Gradient Tip 1

Gradients…love them or hate them, they are still an important tool of a digital artist. They bring out more depth and realism when used. Sometimes they’re not used so effectively.

In this tip, I’ll give you several instances of how to use gradients more effectively.

1. Angle Position

The problem with image is that the gradient is all wrong and it should go at an angle instead of just going from top to bottom (0°). If you have slanted/sloped/steep object, you should be wary of the way you add a gradient to it. If your object is slanted, then when you add a linear gradient from that side, go at a 90º angle from its own angle to get a clean look. See pictures.

2. More Than One Gradient

Sometimes you want to use more than one gradient but you decide it make to easy and use a radial gradient. This is not a good substitute. To fix this problem, we’ll use one solid gradient and one fade-to-(insert color here). The fade-to-color gradient should be on top of the other fills/gradients as seen in the Appearance tab.

3. Ease of Use and Gradient Length

Surely, it’ll be a hassle to keep moving your mouse over to the gradient tab just to simply change a thing or two. But this problem can all go away if your press Opt+Cmd+G/Alt+Ctrl+G to bring up the Gradient Annotator. This shortcut can save you time by not having to move your mouse around so much. I don’t see many students use the Gradient Annotator probably since they don’t know about it.

The top image shows what happens when your gradient can be tool short. Unless you never know that you could drag the gradient tool around on object, you’ll be missing an important shortcut. With the Gradient Annotator on, you can easily adjust the length and angle of your applied gradient so colors can fade more softly.

4. Common Gradient

Surely there would be an easy way to combine gradients of multiple objects and just as you know it, there is. Simple select multiple objects and use the Gradient Tool (g) to draw a gradient through the multiple objects.

Will have more later.


About Fadi G.

I am a digital artist and I hope to push the bounds of creativity. I will produce videos, illustrations, animations, and more interesting things.

Posted on January 5, 2011, in Gradients, Tips, Tutorials and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. .It may make sense to make a group when you want to apply a gradient across more than one shape but Illustrator disagrees. In order to make a gradient stretch across more than one individual shape in Illustrator you have to make a compound path..

    • Let’s say you have 2 objects and you stretched a gradient across those two. You won’t really have a compound path but something that acts like it.

      When you stretch a gradient across the 2 objects, you can freely adjust the gradient of one of the objects without affecting the other.

      Let’s say we have two squares diagonally across. After I made a diagonal gradient across those squares, I can make one square have a gradient in different direction while the other squares remain unaffected with it’s gradient still facing the original diagonal direction.

      You can’t do that with a compound path which will make both objects have the same gradient direction no matter how you draw your gradient.

      To conclude, the stretch method vs the compound path behave the same when making a gradient across multiple objects except differ if you want to change one object’s gradient with/without affecting the others.

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