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Adobe Illustrator CC - Essentials Training

How to make Gradients in Adobe Illustrator CC

Daniel Walter Scott

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Hey there, in this tutorial, together, we're going to make Gradients. Gradients are awesome. Let's go do it now in Illustrator.

Working with Gradients, we're going to open up 'Postcard.ai' file. It's in our 'Exercise Files'. You don't have to, obviously we can work with any shape. In this document we're going to work with this background here. In our Layers panel we locked that Layer. So I'm going to go to 'Layers', I'm going to 'unlock' it so that I can click on this object in the background here. To add a Gradient, go to 'Properties', and where it says 'Fill', click on that. And best, just get started with one of these. There's ugly white and black, then there's ugly orange, and weird other orange. Then there's a sky blue, to white. We can start with one of these, just to start with the black versus white.

To change the colors, the easiest way is probably just with the 'Window', 'Gradient' panel. Where are you, Gradient? There you are. This panel up here, if I move it up we can just double click these 'houses'. So double click the 'white house' and you can pick a new color from down here. Double click the 'black house'. You can see what I did there, I double clicked not quite on the house so it generated a new Swatch for me. If it does do that-- now I've got three Swatches. Which is kind of cool, means that I could pick another color and have kind of a third transitional color. It's going to be bad. Actually not that bad, I like it.

Anyway, if you do want to get rid of one of these, you just click on it and click the trash can, and that will get rid of it. To add it, just click back on the line underneath. So we've got our Gradients, now we want to adjust the kind of, maybe direction. We'll use this tool over here. Go to 'Gradient tool', give it a click. You can see, there's my Gradient running right through the middle. What I can do is just click, hold, and drag anywhere on this rectangle and change how I've got it. So I'm using a Linear Gradient. We can go up to 'Linear', change it to 'Radial'. Kind of works differently, right? We're kind of drawing from the center out. It's up to you how you want to do it. We can go way past where we need to be. We're going to go back to 'Linear'.

A couple of things you can do, watch this. If I hover above this line, I can actually use these houses. I can double click them here. It's just an alternative for clicking them up here. Doesn't work on all compound shapes, and lots of other things. So I find, just using the Gradient Tool is better when you're new. Yes, we've got our Gradients. Now, let's say I did this course-- I've been teaching Illustrator for a long time. Gradients was something like-- for the last 10 years we've been laughing at Gradients. Gradients are so back. A cool little site that I found the other day is this one here. It's called Grabient. All it is, is just nice Gradients. Having a look through, there's a few different options. What's really nice about it is, say that you like one of these, you just click on the start color, copy this number here, it's called the Hexadecimal number. I'm going to click 'Copy'. Jump into Illustrator, and what I can do, is I can click on this house, and down here I can replace it there. Hit 'return', jump back in, grab this one. Grab it properly, copy and paste it, grab you. Paste it down here.

You can kind of just borrow Gradients from people. Now I'm going to drag it. You can see, my-- the reason with what's happening with this box here - I'm going to close this down. - is that I've got mine underneath. You might not like that. Let's say I want to start my Gradient from about here onwards. Look at that. Love it. Let's look at a couple of other things that you might run into trouble with. Rectangle's pretty easy, let's look at something like this. This here is an outline bit of text. It's not editable text, we've outlined it, so it’s just kind of shapes. Problem with it is that when I add it, and I go to here you'll notice, it kind of does it individually. What I want is a Gradient that goes across all of them.

The way to get around that is, you grab your 'Gradient Tool', just drag across them all. You got to actually grab the Gradient Tool and drag across them all. That will kind of join them all up. Now we need to open up the Gradient Panel again because, remember that line that appeared that we can work on the graphic down here. Just doesn't work with compound shapes. So we're going to go here, and go to 'Gradient'. If you're not sure what a compound shape is don't worry, we're going to cover that later on in the course as well. I want 'Radial'. It's pretty cool. I'm going to drag across them all, and we get this kind of like, consistent across all three of them. I'm going to pick a color.

You can move on now, I'm totally just going to go off and find a cool color. Yes, add it to it. You can skip on to the next video. Ah, I love this. Look at this. Who would have thought I'd love this. If you were to ask me a couple of years ago, "Dan, you're going to be into Gradients?" and I'm going to be like "No." 80's retro pastels. I'd be like, "No way." This one's got three colors in it. I'm going to grab-- I'm going to click on the line there. Double click. And the last one is this green. If you're finding your colors aren't matching the same as mine I take it back. I'm not sure I'm into this color as much as I thought I was. But let's say that you don't-- the colors just aren't coming out rich. They're looking really nice in here but they're washed out in your Illustrator file. It's because you're probably working in CMYK. We covered this a little earlier. What you might want to do is, before you can change the colors you might go to 'File'-- pick your colors, go to 'File', 'Document Color Setup', and make sure you're in 'RGB'. Change your RGB, then go add your colors. It's kind of like a one way street. You can't just flick it over to RGB, and hope they come back to life. You need to put them back in now.

All right, that is Gradients in Illustrator, which I now love, which probably in a year or two, nobody will love again. Gradients, so in fashion, and then out of fashion. All right, let's get into the next video.