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Introducing the new Gradient tool

From: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Introducing the new Gradient tool

In this exercise I'm going to introduce you to the new and improved Gradient tool inside of Illustrator CS4. I've gone ahead and saved my progress as Textured cushion.ai. Now that I've gone ahead and assigned the desired gradient and texture to this paddle cushion, I want to go ahead and apply a gradient to the background green. If we take a look at the Final gradient effect.ai file, you can see that we have this rich lustrous background going on. Not so much as if the paddle is sitting on top of the ping-pong table, almost as if it's sitting on top of a pool table or something. That's just gorgeous.

Introducing the new Gradient tool

In this exercise I'm going to introduce you to the new and improved Gradient tool inside of Illustrator CS4. I've gone ahead and saved my progress as Textured cushion.ai. Now that I've gone ahead and assigned the desired gradient and texture to this paddle cushion, I want to go ahead and apply a gradient to the background green. If we take a look at the Final gradient effect.ai file, you can see that we have this rich lustrous background going on. Not so much as if the paddle is sitting on top of the ping-pong table, almost as if it's sitting on top of a pool table or something. That's just gorgeous.

Anyway, we can accomplish this effect using gradients of course, and there is actually two gradients working together, a Linear Gradient and a Radial Gradient, applied to the same object here. We're going to start with the Linear Gradient, so I'm going to return to the Textured cushion.ai file, and I'm going to zoom out a bit here. I'm going to select this rectangle right there. That's that work in the background, and let's go ahead and use the green that's assigned to this rectangle as the base color for our new gradient.

So we'll do that. Right now I've got the Gradient palette showing my red gradient right there. That's fine. I don't care. I'm going to go ahead and grab my green color swatch here inside the Color palette, so I'll grab the green swatch and I'll drag it and drop it on the left side of the gradient bar in order to replace that red with green, and now we're fading to red, which is entirely wrong. That's okay. Now I'm going to show you how to work with the Gradient tool. Now that we've assigned a gradient to the shape, we can modify that gradient using the Gradient tool. It's right here. Notice it has a keyboard shortcut of G. It's been with us inside of Illustrator for a long, long time now. However, this version of the tool inside of Illustrator CS4 is so different from the previous version as to be called new. It really is for all intents and purposes a new tool inside of Illustrator CS4.

So go ahead and select it. We have this line that's showing us the direction of the gradient. So the circle marks the beginning of the gradient right there. Notice if you hover over this line, it's going to turn into a gradient bar, complete with color stops and so on. So the circle represents the beginning of the gradient, and the diamond represents the end of the gradient. If you move your cursor off of that diamond, it turns into a square, sort of oddly. Some of the behavior that's associated with this line, I don't really care for, but generally speaking, it's a vast improvement over the old days.

But here is what you've got to do. You start things off by angling the line, in our case, because I want the gradient to extend from the upper left corner of the rectangle, from exactly that corner, by the way, to the lower right corner of the rectangle. So I need to change the angle of my gradient, and I do that by moving my cursor very close to but not totally over the square, the end of the gradient. It doesn't work over here on the beginning of the gradient. You can't angle over on this side. You have to angle over on this side. So look for the square, move your cursor close to it, and then start to drag in, once you get that rotate cursor.

Now, you're going to get this kind of weird effect right here, where you're moving the line off the screen, and you've got this weird dotted rectangle going on. The weird dotted rectangle is a thing you want to pay attention to, and specifically, you want to pay attention to the opposite parallel line, in other words, the dotted line that's parallel to the line that you're drawing, because that's where your line is really going to go. This is kind of a confusing item, but once you get used to it, it makes sense, but keep an eye on where that dotted line is and release, and notice the line will move to the dotted position, see that. So it goes ahead and snaps up to that dotted position, because that represents the full extension of the gradient.

Now what I'm going to do is I'm going to drag the circle, and when you drag the circle, you don't stretch the gradient, notice that you actually move the gradient, you move the entire gradient to a new location, and again, you want to keep an eye on that dotted line, because that indicates where the gradient bar is really going to rest once you release it. Then if you want to extend the gradient, make it longer or shorter, then you drag the diamond, like so, so you can either extend the gradient one direction or shrink it the other direction, like that. I want it to be long enough to cover the entire rectangle, corner to corner, so this looks pretty good. I need to do a little more rotating, so I'll go ahead and drag very close to that square/ diamond thing right there, and again, I'm keeping an eye on the dotted line, release when I have it in place, and this looks good to me.

What doesn't look good of course is the color of the gradient, and I'll show you how to change the color using the Gradient tool 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 · 21461 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  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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