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Sometimes when I think of gradients, I think of Microsoft PowerPoint. You know, you slap a bunch of type on a slide and then that seems a little boring. So you put a gradient in the background, because it's colorful. Or maybe there's a wall back there that's shaded, where the sun is rising or something. I mean what's that gradient supposed to be, other than this thing you didn't use to be able to do with an overhead projector? My point is, gradients are wildly overused by folks who don't have even the most rudimentary design experience. Nothing against those people.
They can be quite self-deprecating on the subject, but they cannot be forgiven, because they are ruining the good name of gradients. See, when properly employed, gradients are amazing resources. They impart dimension, they suggest light sources, they add shading and highlights and volumetric form, and darn it, Illustrator not only rocks at gradients, but it offers the best gradient tool in the business. You can even blend multiple interacting gradients inside a single path outline, as we will by the way. So PowerPoint, do us all a favor and stop calling what you do gradients. Flowing, fountainous backgrounds, that's fine.
You can call it that, but please, leave the gradients to Illustrator.
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