Join Tony Harmer for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating and using gradient fills, part of Illustrator CC 2018 Essential Training.
- [Instructor] This chapter is all about working with fills and strokes, and as you're quite likely used to working with solid colors by now, we're going to begin with gradient fills. I'm working in one of the exercise files here, which you may well have access to. Don't worry, if not. Any file of your own will do. It's kind of an aerial perspective style landscape with some foliage in the front, all split out onto layers.
And all of the layers are available apart from the one at the front. That one's locked off. As you can see, it's the current layer here, but any of these will become the current layer by targeting them like so. Okay, so what we're going to do to apply a gradient is, first of all, click on the sky in the background here, and let's go out to the Fill in the Properties panel. And I've cunningly removed all of the gradients here bar one, so we're going to mix all of our gradients.
Click on this white black gradient like so, and you'll see it starts transitioning from white to black horizontally. It's because the zero point for things in Illustrator is usually the right-hand side. And down here inside of the new and improved swatches shortcut, you've got Gradient Options, which will open the Gradient panel for us. And that's where we're going to be working, so we'll keep that active while we're doing so. So this is a linear gradient progressing along a line like so, and these are color stops, just here.
So if I double-click on one of these, I can change the nature of that stop. Here, I can mix a color because my palette is targeted on the left-hand side here. But if I want to, I can pick from the document swatches. Well, let's inject some color, so I'm just going to choose kind of a light blue here to start off with. And then I'll make my way over to the right-hand stop and double-click on that, and I'll choose a slightly darker blue for now.
And then I'm going to change the angle of this. There's an angle field just here, and, don't worry, there is a more interactive way for us to do this. So I'm going to change this to 90 degrees, like so. And so now the gradient is being drawn actually from the bottom up to the top, okay? Let's move on to the next object. So select the mountains in the far distance there, and we'll add another gradient. Now, we can do that in a few different ways, but because the Gradient panel is here and active, just click on the swatch at the top left of the Gradient panel to apply it.
But we'll mix a brand new one here, so we'll start off with a light color on the left-hand side. Let's go for one of these browns just here. Of course, you can go with whatever color you fancy. You don't have to stick to what I'm doing. And on the right-hand side, a slightly darker one, like that, maybe even darker than that. And, in fact, do you know what, I think I'm going to go for a light one as well, so it's going to go from light to dark to light. So I'm going to bring this swatch out to the middle. And I could click over here and create a new swatch like so, or a new stop.
I just drag that out of the way to remove it. Here's a trick. If I hold down the Alt or Option key, I can drag a stop, and it copies across like so. And, as you can see behind, it now goes from light to dark to light. I'd actually like to reverse that, because there's going to be this sun object just here, so we can do that by clicking Reverse Gradient in the panel, like so, and it will swap it out. Now, because that was closer to the middle, probably not what I expected.
So I'm just going to move the sliders around. I'm going to Alt-drag one of the darker ones, remove one of the lighter ones, and then just reposition them manually, like so. There you go. Now I'm getting it exactly what I was after. There are these blending stops above, these small diamonds, and they allow me to move this and change the severity of the blend. And I think I'll just make it go much more towards the middle in both cases, just there, maybe just a bit further over for this one, if I'm lining it up.
And I think I'll save this gradient for use later. To do that, you simply go up to the swatch at the top here, click the arrow to access the menu, and then click Add to Swatches, and it creates you a new gradient swatch, and, in fact, that will be available here inside the Swatches panel. Click through to the next one, and, again, we can just add a simple gradient. We'll use another shortcut this time. First of all, check your toolbox. Make sure that the solid square is in front, because you can apply gradients to strokes as well as fills.
If it isn't, if it's behind as mine is just now, tap X on your keyboard to swap it over, and then hit the period or full stop key on your keyboard, and that's another way to rapidly apply a gradient. And so what I want to do here with the stops is essentially darken these up. So I'm going to double-click on the swatch on the left-hand side, choose a darker brown there. Again, on the right-hand side, choose a darker brown there, and in the middle, choose a darker brown, just there, so it's getting darker as it comes towards me.
And then, finally, let's do one for the near ground, or the near distance here, and, again, add swatch for that, and this can become properly dark here. We can go out to these on the side, like so, and in the middle, do something that's much closer to that, so it's much softer in terms of gradient. So those things are okay at the moment. We just need one more in, and that's the one for the sun object at the top. So I'm going to click there, and we'll create a new gradient, so tap the period key on your keyboard.
Don't worry too much about the colors. We only need perhaps two in here. So on the right-hand side, I'm going to choose a very, very light yellow. And then on the left-hand side, I'll choose something that's much closer to orange, and I'll change the type to Radial. Perfect, that'll do just fine for now. In the next movie, we're going to build on that, and I'll introduce you to the gradient annotator.
- What is Illustrator?
- Navigating documents
- Saving a custom workspace
- Working with multiple artboards
- Creating and deleting layers
- Drawing shapes
- Transforming objects
- Adding fills and strokes
- Working with color
- Creating complex shapes, such as compound shapes
- Working with type
- Editing graphics
- Adding content to CC Libraries
- Printing and exporting artwork