
    5. Reinstating the mask colors
      9m 7s
    6. Editing blended paths
      6m 50s
    7. Adjusting the number of blended steps
      6m 49s
    8. Using the Blend tool
      4m 33s
    9. Blending between levels of opacity
      7m 32s
    10. Editing the path of the blend
      6m 22s
    11. Adding a custom path of the blend
      5m 4s
    12. Placing one mask inside another
      8m 33s
    13. Blending groups and adjusting the speed
      6m 1s
    14. Rotating objects in 3D space
      10m 21s
    15. Creating custom perspective guides
      8m 31s
  5. 1h 37m
    1. What was old is new again
      39s
    2. Introducing tile patterns
      6m 11s
    3. Determining the points of intersection
      6m 51s
    4. Extending paths from the intersections
      5m 40s
    5. Crafting symmetrical subpaths
      5m 38s
    6. The final flawed subpaths
      5m 52s
    7. Reconciling misaligned paths
      5m 34s
    8. Completing the core path outline
      6m 14s
    9. Making a symmetrical modification
      6m 47s
    10. Adjusting the interior elements
      8m 26s
    11. Coloring paths and testing the interlock
      9m 29s
    12. Establishing a rectangular tile
      6m 22s
    13. Defining a tile pattern
      3m 43s
    14. Creating a few color variations
      8m 50s
    15. Protecting patterns from transformations
      6m 9s
    16. Transforming patterns without paths
      5m 30s
  6. 1h 12m
    1. Filling and stroking virtual areas
      44s
    2. Introducing Live Paint
      7m 57s
    3. Stroking with the Live Paint Bucket tool
      5m 30s
    4. Using the Live Paint Selection tool
      7m 18s
    5. Adding a path to a Live Paint group
      4m 33s
    6. Building a classic Celtic knot
      8m 28s
    7. Constructing the base objects
      5m 31s
    8. Weaving one object into another
      6m 13s
    9. Creating a path that overlaps itself
      7m 15s
    10. Painting a path that overlaps itself
      5m 34s
    11. Creating knots inside knots
      5m 2s
    12. Adding gradients and depth
      8m 22s
  7. 1h 4m
    1. Dynamic effects and OpenType
      1m 12s
    2. Applying a dynamic effect to type
      5m 43s
    3. Creating a basic bevel effect
      4m 12s
    4. Building up a multi-stroke effect
      4m 49s
    5. Best practices for 3D type
      6m 34s
    6. Applying a "path wiggler" to type
      6m 14s
    7. Drop shadows and Raster Effects settings
      4m 52s
    8. Duplicating attributes and effects
      7m 8s
    9. Editing type with dynamic effects
      7m 27s
    10. Ligatures, swashes, ordinals, and fractions
      5m 45s
    11. Small caps and the Glyphs panel
      4m 25s
    12. Warping text and increasing resolution
      6m 9s
  8. 1h 44m
    1. A world of colors at your beck and call
      1m 32s
    2. Customizing a letterform to make a logo
      8m 37s
    3. Creating a custom drop shadow effect
      6m 26s
    4. Introducing the Color Guide panel
      9m 3s
    5. Harmonies and Color Guide settings
      5m 39s
    6. Lifting harmony rules from color groups
      7m 21s
    7. Harmony layouts and the Lab color wheel
      8m 15s
    8. Working inside the Edit Color dialog box
      6m 36s
    9. Limiting a color group to spot colors
      5m 47s
    10. Recoloring selected artwork
      5m 50s
    11. Recoloring with custom color groups
      6m 1s
    12. Swapping colors with the Color Bars feature
      5m 18s
    13. Using the options in the Assign panel
      8m 41s
    14. Moving color groups between documents
      7m 17s
    15. Distilling your artwork to one spot-color ink
      7m 45s
    16. Recoloring artwork that contains gradients
      4m 17s
  9. 1h 21m
    1. How symbols work
      1m 2s
    2. The power of symbols
      5m 1s
    3. Creating new symbols
      6m 0s
    4. Enabling the new 9-slice scaling
      4m 24s
    5. Adjusting your 9-slice scaling guides
      6m 54s
    6. Previewing and acquiring symbols
      4m 12s
    7. Finding a symbol and creating an instance
      4m 13s
    8. Duplicating and replacing instances
      4m 19s
    9. Breaking a symbol link and envelope fidelity
      5m 26s
    10. Distorting and expanding a symbol
      4m 54s
    11. Updating an existing symbol definition
      3m 40s
    12. Recoloring a symbol definition
      4m 13s
    13. Applying a basic "local" color adjustment
      5m 20s
    14. Applying a more elaborate local color adjustment
      5m 4s
    15. Laying down a random symbol set
      5m 35s
    16. The eight symbolism tools
      6m 55s
    17. Editing selected instances
      4m 11s
  10. 1h 32m
    1. Illustrator needs Photoshop
      1m 1s
    2. Two ways to place a pixel-based image
      6m 6s
    3. Working with linked images
      6m 6s
    4. Linking versus embedding
      9m 38s
    5. Stroking and blending an image
      6m 16s
    6. Adding a clipping mask and page curl
      6m 51s
    7. Creating a blended border effect
      7m 10s
    8. Rasterizing your artwork in Photoshop
      8m 0s
    9. Saving a flat raster file from Photoshop
      4m 58s
    10. Restoring cropped border elements
      5m 39s
    11. Copying and pasting into Photoshop
      6m 27s
    12. Working with Photoshop Smart Objects
      5m 26s
    13. Adding a pixel-based layer effect
      4m 12s
    14. Editing a Vector Smart Object in Illustrator
      7m 20s
    15. Creating and placing a transparent image
      7m 1s
  11. 1h 15m
    1. The many forms of transparency
      1m 29s
    2. Real-world blending modes
      7m 57s
    3. Exporting transparency from Illustrator
      6m 24s
    4. Opacity and blending modes
      6m 18s
    5. The Darken and Lighten modes
      7m 17s
    6. The Contrast, Inversion, and HSL modes
      6m 12s
    7. Blending modes in action
      5m 11s
    8. Creating a knockout group
      6m 14s
    9. Confirming the viability of your artwork
      6m 8s
    10. Introducing the opacity mask
      4m 6s
    11. Making an opacity mask
      5m 25s
    12. Drawing inside an opacity mask
      3m 34s
    13. Creating a gradient opacity mask
      5m 29s
    14. Adding an opacity mask to a single object
      3m 22s
  12. 1m 13s
    1. Until next time
      1m 13s

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