Adobe Illustrator CC Classroom in a Book 2015 release (2016)

10. Gradients, Blends, and Patterns

Lesson overview

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to do the following:

• Create and save a gradient fill.

• Apply and edit a gradient on a stroke.

• Apply and edit a radial gradient.

• Add colors to a gradient.

• Adjust the direction of a gradient.

• Adjust the opacity of color in a gradient.

• Blend the shapes of objects in intermediate steps.

• Create smooth color blends between objects.

• Modify a blend and its path, shape, and color.

• Create and paint with patterns.

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This lesson takes approximately 60 minutes to complete.

Download the project files for this lesson from the Lesson & Update Files tab on your Account page at www.peachpit.com and store them on your computer in a convenient location, as described in the “Getting Started” section of this book.

Your Account page is also where you’ll find any updates to the chapters or to the lesson files. Look on the Lesson & Update Files tab to access the most current content.

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To add texture and interest to your artwork in Illustrator, you can apply gradient fills, which are graduated blends of two or more colors, patterns, and blends of shapes and colors. In this lesson, you’ll explore how to work with each of these to complete a project.

Getting started

In this lesson, you’ll explore various ways to work with gradients, blend shapes and colors, and also create and apply patterns.

Before you begin, you’ll restore the default preferences for Adobe Illustrator CC. Then you’ll open the finished art file for this lesson to see what you’ll create.

1. To ensure that the tools and panels function exactly as described in this lesson, delete or deactivate (by renaming) the Adobe Illustrator CC preferences file. See “Restoring default preferences” in the “Getting Started” section at the beginning of the book.


Image Note

If you have not already downloaded the project files for this lesson to your computer from your Account page, make sure to do so now. See the “Getting Started” section at the beginning of this book.


2. Start Adobe Illustrator CC.

3. Choose File > Open, and open the L10_end.ai file in the Lessons > Lesson10 folder on your hard disk.

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4. Choose View > Zoom Out to make the finished artwork smaller, if you want to leave it on your screen as you work. (Use the Hand tool [Image] to move the artwork where you want it in the window.) If you don’t want to leave the document open, choose File > Close.

To begin working, you’ll open an existing art file.

5. Choose File > Open. If a panel appears, click Open in the panel. You could also choose File > Open again. In the Open dialog box, navigate to the Lessons > Lesson10 folder and select the L10_start.ai file on your hard disk. Click Open to open the file.

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6. Choose View > Fit Artboard In Window.

7. Choose File > Save As, name the file Sailing.ai, and select the Lesson10 folder in the Save As menu. Leave the Format option set to Adobe Illustrator (ai) (Mac OS) or the Save As Type option set to Adobe Illustrator (*.AI) (Windows), and then click Save.

8. In the Illustrator Options dialog box, leave the Illustrator options at their default settings, and then click OK.

9. Choose Reset Essentials from the workspace switcher in the Application bar.


Image Note

If you don’t see Reset Essentials in the workspace switcher menu, choose Window > Workspace > Essentials before choosing Window > Workspace > Reset Essentials.


Working with gradients

gradient fill is a graduated blend of two or more colors, and it always includes a starting color and an ending color. You can create different types of gradient fills in Illustrator, including linear, in which the beginning color blends into the ending color along a line, and radial, in which the beginning color radiates outward, from the center point to the ending color. You can use the gradients provided with Adobe Illustrator CC or create your own gradients and save them as swatches for later use.

You can use the Gradient panel (Window > Gradient) or the Gradient tool (Image) to apply, create, and modify gradients. In the Gradient panel, the Gradient Fill or Stroke box displays the current gradient colors and gradient type applied to the fill or stroke of an object.

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A. Gradient
B. Fill box/Stroke box
C. Reverse Gradient
D. Gradient midpoint
E. Gradient slider
F. Color stop
G. Opacity
H. Location
I. Gradient type
J. Stroke gradient type
K. Angle
L. Aspect ratio
M. Delete Stop


Image Note

The Gradient panel you see will not match the figure, and that’s okay.


In the Gradient panel under the gradient slider, the leftmost gradient stop labeled “F” in the previous figure is also called a color stop. This marks the starting color; the right gradient stop marks the ending color. A gradient color stop is the point at which a gradient changes from one color to the next. You can add more color stops by clicking below the gradient slider, and double-clicking a color stop opens a panel where you can choose a color from swatches, color sliders, or the eyedropper.

Applying a linear gradient to a fill

With the simplest, two-color linear gradient, the starting color (leftmost color stop) blends into the ending color (rightmost color stop) along a line. To begin the lesson, you’ll create a gradient fill for the yellow background shape to simulate a blue sky.

1. Using the Selection tool (Image), click to select the large yellow rectangle in the background.

2. Change the Fill color to the gradient swatch named “White, Black” in the Control panel. The default black-and-white gradient is applied to the fill of the selected background shape.

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Editing a gradient

Next, you’ll edit the colors in the default black and white gradient you applied.

1. Open the Gradient panel (Window > Gradient), and perform the following:

• Make sure that the Fill box is selected (circled in the figure).

• Double-click the white, leftmost gradient stop to select the starting color of the gradient (an arrow is pointing to it in the figure).

• Click the Swatches button (Image) in the panel that appears.

• Click to select the light-gray swatch named “Sky 1.”

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2. Press the Escape key or click in a blank area of the Gradient panel to close the Swatches panel.

3. In the Gradient panel, perform the following:

• Double-click the black color stop on the right side of the gradient slider to edit the color in the Gradient panel (circled in the figure). In the panel that appears, click the Color button (Image) to open the Color panel.

• Click the menu icon (Image), and choose CMYK from the menu, if CMYK values aren’t showing.

• Change the CMYK values to C=40, M=4, Y=10, and K=0.

• After entering the last value, click in a blank area of the Gradient panel to return to the Gradient panel.

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Image Tip

To move between text fields, press the Tab key. Press Enter or Return to apply the last value typed.


The following figure shows the gradient so far.

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Saving a gradient

Next, you’ll save the gradient in the Swatches panel.

1. Click the Gradient menu arrow (Image) to the left of the word “Type,” and then click the Add To Swatches button (Image) at the bottom of the panel that appears.

The Gradient menu lists all the default and saved gradients that you can apply.

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Image Tip

Like most things in Illustrator, there is more than one method for saving a gradient swatch. You can also save a gradient by selecting an object with a gradient fill or stroke, clicking the Fill box or Stroke box in the Swatches panel (whichever the gradient is applied to), and then clicking the New Swatch button (Image) at the bottom of the Swatches panel.


2. Click the Swatches panel icon (Image) on the right side of the workspace to open the Swatches panel. In the Swatches panel, double-click the “New Gradient Swatch 1” thumbnail to open the Swatch Options dialog box.

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3. In the Swatch Options dialog box, type Sky in the Swatch Name field, and then click OK.

4. Click the Show Swatch Kinds Menu button (Image) at the bottom of the Swatches panel, and choose Show Gradient Swatches from the menu to display only gradient swatches in the Swatches panel.

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The Swatches panel lets you sort colors based on type. So if you want to only show gradient swatches in the panel, for instance, you can temporarily sort the swatches in the panel.

5. With the rectangle still selected on the artboard, apply some of the different gradients to the shape fill by selecting them in the Swatches panel.

6. Click the gradient named “Sky” (the one you just saved) in the Swatches panel to make sure it is applied before continuing to the next step.

7. Click the Show Swatch Kinds Menu button (Image) at the bottom of the Swatches panel, and choose Show All Swatches from the menu.

8. Choose File > Save, and leave the rectangle selected.

Adjusting a linear gradient fill

Once you have painted an object with a gradient, you can adjust the direction, the origin, and the beginning and end points of the gradient using the Gradient tool.

Now you’ll adjust the gradient fill in the background shape.

1. Select the Gradient tool (Image) in the Tools panel.

With the Gradient tool, you can apply a gradient to the fill of an object or edit an existing gradient fill. Notice the horizontal gradient annotator (bar) that appears in the middle of the rectangle. The bar indicates the direction of the gradient. The larger circle on the left shows the starting point of the gradient (the first color stop), and the smaller square on the right is the ending point (the last color stop).

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Image Tip

You can hide the gradient annotator (bar) by choosing View > Hide Gradient Annotator. To show it again, choose View > Show Gradient Annotator.


2. Position the pointer over the bar in the gradient annotator.

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Image Note

If you move the pointer to different areas of the gradient slider, the appearance of the pointer may change. This indicates that different functionality has been activated.


The bar turns into the gradient slider, much like the one found in the Gradient panel. You can use the gradient slider to edit the gradient without opening the Gradient panel.

3. With the Gradient tool, Shift-click the top of the artboard and drag down to the bottom of the artboard to change the position and direction of the starting and ending colors of the gradient in the background rectangle. Release the mouse button, and then release the key.

Holding down the Shift key constrains the gradient to 45-degree angles.

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4. With the Gradient tool, Shift-click below the bottom of the artboard, and drag up to just past the top of the artboard to change the position and direction of the starting and ending colors of the gradient in the background rectangle. Release the mouse button, and then release the key.

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5. With the Gradient tool, position the pointer just off the small white square at the top of the gradient annotator. A rotation icon (Image) appears. Drag to the right to rotate the gradient in the rectangle, and then release the mouse button.

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6. Double-click the Gradient tool in the Tools panel to show the Gradient panel. Ensure that the Fill box is selected in the panel (circled in the figure), and then change the rotation angle in the Angle field to 80 and press Enter or Return.

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Image Note

Entering the gradient rotation in the Gradient panel, rather than adjusting it directly on the artboard, is useful when you want to achieve consistency and precision.


7. Choose Object > Lock > Selection to lock the rectangle.

8. Choose File > Save.

Applying a linear gradient to a stroke

You can also apply a gradient blend to the stroke of an object. Unlike a gradient applied to the fill of an object, you cannot use the Gradient tool to edit a gradient on the stroke of an object. A gradient on a stroke, however, has more options available in the Gradient panel than a gradient fill. Next, you will add a series of colors to a stroke gradient to create a frame for the artwork.

1. Select the Selection tool (Image) in the Tools panel, and click the red stroke on the edge of the artboard to select that rectangle. Choose 18 pt from the Stroke Weight menu in the Control panel.

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2. Click the Stroke box at the bottom of the Tools panel, and click the Gradient box below the Fill box to apply the last used gradient (the light gray to blue for the rectangle fill).

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Image Note

Depending on the resolution of your screen, you may see a double-column Tools panel.


3. Click the word “Transform” or X, Y, W, or H in the Control panel to show the Transform panel. Make sure that Constrain Width And Height Proportions is turned off (Image) and that the center point of the reference point locator (Image) is selected. Change Width to 14.75 in and Height to6.25 in.

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Image Note

Depending on the resolution of your screen, the Transform options may appear directly in the Control panel.


This will ensure that the stroke fits within the bounds of the artboard.

4. Select the Zoom tool (Image) in the Tools panel, and drag across the upper-right corner of the selected rectangle to zoom in to it.

Edit a gradient on a stroke

For a gradient on a stroke, you can choose how to align the gradient to the stroke: within, along, or across. In this section, you’ll explore how to align to a stroke and also edit the colors of the gradient.

1. In the Gradient panel, click the Stroke box (if not already selected) circled in the following figure to edit the gradient applied to the stroke. Leave Type as Linear, and click the Apply Gradient Across Stroke button (Image) to change the gradient type.


Image Note

You can apply a gradient to a stroke in three ways: within a stroke (default) (Image), along a stroke (Image), and across a stroke (Image).


2. Double-click the blue color stop on the right, and click the Swatches button (Image) to show the swatches. Click to select the swatch named “Border 2.” Click outside the panel to accept the selection.

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3. Double-click the leftmost color stop (the white color), and with the Swatches button (Image) selected, click to select the swatch named “Border 3.” Press the Escape key to hide the swatches and return to the Gradient panel.

4. Position the pointer below the color ramp and between the two color stops, to add another color stop. When the pointer with a plus sign (Image) appears, click to add another color stop like you see in the middle part of the following figure.

5. Double-click that new color stop and, with the swatches selected (Image), click the swatch named “Border 1.” Press the Escape key to hide the swatches and return to the Gradient panel.

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6. With the color stop still selected, change the Location to 80%.

For the next few steps, you’ll discover how to add more colors to the gradient by dragging copies of color stops in the Gradient panel.

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7. Pressing the Option (Mac OS) or Alt (Windows) key, drag the selected (middle) color stop to the left (closer to the leftmost color stop), release the mouse button when you see roughly 25% in the Location value, and then release the modifier key. See the first part of the following figure.


Image Tip

You can delete a color in the color ramp by selecting a color stop and clicking the Delete Stop button (Image) or by dragging the color stop downward and out of the Gradient panel. Remember that the gradient must contain at least two colors!


8. Pressing the Option (Mac OS) or Alt (Windows) key, drag the rightmost (Border 3) color stop to the left. Release the mouse button, and then release the modifier key when it is positioned at roughly 35%, as you see in the second part of the following figure.

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9. Choose Select > Deselect, and then choose File > Save.

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Applying a radial gradient to artwork

As previously noted, with a radial gradient, the starting color (leftmost color stop) of the gradient defines the center point of the fill, which radiates outward to the ending color (rightmost color stop).

Next, you will create and apply a radial gradient fill to the windows of the ship (called portholes).

1. Choose View > Fit Artboard In Window.

2. With the Zoom tool (Image) selected, drag from left to right across the white ellipse, below the red sails on the ship, to zoom in very closely.

3. Select the Selection tool (Image) in the Tools panel, and click the white ellipse.

4. In the Control panel, change the Fill color to the White, Black gradient. Press the Escape key to hide the Swatches panel.

5. Click the Gradient panel icon (Image) to show the Gradient panel (if necessary). In the Gradient panel, make sure the Fill box is selected. Choose Radial from the Type menu to convert the linear gradient in the shape to a radial gradient. Keep the ellipse selected and the Gradient panel showing.

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Editing the colors in the radial gradient

Next, you’ll use the Gradient tool to adjust the colors in the radial gradient.

1. In the Gradient panel, with the ellipse still selected, click the Reverse Gradient button (Image) to swap the white and black colors in the gradient.

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2. Select the Gradient tool (Image) in the Tools panel.

3. Position the pointer over the gradient annotator (bar) in the ellipse to reveal the gradient slider, and perform the following operations:

• Double-click the black color stop in the center of the ellipse to edit the color.

• In the panel that appears, click the Color button (Image), if it’s not already selected.

• Choose CMYK from the panel menu (if necessary) to show the CMYK sliders.

• Change the color values to C=22, M=0, Y=3, K=0. Press the Escape key to hide the panel.

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Image Note

When you double-click a color stop, you can see the location in the panel that appears. As you build this radial gradient, you can copy the values you see in the figures to closely match the positions of the color stops.



Image Note

For the next steps, I zoomed in a little further into the artwork to more easily see the color stops in the gradient.


Notice that the gradient annotator starts from the center of the ellipse and points to the right. The dashed circle around the gradient annotator when the pointer is over it, indicates that it is a radial gradient. You can set additional options for radial gradients, as you’ll soon see.

4. Position the pointer beneath the gradient slider, a little to the left of the white color stop at the right end of the color ramp. When the pointer with a plus sign (Image) appears, click to add another color to the gradient (circled in the first part of the following figure).

5. Double-click the new color stop. In the panel that appears, click the Swatches button (Image), and select the swatch named “Window 1.” Change the Location to 87%. Press the Escape key to close the panel.

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6. Pressing the Option (Mac OS) or Alt (Windows) key, drag the color stop you just created to the left (see the following figure for how far). Release the mouse button, and then release the modifier key.

7. Double-click the new color stop, and change the Location value to 80% in the panel that appears. Press Enter or Return to change the value and hide the panel.

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Once the colors are set in the gradient, you can always delete, add more, or even change the order of colors.


Image Tip

When you edit a color stop that has a swatch applied, you can easily see which swatch is applied because it is highlighted in the panel.


8. Double-click the leftmost light-blue color stop, and change the Location value to 70% in the panel that appears. Press Enter or Return to change the value and hide the panel.

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9. Choose File > Save.

Adjusting the radial gradient

Next, you will change the aspect ratio of the radial gradient, adjust the position, and change the radius and the origin of the radial gradient.

1. With the Gradient tool (Image) selected and the ellipse still selected, position the pointer over the right end of the gradient annotator. Click and drag the black diamond shape (Image), to the right, stopping just before the right edge of the ellipse shape, and release the mouse button.


Image Note

You may not see the dotted circle as you drag the end of the gradient annotator. That’s okay. It appears if you position the pointer over the gradient annotator bar first, before dragging the right end point.


Make sure that you still see some white on the edges of the gradient. If you don’t, you can drag the diamond shape back to the left a bit. This lengthens the gradient slightly.

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2. In the Gradient panel, ensure that the Fill box is selected, and then change the Aspect Ratio (Image) to 80% by selecting it from the menu.

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The aspect ratio changes a radial gradient into an elliptical gradient and makes the gradient better match the shape of the artwork. Another way to edit the aspect ratio is to do so visually. If you position the pointer over the gradient on the selected artwork with the Gradient tool selected and then position the pointer over the top black circle that appears on the dotted path, the pointer changes to Image. You can then drag to change the aspect ratio of the gradient.


Image Note

The aspect ratio is a value between 0.5% and 32,767%. As the aspect ratio gets smaller, the ellipse flattens and widens.


Next, you will drag the gradient slider to reposition the gradient in the ellipse.

3. With the Gradient tool, click and drag the gradient slider up a little bit to move the gradient in the ellipse. See the figure for approximately where to drag to.

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Image Tip

You can drag the small white dot to the left of the larger white dot to reposition the center of the gradient without moving the entire gradient bar. This also changes the radius of the gradient.


4. Select the Selection tool (Image), and double-click the Scale tool (Image) in the Tools panel. Change the Uniform Scale value to 60%, and click OK.

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If you transform a shape with a gradient applied, such as scale or rotate the shape (among other types of transformations), the gradient transforms as well.

5. Select the Selection tool in the Tools panel, and Option-drag (Mac OS) or Alt-drag (Windows) the window to the right to create a copy. Position it to the right of the original, like you see in the figure.

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6. Choose Select > Deselect, and then choose File > Save.

Applying gradients to multiple objects

You can apply a gradient to multiple objects by selecting all the objects, applying a gradient color, and then dragging across the objects with the Gradient tool.

Now you’ll apply a linear gradient fill to the sails and edit the colors in it.

1. Choose View > Fit Artboard In Window.

2. With the Selection tool (Image) selected, click to select the leftmost red sail shape. Shift-click the red sail to the right of it to select both shapes.

3. In the Control panel, choose the gradient named “Sails” from the Fill color. Press the Escape key to hide the Swatches panel, if necessary.

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When you apply a gradient to the fill or stroke of multiple selected objects, they are applied independently.

Now you’ll adjust the gradient on the shapes so that the gradient blends across all of them as one object.

4. Make sure that the Fill box at the bottom of the Tools panel or in the Swatches panel is selected.

5. Select the Gradient tool (Image) in the Tools panel.

Notice that there is a gradient annotator (a bar) on each of the sails. This shows that by applying a gradient to multiple selected objects, the gradients are applied to each object independently.

6. Drag from the center of the leftmost sail shape to the rightmost edge of the sail on the right, as shown in the figure, to apply the gradient uniformly as a single gradient across both shapes.

7. Choose Select > Deselect, and then choose File > Save.

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Adding transparency to gradients

By specifying varying opacity values for the different color stops in your gradient, you can create gradients that fade in or out and that show or hide underlying images. Next, you will apply a gradient that fades to transparent.

1. Open the Layers panel, and click the visibility column to the left of the Water layer to show its contents as well. Make sure that the Water layer is selected. You may need to scroll down in the panel or collapse the layers.

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2. Select the Rectangle tool (Image) in the Tools panel, and click anywhere in the Document window. In the Rectangle dialog box, change Width to 15 in and Height to 2 in. Click OK to create a rectangle.

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Image Note

Since the units for the document are set to inches, you don’t need to enter the “in.”


3. Press the letter D to ensure that the rectangle has the default fill of white and stroke of black.

4. Click the Gradient panel icon (Image) to open the panel. Ensure that the Fill box is selected, click the Gradient menu arrow (Image), and then select White, Black to apply the generic gradient to the fill.

5. Select the Selection tool (Image), and choose Align To Artboard from the Align To menu in the Control panel (if necessary). Click the Horizontal Align Center button (Image) and the Vertical Align Bottom button (Image) to align the rectangle to the center and bottom of the artboard.

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Image Note

Depending on your screen resolution, you may need to click the word “Align” in the Control panel to access the Align panel.


6. Change Stroke Weight to 0 in the Control panel, and leave the shape selected.

7. In the Gradient panel, change Angle to –90° by choosing it from the menu.

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8. Double-click the white color stop in the Gradient panel. In the panel that appears, make sure that the Swatches button (Image) is selected, and select the color swatch named “Water.” Press the Escape key once to hide the swatches.

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9. With the leftmost color stop still selected in the Gradient panel, change Opacity to 0%.

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10. Double-click the rightmost color stop (the black color). In the panel that appears, with the Swatches button (Image) selected, select the color swatch named “Water.” Press the Escape key once to hide the swatches.

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11. Drag the gradient midpoint (the diamond shape) to the right until you see a value of approximately 60% in the Location field. Click the Gradient panel tab to collapse the Gradient panel group.

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12. Choose Object > Lock > Selection.

13. Choose File > Save.

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Working with blended objects

You can blend two distinct objects to create and distribute shapes evenly between two objects. The two shapes you blend can be the same or different. You can also blend between two open paths to create a smooth transition of color between objects, or you can combine blends of colors and objects to create color transitions in the shape of a particular object.

The following are examples of different types of blended objects you can create:

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When you create a blend, the blended objects are treated as one object, called a blend object. If you move one of the original objects or edit the anchor points of the original object, the blend changes accordingly. You can also expand the blend to divide it into distinct objects.

Creating a blend with specified steps

Next, you’ll use the Blend tool (Image) to blend two shapes that you will later use to create a pattern fill for the water beneath the ship.

1. Scroll down in the Document window so that you can see shapes off the bottom of the artboard. You will create a blend between those two shapes.

2. Select the Zoom tool (Image) in the Tools panel, and drag from left to right, across the large and small white shapes off the bottom of the artboard, to zoom in.

3. Select the Blend tool (Image) in the Tools panel, and position the pointer over the larger shape on the left. Click when the pointer displays an asterisk (Image). Then, hover over the small shape on the right until the pointer displays a plus sign (Image), indicating that you can add an object to the blend. Click to create a blend between these two objects.


Image Tip

You can add more than two objects to a blend.


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Image Note

If you wanted to end the current path and blend other objects, you would first click the Blend tool in the Tools panel and then click the other objects, one at a time, to blend them.


4. With the blended object still selected, choose Object > Blend > Blend Options. In the Blend Options dialog box, choose Specified Steps from the Spacing menu, change Specified Steps to 10, and then click OK.

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Image Tip

To edit the blend options for an object, you can also select the blend object and then double-click the Blend tool. You can also double-click the Blend tool (Image) in the Tools panel to set tool options before you create the blend object.


5. Select the Selection tool (Image) in the Tools panel, and double-click anywhere on the blend object to enter Isolation mode.

This temporarily ungroups the blended objects and lets you edit each original shape, as well as the spine (path).

6. Choose View > Outline.

In Outline mode, you can see the outlines of the two original shapes and a straight path between them. The straight path you see, called the spine, is the path along which the steps in a blend object are aligned. These three objects are what a blend object is composed of, by default. It can be easier to edit the path between the original objects in Outline mode.

7. Click to select the edge of the smaller shape.

8. Choose View > GPU Preview if supported or View > Preview On CPU if not.

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9. Drag the smaller shape roughly into the center of the larger shape, and you will see the blend change.

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Image Tip

To release, or remove, a blend from the original objects, select the blend and choose Object > Blend > Release.


Make sure you drag the shape and not the path (the spine). You may want to zoom in (Command++ [Mac OS] or Ctrl++ [Windows]) to make it easier to select.

10. Choose Select > Deselect, and press the Escape key to exit Isolation mode.

Modifying a blend

Now you’ll create another blend and edit the shape of the straight path, called the spine, which the objects blend along. You will create a blend between two copies of the blended object you just created. Blending between two objects that are also blended objects can produce unexpected results. That’s why you will expand the blended object first (and understand what that means).

1. Choose View > Fit Artboard In Window.

2. Select the Zoom tool (Image) in the Tools panel, and drag to the right, across the orange flag off the right side of the ship to zoom in.

3. With the Selection tool (Image) selected, click to select the flag. Option-drag (Mac OS) or Alt-drag (Windows) the flag down along the edge of the orange sail, like you see in the figure.

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4. Double-click the Blend tool (Image) in the Tools panel to open the Blend Options dialog box. Change the specified steps to 6. Click OK.

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5. With the Blend tool selected, position the pointer over the top flag. Click when the pointer displays an asterisk (Image). Then, hover over the bottom flag until the pointer displays a plus sign (Image). Click to blend the objects. There is now a blend between these two objects.

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Image Tip

Expanding a blended object divides the blend into distinct objects, which you can edit individually like any object. The objects are grouped together by default. To expand a blend, you can choose Object > Blend > Expand. You can no longer edit the blended object as a single object because it has become a group of individual shapes.


6. Choose View > Outline.

7. Choose Select > Deselect.

8. Select the Pen tool (Image) in the Tools panel. Press the Option key (Mac OS) or Alt key (Windows), and position the pointer over the path between the flags. When the pointer changes (Image), drag the path to the left, like in the first part of the figure.


Image Tip

Another way to reshape the spine of a blend is to blend the shapes along another path. You can draw another path, select the blend as well, and then choose Object > Blend > Replace Spine.


9. Choose View > GPU Preview if supported or View > Preview On CPU if not to see the change. Press Option (Mac OS) or Alt (Windows), and drag the selected path a bit more (if needed) so that the flags appear to come from behind the sail (see the following figure).

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10. Choose Select > Deselect.

Creating and editing a smooth color blend

You can choose several options for blending the shapes and colors of objects to create a new object. When you choose the Smooth Color blend option in the Blend Options dialog box, Illustrator combines the shapes and colors of the objects into many intermediate steps, creating a smooth, graduated blend between the original objects. If objects are filled or stroked with different colors, the steps are calculated to provide the optimum number of steps for a smooth color transition. If the objects contain identical colors or if they contain gradients or patterns, the number of steps is based on the longest distance between the bounding box edges of the two objects.

Now you’ll combine two shapes into a smooth color blend to make the ship.

1. Choose View > Fit Artboard In Window.

2. Select the Zoom tool, and click twice to zoom into the windows on the ship.

You will now blend the two paths that will become the ship. Both paths have a stroke color and no fill. Objects that have strokes blend differently than those that have no stroke.

3. Select the Blend tool (Image) in the Tools panel, and position the pointer (Image) over the top line beneath the sails and click. Position the pointer (Image) over the bottom line, and click. Leave the blend object selected.

The blend you created is using the last settings from the Blend Options dialog box (Specified Steps: 6).

Next, you’ll change the blend settings for the ship so that it blends as smooth color, rather than in specified steps.

Image

4. Double-click the Blend tool in the Tools panel. In the Blend Options dialog box, choose Smooth Color from the Spacing menu to set up the blend options, which will remain set until you change them. Select Preview, and then click OK.

Image

5. Choose Select > Deselect.

When you make a smooth color blend between objects, Illustrator automatically calculates the number of intermediate steps necessary to create the transition between the objects. Once you’ve applied a smooth color blend to objects, you can edit it.


Image Note

Creating smooth color blends between paths can be difficult in certain situations. For instance, if the lines intersect or the lines are too curved, unexpected results can occur.


Next, you will edit the paths that make up the blend.

6. Using the Selection tool (Image), double-click the color blend (the ship) to enter Isolation mode. Click the top path to select it, and change the Stroke color in the Control panel to any color you want. Press the Escape key to hide the panel. Notice how the colors are blended.

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7. Choose Edit > Undo Apply Swatch until the original stroke color is showing.

8. Double-click away from the blend to exit Isolation mode and deselect the ship.

9. Choose View > Fit Artboard In Window.

Image

10. Choose File > Save.

Painting with patterns

In addition to process and spot colors, the Swatches panel can also contain pattern and gradient swatches. Illustrator provides sample swatches of each type in the default Swatches panel as separate libraries and lets you create your own patterns and gradients. In this section, you will focus on creating, applying, and editing patterns.

Applying an existing pattern

pattern is artwork saved in the Swatches panel that can be applied to the stroke or fill of an object. You can customize existing patterns and design patterns from scratch with any of the Illustrator tools. All patterns start with a single tile that is tiled (repeated) within a shape, starting at the ruler origin and continuing to the right. Next, you will apply an existing pattern to a shape.

1. Choose Object > Unlock All, and then choose Select > Deselect.

2. With the Selection tool (Image) selected, click to select the rectangle with the blue gradient that represents the sky (behind the text and ship).

3. Choose Window > Appearance to open the Appearance panel. Click the Add New Fill button at the bottom of the panel. This adds a second gradient fill to the rectangle and layers it on top of the first.

Image

4. In the Appearance panel, click the top word “Fill:” to select the top Fill row. An arrow is pointing to it in the figure.


Image Note

You’ll learn all about the Appearance panel in Lesson 12, “Exploring Creative Uses of Effects and Graphic Styles.”


5. Choose Window > Swatch Libraries > Patterns > Decorative > Vonster Patterns to open the pattern library.

6. In the Vonster Patterns panel, select the Diadem pattern swatch to fill the path with the pattern. Close the Vonster Patterns panel.

Image


Image Tip

You can type the word “diadem” in the Find field to sort the pattern swatches or choose Small List View from the panel menu to see the names of the pattern swatches.


The pattern swatch fills the shape as a second fill on top of the first and is added to the list in the Swatches panel for this document.

Image

7. Click the word “Opacity” in the Control panel above the artwork to open the Transparency panel (or choose Window > Transparency). Choose Screen from the blending mode menu, and change the opacity value to 30. Press the Escape key to hide the panel.

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8. Choose Object > Lock > Selection, and then choose File > Save.

Creating your own pattern

In this section, you’ll create your own custom pattern and add it as a swatch to the Swatches panel for this document.

1. Press the spacebar, and drag the artboard up just enough to see the blend object off the bottom of the artboard, if necessary.

2. With the Selection tool (Image), click to select the blend object, and choose Object > Pattern > Make. Click OK in the dialog box that appears.

Image


Image Note

You don’t need to have anything selected to start with a blank pattern.


When you create a pattern, Illustrator enters Pattern Editing mode, which is similar to the group Isolation mode you’ve worked with in previous lessons. Pattern Editing mode allows you to create and edit patterns interactively, while previewing the changes to the pattern on the artboard. All other artwork is dimmed and cannot be edited while in this mode. The Pattern Options panel (Window > Pattern Options) also opens, giving you all the necessary options to create your pattern.


Image Note

A pattern can be composed of shapes, symbols, or embedded raster images, among other objects. For instance, to create a flannel pattern for a shirt, you can create three overlapping rectangles or lines, each with varying appearance options.


3. With the Selection tool, click the artwork in the center to select it.

The blend object is now a group of objects. In a pattern, blend objects are expanded and grouped, which means you can no longer edit the artwork as a blend object. Going forward, I’ll refer to the blend object as a group.

4. Press Command++ (Mac OS) or Ctrl++ (Windows) several times to zoom in.

The series of lighter-colored objects around the center shape are the pattern repeat. They are there for a preview and are dimmed to let you focus on the original. The blue box around the original group of objects is the pattern tile (the area that repeats).

5. In the Pattern Options panel, change the Name to Waves, and choose Hex By Column from the Tile Type menu.

The name appears in the Swatches panel as a tooltip and can be useful to distinguish multiple pattern swatches. The Tile Type determines how the pattern is tiled. You have three main Tile Type choices: the default grid pattern, a brick-style pattern, or the hex pattern.

Image

6. Choose 1 x 1 from the Copies menu at the bottom of the Pattern Options panel. This will remove the repeat and let you temporarily focus on the main pattern artwork.

7. With the Selection tool selected, drag the group over a little. After you have finished dragging, notice that the blue tile moves with the artwork.


Image Tip

Because the blend objects are repeating in Pattern Editing mode, it may be difficult to select the three original objects. You can choose View > Outline to enter Outline mode to see the original blend objects only.


8. With the artwork group selected, Option-drag (Mac OS) or Alt-drag (Windows) it twice to make three of them. Change the size of each to make them a little different in size and arrange them something like you see in the figure.

Image

9. In the Pattern Options panel, change the following options (use the following figure as a guide):

• Choose 5 x 5 from the Copies menu to see the repeat again.

• Select the Size Tile To Art option in the middle of the panel.

The Size Tile To Art selection fits the tile area (the blue hex shape) to the bounds of the artwork, changing the spacing between the repeated objects. With Size Tile To Art deselected, you could manually change the width and the height of the pattern definition area in the Width and Height fields to include more content or to edit the spacing between. You can also edit the tile area manually with the Pattern Tile Tool button (Image) in the upper-left corner of the Pattern Options panel.

• Change H Spacing to –0.25 in, and change V Spacing to –1 in.


Image Tip

The spacing values can be either positive or negative values to move the tiles apart or to bring them closer together.


• For Overlap, click the Bottom In Front button (Image), and notice the change in the pattern.

The artwork in a pattern may begin to overlap due to the size of the tile or the spacing values. By default, when objects overlap horizontally, the left object is on top; when objects overlap vertically, the top object is on top.

Image


Image Note

The Pattern Options panel has a host of other pattern-editing options, including the ability to see more or less of the pattern, called Copies. To learn more about the Pattern Options panel, search for “Create and edit patterns” in Illustrator Help (Help > Illustrator Help).


10. Select Show Swatch Bounds at the bottom of the Pattern Options panel to see the dotted area that will be saved in the swatch. Deselect Show Swatch Bounds.

11. Click Done in the bar along the top of the Document window. If a dialog box appears, click OK.

Image


Image Tip

If you want to create pattern variations, you can click Save A Copy in the bar along the top of the Document window when in Pattern Editing mode. This saves the current pattern in the Swatches panel as a copy and allows you to continue creating.


12. Choose File > Save.

Applying your pattern

You can assign a pattern using a number of different methods. In this section, you’ll apply your pattern using the Fill color in the Control panel.

1. Choose View > Fit Artboard In Window.

2. With the Selection tool (Image), click the scalloped white shape behind the ship.

3. Select the swatch named “Waves” from the Fill color in the Control panel.

Image

4. Choose File > Save.


Image Note

Your pattern may look different, and that’s okay.


Editing your pattern

Next, you will edit the Waves pattern swatch in Pattern Editing mode.

1. In the Swatches panel, double-click the Waves pattern swatch to edit it.


Image Tip

You can also select an object filled with a pattern swatch and, with the Fill box selected in the Swatches, Color, or Tools panel, choose Object > Pattern > Edit Pattern.


2. In Pattern Editing mode, with the Selection tool (Image) selected, choose Select > All to select all three of the objects.

3. In the Control panel, change the Stroke color to the swatch named “Window 1.”

4. Click Done in the gray bar along the top of the Document window to exit Pattern Editing mode.

5. Click the waves shape to select it, if necessary.

6. With the shape selected, double-click the Scale tool (Image) in the Tools panel to scale the pattern but not the shape. In the Scale dialog box, change the following options (if not already set):

• Uniform Scale: 120%

• Scale Corners: Deselected (the default setting)

• Scale Strokes & Effects: Deselected (the default setting)

• Transform Objects: Deselected

• Transform Patterns: Selected

Image


Image Tip

In the Scale dialog box, if you wanted to scale the pattern and the shape, you can select Transform Objects and select Transform Patterns. You can also transform patterns in the Transform panel by choosing Transform Pattern Only, Transform Object Only, or Transform Both from the panel menu (Image) before applying a transformation.


7. Select Preview to see the change. Click OK, and leave the shape selected.

8. Choose Object > Show All to show a hidden shape on top of the boat. You’ll use that shape to mask the boat so that it looks like it’s in the water.

9. With the Selection tool and the new shape selected, Shift-click the boat shape. Choose Object > Clipping Mask > Make.

Image

10. Choose Select > Deselect, and then choose File > Save.

11. Choose File > Close.

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Review questions

1. What is a gradient?

2. How do you adjust the blend between colors in a gradient?

3. Name two ways you can add colors to a gradient.

4. How can you adjust the direction of a gradient?

5. What is the difference between a gradient and a blend?

6. When you save a pattern in Illustrator, where is it saved?

Review answers

1. A gradient is a graduated blend of two or more colors or of tints of the same color. Gradients can be applied to the stroke or fill of an object.

2. To adjust the blend between colors in a gradient, with the Gradient tool (Image) selected and with the pointer over the gradient annotator or in the Gradient panel, you can drag the diamond icons or the color stops of the gradient slider.

3. To add colors to a gradient, in the Gradient panel, click beneath the gradient slider to add a gradient stop to the gradient. Then, double-click the color stop to edit the color, using the panel that appears to mix a new color or to apply an existing color swatch. You can select the Gradient tool in the Tools panel, position the pointer over the gradient-filled object, and then click beneath the gradient slider that appears in the artwork to add a color stop.

4. Drag with the Gradient tool to adjust the direction of a gradient. Dragging a long distance changes colors gradually; dragging a short distance makes the color change more abrupt. You can also rotate the gradient using the Gradient tool and change the radius, aspect ratio, starting point, and more.

5. The difference between a gradient and a blend is the way that colors combine together—colors blend together within a gradient and between objects in a blend.

6. When you save a pattern in Illustrator, it is saved as a swatch in the Swatches panel. By default, swatches are saved with the current document open.