Create multicolor gradients using swatches and impromptu colors.
- [Narrator] In this document, I want to create a gradient background that makes it look like it's twilight, like it's blue at the bottom and it's black at the top. I think that'll serve as a nice backdrop for this cathedral artwork, and it's a really nice opportunity for me to show you how you should create a gradient when it's going from a color to black. So I'm gonna start by getting my rectangle frame tool, making my frame. And because I'm going to be bouncing back and forth between my swatches panel and my gradient panel, I'm gonna pull my swatches panel loose so that we can look at both of them at the same time and my gradient panel as well.
So with this shape selected, I'm gonna make this gradient initially go from black to blue. So, there's the black end. And when I click that, you can see it's chosen this default gradient that just goes from black to white. So, I'm gonna change this little black stop. That's what you call these little guys. They're stops. By clicking on it, and you can't just click on the swatch. Let me show you what happens if you do. Ah, it makes the whole shape blue. If you're an Illustrator user, this is a little bit different in Illustrator. So, takes a modifier key to pull this off. So select the stop, find the swatch that you want to put at that stop, and then Option, or on Windows Alt click.
So I'm going to use this Pantone 2728. It's a bright blue. It's a nice black but look how anemic it looks in here. Now, we may have lost a little bit in video but especially if you're working along with me, you can see this happening on your own screen. There's this sort of gray area here, and it's not really very pretty. I'd like a nice rich black. So here's what I have to do. What's going on, and I can show you with separations preview, if I go to Window, Output, and Separations Preview. And I'll pull that out of the way. Under View, I'll turn on Separations.
If I turn off the black, you can see that the blue's 100% on the right but it fades off as it goes to the left. And the same thing's happening to the black. It's full-strength on the left and it's fading off to the right. So, where they're both fading off in the middle, well, things kind of fall apart. What I need on this end is not just 100 process black. I need this blue plus the black. So you can do that with a neat thing called a mixed ink swatch. Essentially we're gonna mix that Pantone 2728 with black.
To do that, go to your swatches panel. Go to the upper right-hand corner. Don't just choose New Color Swatch. Choose New Mixed Ink Swatch. And it's made just for this purpose. So, I'm just gonna call this blue+black. The hardest part of it is figuring out what you're gonna name it. I want it to consist of 100% black and 100% this Pantone 2728. So you can see these little ink bottles. And you could choose something other than 100%, so you have that flexibility, but we need it full strength, both colors for what we're going to do.
And I'll click OK. Now I'll come back to my gradient, click the black stop, and instead of it just being 100 black, it's going to be this blue+black. Oh, and notice this little icon here in the swatches panel that tells you that this is a mixed ink swatch. So again, I can't just click on it. I have to hold down Option or Alt. Now, see how much richer that looks? Of course, I want it to go from bottom to top. So I'm going to go over to my tool panel, get my gradient swatch tool, and then I'm just gonna drag from top to bottom. There, that was the look I was going for.
And there's a little surprise in here. If you go to your layers panel, you'll see that there's a layer called Stars. And when you turn that on, there are your little stars. So this is a nice thing to know anytime you're using spot colors and black and you're creating a gradient. But I want to point out that this is useful approach even if you aren't using spot colors. So let's say that what I decided to do was create a gradient that consists of a process color and black. So, very easy. I still have my frame selected, so I can show you this immediately.
In my gradient panel, I'm gonna change my spot blue to this process blue. Again, I'm gonna hold down Option or Alt. Now it's going to that blue+black, but let's pretend that what we're doing here is not using spot blue at all. So, back to my black stop, and I'll switch it back to paper. And again, you can see that graying effect. What I need up here is a combination of the blue values down here and the 100 black. So in my swatches panel, I'm gonna choose the blue. First I'm gonna deselect my frame.
Choose the blue, down at the bottom I'm going to duplicate it, double-click on it, and then for its recipe all I do is just drag that black all the way to the right. And again, what I'm doing is I'm taking my basic blue values, adding 100 black, and that's gonna be the dark end of my gradient. So, I'll select my frame again and then I'll select my gradient panel. Click on the black stop, and instead of just plain old black, it's going to be this rich black. See, see how much richer that looks? So keep this in mind anytime you make a gradient that goes from a color to black.
Have the black end be not just 100 K. Have it be black plus whatever the value is on the other end of your gradient. And remember, if you're doing this with spot colors, you have make that mixed ink first and then you use that for the dark end of your gradient. I hope you found this helpful.
- Communicating with your printer
- Understanding types of printing: letterpress, sheet-fed, and more
- Handling corrections and alterations
- Attending press checks
- Understanding how color space and paper stock affect printing
- Finishing: folding, trimming, die cutting, and embossing
- Working with fonts and graphics
- Editing resolution and color in Photoshop
- Laying out print pieces in Illustrator and InDesign
- Preflighting designs
- Generating PDFs
- Refining PDFs in Adobe Acrobat
- Submitting the job