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Creating a radial gradient

From: Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Creating a radial gradient

So far all the gradients that we have created have been linear gradients. Meaning, that they start at one color, end at another color; you can add as many colors in-between if you like. However, all the colors are arranged along a straight axis. There is another kind of gradient though that's available to you inside of Illustrator, and that's a radial gradient, in which the colors are arranged in concentric rings. I am going to show you how that works by assigning a radial gradient to the background behind the cat, as you see here in the finished Gradient cat.ai file. Let's go ahead and switch over to the illustration in progress; it's called highly polished cat.ai.

Creating a radial gradient

So far all the gradients that we have created have been linear gradients. Meaning, that they start at one color, end at another color; you can add as many colors in-between if you like. However, all the colors are arranged along a straight axis. There is another kind of gradient though that's available to you inside of Illustrator, and that's a radial gradient, in which the colors are arranged in concentric rings. I am going to show you how that works by assigning a radial gradient to the background behind the cat, as you see here in the finished Gradient cat.ai file. Let's go ahead and switch over to the illustration in progress; it's called highly polished cat.ai.

I am going to back off a little bit by zooming out, so I have a little room to work here. I am going to click on the big rectangle to select it with my Black Arrow key. Then I'll go over to the Gradient panel and I want to use the rich black that I've already assigned to fill inside my new gradient. So, I'll go ahead and grab this color swatch here in the Color panel and I'll drag it down to the gradient bar and drop it at the end right there. So I have a white to rich black gradient. As you can see the colors are arranged horizontally, that is along a horizontal axis. So what they really are is vertical strips of color at this point.

So we have a bunch of vertical lines of different shades in this case coursing from white on one side of the shape to black on the other side, to a rich black, that is. However, if you'd rather arrange your colors in concentric rings, then you just go to the Gradient panel and you switch from Linear to Radial, like so. Now, notice that the gradient begins in the center of the shape and ends near the outside of the shape and it actually ends with a gigantic circle as you're about to see. So, the first color is going to be at the center and the last color is going to be around the perimeter of that circle.

Typically, when you are creating radial gradients they start bright and they end dark. If yours is going the wrong direction then you can just click on the reverse gradient button, which is a heck of a tool. I just got to say, it's a really convenient option. Anyway, I am going to reset it to where it was before, and then I'm going to ahead and bring up my Gradient tool. As long as the shape is still selected I should see a gradient annotator. It looks a lot like the annotator we've seen so far, the one that's associated with the linear gradient. The big difference is that when you move inside of this giant circle you can see the perimeter of the gradient.

So this outside circle shows the location of all of the last colors, the entire big circle of the last color, and anything beyond that circle is just going to be rich black in our case. So, what I suggest we do is we go ahead and modify this circle a little bit. Now, you can drag the origin point, once again, the big circle there, in order to change the location of the entire gradient. I am going to leave it centered inside the backdrop and I am going to change both the angle and the location of the last color by dragging this diamond, which is the terminus, of course, of the gradient, and I am going to drag it up and over, at least that's what I'd like to do.

I am not changing the angle; I am just changing the positioning at this point. So, I'm just changing the location of that point, which actually works out pretty nicely. I can now see that the circle is every bit as large as the rectangle itself. Now, if you want to change the angle of the gradient then you go ahead and move your cursor slightly outside the terminus once again and you drag like so with that little rotate cursor. Going to notice, however, that that's not going to do anything. As long as you don't change the location of that point, then changing the angle doesn't have any effect on the gradient because after all you're changing the angle of a ginormous circle.

And a circle is always a circle regardless of its angle. So what we need to do if we want to get different results out of this is we need to bend the shape into an ellipse. You can do that by going up to this little icon right there. Notice that guy, that's sitting at the top of the circle, and it's angled over, which is why it's at its current location. Go ahead and drag that down like so and that will go ahead and slim the circle into an oval. You can determine the exact dimensions, that is at least the proportions of that ellipse, by changing this value right here inside the Gradient panel.

So, I might change it to 70% if I want absolute control over how big that ellipse is or at least numerical control. I am also going to change the angle to 135 degrees, which is going to send this line in exactly the opposite direction, or more or less the opposite direction, anyway. So that the gradient begins in the center of the rectangle and it ends down and to the left. Now, finally, I am going to do one more thing, and this applies only to radial gradients inside of Illustrator. I am going to go ahead and zoom in so I can better see what I am doing, and notice that next to the origin circle there is yet another circle, and that circle determines the center of our gradient, that is, the location at which the gradient truly begins and it allows you to offset that initial color with respect to the outside perimeter.

So let me show you what that looks like. As I drag up, and I've got to be careful at first when I am dragging because Illustrator has a tendency to make this line just go wonky as heck when you are right next to the origin point. But as you drag away you'll have a little more control. Then once you get that starting point to some place inside the ear you can go ahead and release. So, what's happening is now the center point of the gradient is offset with respect to the perimeter, so the perimeter's remained at exactly the same position. So if you drag this guy all the way up here you'd have quite the spotlight effect.

The gradient would race from this starting point to the endpoint right there and it would go very slowly from the starting point to the endpoint down and to left. Anyway, I don't want things to be quite that radical so I am going to move this point back inside the ear like so and release, and then I'll go ahead and zoom in. Then I'll press the V key to switch back to the Black Arrow tool, click off of the path in order to deselect it, and that is how you work with radial gradients inside Illustrator.

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This video is part of

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

153 video lessons · 28234 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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