How to Make a Gradient in Adobe Illustrator: Two Methods

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How to Make a Gradient in Adobe Illustrator: Two Methods
How to Make a Gradient in Adobe Illustrator: Two Methods

Gradients may give designs an antiquated appearance (think tie-dye). However, you may generate gradients with a different style using Adobe Illustrator’s Gradient Mesh tool and Freeform Gradient option. Let us demonstrate how to accomplish it.

What Is a Gradient?

You’ve undoubtedly heard of gradients before, but if you haven’t, let us explain. A gradient is a color blend of any hue that blends together in a natural or artificial manner.

Gradients may be found in nature, such as the dawn and sunset, the shifting hues of fall leaves, and the aurora borealis. Nature is an excellent source of inspiration for gradient experiments. Gradients are often used in design, such as the Instagram or Adobe Creative Cloud logos. Gradients provide a splash of color to what is frequently a business aesthetic.

Gradients, although they sometimes seem old, appear to be making a resurgence in current design. The days of employing a single gradient transitional sweep as a backdrop are long gone. They no longer seem out of place with modern design tools, color trends, and innovative methods to integrate gradients.

Why Should You Use a Gradient?

A gradient may be utilized to liven up a dull backdrop, as seen in the Instagram and Creative Cloud logos. Gradients are often utilized as backdrop colors rather than the primary topic itself, although nothing prevents you from using a gradient on the main subject. Gradients may even be added via CSS programming.

Gradients don’t necessarily have to be bold and noticeable; they may also be subtle. Instead of covering a complete backdrop with gradient, you may merely put a tiny touch of it.

Gradients are a subtle technique for the design or color to shift across the website, without too much of a startling color changeover, as infinite scrolling websites become more common. You can even animate the gradient so that it moves like a lava lamp from the 1980s.

The primary purpose of employing gradients is to combine numerous colors into your design without them being too dissimilar. You may make a slight modification to your color scheme or a dramatic gradient statement.

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What Are the Gradient Options in Adobe Illustrator?

To see any gradients in Illustrator, open the Gradient window. Click Window > Gradient, or use the Gradient Tool button in the toolbar. You may use this method to access the Linear, Radial, and Freeform Gradient tools.

There are just linear and radial gradient possibilities in Illustrator’s classic gradient tools. Other than color and orientation, these choices are rather simple and do not allow for any personalization. Traditional gradient tools work well for a basic gradient sweep backdrop.

Use the Freeform Gradient tool to add a random variety of colors to your gradient creations. For less exact gradients, utilize the Freeform tool; it allows for a more natural, random usage of color.

Illustrator’s Gradient Mesh tool is excellent for bringing images to life. You may use the Mesh tool to insert, angle, and adjust gradient tones such that they fall realistically on a 3D object. This takes gradient work to a whole new level.

Adobe provides several gradient creation tools, including custom gradients in Photoshop.

How to Use Freeform Gradient in Illustrator

The Freeform Gradient tool in Illustrator operates a bit differently from the usual gradient tools. Let’s get this party started.

First, make a form with a solid fill color. Then, while still in the Gradient window, click the right-most gradient button to bring up the Freeform tool.

After selecting the Freeform tool, your previously plain-filled shape will now have a four-stop gradient (or points of color). The four stops will have random colors that are not always consistent with the original fill color. You may alter the color of any of the current stops by clicking on it. Click anywhere else in your shape to add extra stops.

The Freeform Gradient tool in Illustrator allows you to quickly move the colors wherever in your shape. Simply slide the stop to the left if you like the blue to be on the left rather than the right. Alternatively, set two pink stops adjacent to each other. To observe how the colors merge, add some white. Moving the color stops around alters their interactions with one another.

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The Freeform tool allows you to add as many colors as you like and put them anywhere you want. The colors behave like distinct spheres that mix together softly at the boundaries. Drag a color stop outside your form to remove it.

Each color stop’s size and distribution may be increased or decreased. Move the pointer to the dotted circle that surrounds your selected stop. The circle will be surrounded by an oval. Drag the oval to change the size of your sphere and the color spread.

You can even make gradient lines by selecting the Lines option in the Gradient toolbar. When you pick Lines, you may add a new color stop, and the following stop will be linked with a straight or curved line that combines the gradient colors together. Each stop may still have a distinct color, or the whole line with many stops might be the same color.

How to Use Gradient Mesh in Illustrator

Gradient Mesh operates in a different way than the other gradient tools. Let us demonstrate how to utilize it.

Gradient Mesh may be used on any object that has a fill color. After drawing and filling your object, use the Gradient Mesh tool. If you can’t find the Gradient Mesh button on the toolbar, it might be buried behind the Gradient Tool button; click and hold the top button to expose any hidden buttons beneath it.

Select the Gradient Mesh tool and click anywhere in your filled object to apply the mesh. Depending on the amount of colors you choose and the size of your form, you should only require two clicks; nevertheless, there is no limit. At any stage throughout the procedure, you may add or remove anchor points. Unlike the Freeform Gradient tool, the initial color of your item serves as the gradient’s base color.

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You may use the Direct Selection tool (A) to choose a color from the swatch panel by clicking on any anchor point inside your mesh. This results in a blur of the specified color around the anchor. Experiment with how the colors merge for any and all anchors inside your form.

This looks similar to the Freeform tool with your selected colors in your shape. So, how do you progress with the Gradient Mesh? Move the anchor points and handles to observe how the colors move and interact.

You may not only adjust any of the anchor points in your mesh, but you can also modify the angles by using the handles. Moving anchor points, in fact, may result in sharp lines between the hues. These sharp lines may create 3D forms and lighting on your product. Lighter or darker hues will enhance the 3D illusion. You may also design your own 3D forms rather than searching for pre-existing 3D designs online.

A Unique Way to Create Gradients

Illustrator’s Freeform Gradient and Gradient Mesh tools enable you to apply gradients to your designs in novel and creative ways. Gradients may now be used for much more than simply a color sweep in a linear or radial direction. Experiment with these tools to see what kinds of weird gradients you can make.

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