Join Tony Harmer for an in-depth discussion in this video The gradient annotator, part of Illustrator CC 2018 Essential Training.
- [Instructor] In the previous movie, we applied a few gradients to this aerial perspective style scene in here. Mine isn't meeting my aesthetic requirements just at the time being. It is very, very functional, and I'm hoping I can do something about it in the course of this movie, but I'm willing to bet, because you've got a bit more time to do it yours looks awesome. I hope so, anyway. So the gradient annotator will only appear if there is a gradient applied to a fill, okay.
It's not like Photoshop where you can just draw it, because that's just painting on pixels. This is affecting the appearance of an object. Let's introduce ourselves to it by selecting something that has a gradient as a fill, such as the near distance object here in our scene. If you tap G, that activates the gradient tool and the annotator will appear. I'm just going to move the gradient panel out of the way for the moment, don't want to dismiss it because I'm using it.
And here is the annotator. If I hover over it, you'll see it bears a striking resemblance to the color ramp used inside the gradient panel. That's because it's exactly the same thing. And it's showing how this gradient is drawn from left to right of this object. And I can change that. For example, if I wanted to go the other way, if I go from the bottom here and drag upwards, you'll see the annotator redraws and so does the gradient.
I don't have to start or finish inside the object, so for example if I moved up to the top here and dragged down into the shape it will draw me that gradient like so, and that's quite effective, I think, I might actually use something like that in a moment. So it's very easy for me to change the angle of my gradient, which essentially is what I'm doing, and if you're eagle eyed, you've no doubt noticed that already in the angle field inside of the gradient panel.
So what else can I do with the annotator? Well, I can change where color stops are. So I can drag the stop here, along, you'll see it changes also inside the panel. And that's a really interactive way to model a gradient based on the object that it's applied to. Very, very cool that I can do that. I can even change the blend midpoints here. So if I push this one right out towards the left, you can't go to anything closer than 13% of 0 or maximum here, so 13 and 87 are as far as you can go, but you can see I've got this nice, soft blend, now working out that way.
I'm going to hold down the Command key or the Control key to temporarily access my selection tool and click on the mid-distance now, and this is a different gradient, running across the whole thing again, and if I wanted to, once more, I could bring that in like so, and change how that's drawn. Maybe if I start from the top, here, this is all good practice to be had. In fact, now I'm less enamored with those actual colors, so what I'm going to do is remove the bottom stop.
I can simply drag that away from the annotator, like so, and then bring this stop down to the end or leave it where it is, it doesn't really matter. Basically it's saying, go from this color here to this color, and then carry on doing that color until you get to the very end. That's kind of how it works, and again I can change the blend midpoint, in fact I actually want a different color, so I'm going to double click on the stop just there, and I'll choose something that's a bit darker, just there, maybe something like this, that's perhaps a bit too dark, but I'm going to go with it.
And then on the other end, I'll double click that one as well, and change that. So completely different colors, there, I can even mix them in situ, if I swap out over to the color options inside of here, I could actually mix new ones. If I wanted this to be more red, for example, or if I wanted to move all of the sliders at once, I can hold down the Shift key to kind of model that color. Maybe redder, but darker, like that, there you go, nice and easy to do. Very simple for me to modify everything about that, the annotator's really awesome.
Now if you want to, on your own file, what we're going to do is just finish off here with the linear gradients by modeling the one at the very back. And we're going to do something very cool with this, so I'm going to hold down the Command key and select the far distance mountains, just there. And what I'm going to do is remove that middle point of the gradient. I'll do it here inside of the gradient panel, although you could have equally done that inside of the annotator. By the way, while I'm hovering over it, you might notice there's a cursor there with a plus next to it.
If you're thinking, could I add a gradient stop at that particular point, the answer is yes you can. If you needed to, you can add one like so. You can also remove them, as you saw a moment ago. So now I've got a gradient that goes from one color to another color, in fact I'm going to change both colors here, I'm going to make them both quite light, because this is in the far distance of course. Okay, and we'll crank it up a notch from where we should be, really, in an essentials course, by introducing something else awesome.
And that is opacity, which we can apply to a stop. I've got the stop on the right hand side here targeted, you can see that because it's highlighted differently to the one on the other end. I'm now going to go to this opacity drop down here and choose 0% like so, so it's going from one color to the same color, but the color is now at completely transparent on that side, or 0% opacity. If I drag upwards, like so, and suddenly it starts to look a lot more convincing, because you've got these things fading into the haze of the background.
Now on your own, if you want to try doing that with this guy, and seeing how far you can get with it, then please do that, and I'd be happy to see that sent to me via Twitter or my Facebook page if you do that so I can have a look at how far you've gone. Just to wrap up this particular movie, though, we're going to work on this radial gradient with the gradient annotator. It takes a slightly different form here. So what I'm going to do is tap G to get the annotator. Now it works around a radius, and you can see as I move this around, I'm changing where the center of the gradient is.
I can change the size of the gradient by pulling this handle in and out, or the small icon on the left hand side of the ring there. I can make this more elliptical and less circular by dragging this in, like so, and I can actually rotate that around, so there are tons of options. And there's one tucked away hidden one. This little circle down at the bottom here allows you to offset the gradient. Look at that, fantastic, it's like a real sense of actual depth there with that.
I love it, really, really cool that you can do that. I should have put a planet in there, that would have worked very, very well for that, it's a bit like a shadow more than a radiation. So what I'm going to do here is the same as I've done, pretty much, with the mountains just here. I'm going to double click one of these swatches, make it the same as the one on the other end, drop the opacity here down to 0%, just type 0 in that field, and hit return. So now that's completely transparent there. I can flip the gradient over, okay, like so, so it goes from the yellow to transparent there, like so.
Probably a good idea to recenter that gradient and also to kind of pull that back so it's not offset. And then what I can do is stretch this out, like so, and keep going, and then you start to get a sense of that actually being involved in an atmosphere. Well, sort of, anyway. There you go, that's the gradient annotator. In the next movie, we're going to move on to working with strokes.
- 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
Skill Level Beginner
Q: This course was updated on 05/04/2018. What changed?
A: New videos were added that cover modifying Anchor Display and opening PDF files in Illustrator.