Skip to main content

How to Work with Gradients in Adobe Illustrator

Learn how to work with gradients in Adobe Illustrator from expert Will "Focus" Dubois in this Howcast video.


This is How to Work with Gradients in Adobe Illustrator. Let's go over to your tools panel and we're going to select, let's say the circle or the oval or ellipse. Matter of fact, let's create a star. We haven't done a star yet. So, I'm going to drag out a nice star. We're going to give it a color and let's say we drag out a second star, a different color. Now, essentially a gradient is a transition from one color to another, very smooth transition. On the right hand side of your illustrator window you'll notice that you should have a gradient panel. Usually it's next to your stroke panel. You click it and your gradient panel will come up.

If it is not there, you go to your window menu and all you have to do is you go down to gradient, click it, and then it will come up on the right hand side of illustrator. So in here you have, before we actually put this on the artwork, we're going to look at the gradient area. When we click this, you'll notice there's a type button. If you click it, there's linear and then there's radial and if you look at the icon of the image of the gradient, when you click linear this is the image that appears. It's a basic gradient from white to black and if you were to change it to radial, you'll notice it looks more so like a sphere so you're going to see that the white goes outward in the circle towards the black.

Then you have your angle and you actually have your aspect ratio. Now the aspect ratio, essentially what that does is it will change the height and width of your actual gradient shape and then the angle will change the angle that the gradient goes on. So your gradient may go from left to right but instead of it going as a flat line, it may angle upward. So, there are things like that that the angle will actually change. So what we're going to do is we're going to click one of our shapes and we're going to go over to the type drop down and we're going to click linear.

Once we click that you'll notice that from left to right we have a white to black gradient. Now we can adjust the distance between these by clicking the swatch that's white and dragging it back. Or we can click the gradient slider and we can use that, either or. Now once we click a color, we can actually change the opacity as well. You can increase or decrease it depending upon which swatch you have selected. So if I were to select the black one and change the opacity, you'll notice that it's actually changing. Depending on what color is behind it. Let's put this in back. You'll notice the transparency actually comes through the actual shape. So that's how you can see whether or not what you are doing is right. Now, if we were to go back in here and we were to click this. Let's go here. We can bump this back up and you'll notice that it's pretty much solid again. You can also change the location without sliding it by selecting a swatch, change the location, numerically at the bottom. Now you can change whether the gradient goes from left to right or right to left but underneath the actual gradient swatch there is a reverse gradient button. So when you click it you'll notice that it switches from left to right. Now, if we were to take this and let's say we want to create a radial gradient, we click in the type box of our gradient area. Go to radial and now you can see the difference. All rules still apply. You can actually change the distance between the black and white.

Increase or decrease the size of the circle that's inside that gradient. You can reverse it. You can change the opacity. Just drag this over here so we see that it's working. And we can change the angle of the gradient. Now, let's go to our original one and change the angle and you'll see that gradient will start to shift inside. So we can change it so that it goes in the direction we want or we can use the gradient tool which you hit the G button on your keyboard and it will bring up our gradient bar which we can then shift to change where our gradient starts and stops and change the size. And the same thing we were doing in our gradient panel with our colors and marks that are on here. That's how you work with gradients in Adobe Illustrator.

Popular Categories