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Creating and editing gradients

From: Up and Running with Illustrator

Video: Creating and editing gradients

In this exercise we'll take a look at Gradients, which are fills that gradually transition from one color to another. I am working inside a file called Fearless.ai. And I want to start things off by assigning a gradient to all three of these red stripes. So I'll click on one of them to select it. And then to select the other two I'll go up to the Select Similar Objects icon in the Control panel. Click the down-pointing arrowhead next to it and choose All. And, by the way, that doesn't mean select all objects that are the same, that means select those objects that share all attributes, all fill and stroke attributes in common with each other; which ends up selecting all three red stripes.

Creating and editing gradients

In this exercise we'll take a look at Gradients, which are fills that gradually transition from one color to another. I am working inside a file called Fearless.ai. And I want to start things off by assigning a gradient to all three of these red stripes. So I'll click on one of them to select it. And then to select the other two I'll go up to the Select Similar Objects icon in the Control panel. Click the down-pointing arrowhead next to it and choose All. And, by the way, that doesn't mean select all objects that are the same, that means select those objects that share all attributes, all fill and stroke attributes in common with each other; which ends up selecting all three red stripes.

Now I'll go ahead and select my Gradient tool here in the toolbox, which you also get by pressing the G key and then click inside each one of the stripes in order to fill it with a gradient. Now notice that I am seeing three horizontal bars across my graphic those are what are known as gradient annotators inside of Illustrator. Having independent annotators like this, one annotator for each one of the selected objects is great, if I want to fill each one of the objects with a completely different gradient. However, I want all three to be filled with the exact same gradient.

You have two different ways to achieve this; one is you can just set in dragging with a Gradient tool like so in order to define a single annotator. The problem with that approach is it's not as flexible as the one I am about to show you. So this approach has a few problems. I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to undo that change. Here is the better approach. Go to the Object menu, choose Compound Path and choose Make. That goes ahead and combines all three of these stripes into what's known as a compound path, so that they all share the exact same attributes.

So I'll go ahead and choose that command and notice we now have a single annotator and nothing more. All right! Let's take a look at this annotator, when I hover over it notice you can see the color is assigned to the gradient. When I move my cursor away, we have a circle that begins the gradient and over here on the other side we have a square that ends it. If you hover your cursor nearer that square, you'll get a little rotate cursor which allows you to change the angle of the gradient just by dragging, like so. I am also going to move the entire gradient by dragging the tip of it.

Notice that doesn't change the length of the gradient, it changes the location of that gradient bar. And then I'll go ahead and elongate the gradient slightly by dragging the square over to the right. All right! Now I want to change the color assigned to my gradient. So I'll hover over that annotator. Notice I see these little wedge-shaped color stops. I'll double-click on the white stop in order to bring up. In this case the color panel. I want to switchover to my swatches, so I'll click on Swatches over here on the left-hand list. And then I'll select this bright shade of red, and you know, I am going to do the exact same thing for this ending color swatch over here.

I'll double-click on it and I'll change its color to red. Now you might regard that it's fairly insane I creating a gradient from red to red which isn't a gradient at all, but I am going to add another color stop right here in the middle. So I'll go ahead and press the Enter key or the Return key in the Mac to hide that panel. Notice if you hover anywhere along the gradient annotator your cursor shows a little Plus sign and that indicates that if you click at a spot, you'll add a color stop right there. All right! Now I'll double-click on that new color stop and I'll change it to yellow.

So we now have what's known as a linear gradient that extends from red to yellow and back to red. All right! Now I want to assign a gradient of that circle around the star. I'll go ahead and switch back to my Selection tool. Then I'll click on a circle in order to select it and now I'll return to my Gradient tool and I'll go ahead and click inside the circle in order to assign the last applied gradient. Now that doesn't happen to be what I want at all. I am going to start things off by getting rid of that yellow, right there in the middle. I'll just drag it away from the gradient annotator and it disappears.

Then I'll double-click, the color stop at the beginning of the gradient and change it to white and I'll double- click the color stop at the end of the gradient and I'll change it to this dark blue, which matches the color assigned to the background incidentally. Now right now I've got a linear gradient, meaning that it transitions from one color to another in a linear direction. I want instead a radial gradient. And to switch out to a radial gradient you go up to the Window menu and you chose Gradient, to bring up the GRADIENT panel. Then you change the Type, in our case, from Linear to Radial.

In order to produce a gradient that transitions in concentric circles. All right! That's pretty good, but it's not exactly what I want. At this point I could go ahead and move the gradient around inside the shape but I want to change the position of the starting color in the gradient white; without affecting the location of the blue around the parameter. And you do that by dragging this second little circle the one over to left here. Go ahead and drag it to a different position like so, and notice that, that creates a non-proportional transition.

So in other words, the gradient is dark blue all the way around the parameter of the circle and transitions very slowly across the bottom right area, but very quickly in the upper left region. Just a couple of more modifications; I want to duplicate that ending color and I am going to do that by Alt+dragging that color stop a couple of times. And so we now have the three blues altogether around the parameter of the shape. I am going to change that middle blue to something darker by double-clicking on it.

And then I'll switch to my Color panel and I'll increase the contribution of Black. I'll take it up to about 70%), you don't want to take it too high. Typically you don't want the values to add up to any more than 300% inside of Illustrator, because then your ink might smear when you go to print the document, and that's it. I'll go ahead and press the Enter key or the Return key on a Mac. Switch back to my Selection tool. Click off the shape and that is how you create gradients, using the Gradient tool as well as a Gradient Annotator here inside Illustrator.

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Up and Running with Illustrator

26 video lessons · 20317 viewers

Deke McClelland
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