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Blending Artwork in Adobe Illustrator

Lesson 45 from: Adobe Illustrator Creative Cloud: Essentials for Creating Projects

Brian Wood

Blending Artwork in Adobe Illustrator

Lesson 45 from: Adobe Illustrator Creative Cloud: Essentials for Creating Projects

Brian Wood

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Lesson Info

45. Blending Artwork in Adobe Illustrator


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


What is Adobe Illustrator?


Explore the Interface


Create and Save New Documents


Zoom and Navigate


Working with Artboards


Introduction to Layers


Rulers and Guides


Shapes and Drawing


Aligning and Combining Shapes


Pen Tool


Manipulating Stroke and Fill


Creating and Editing with Color


Painting with Gradients


Getting Started with Patterns


Adding Text To Your Document


Formatting Text


Strokes and Variable Strokes in Adobe Illustrator


Rotating Objects in Adobe Illustrator


Effects and the Appearance Panel in Adobe Illustrator


Adding Photo Images in Adobe Illustrator


Working with Linked Content in Adobe Illustrator


Packaging your Project for Handoff in Adobe Illustrator


Best Formats to Save Your Files


Select Like a Pro: Layers, Groups, & Other Unique Tools


Edit Paths Like a Pro in Adobe Illustrator


Editing Paths: Pen Tool in Adobe Illustrator


Creating & Applying Brushes to Artwork in Adobe Illustrator


Editing Paths: Knife & Scissor Tool in Adobe Illustrator


Editing Paths: Join Tool in Adobe Illustrator


Editing Paths: Isolation Mode in Adobe® Illustrator®


Pen Tool Shortcuts in Adobe Illustrator


Other Drawing Tools & Methods in Adobe Illustrator


Transforming Techniques in Adobe Illustrator


Shortcut to Reflecting Artwork in Adobe Illustrator


Get to Know Your Appearance Panel in Adobe Illustrator


Exploring Effects in Adobe Illustrator


Work Smarter with Graphic Styles in Adobe Illustrator


Color Inspiration in Adobe Illustrator


Type Effects in Adobe Illustrator


Masking Your Artwork in Adobe Illustrator


Using Creative® Cloud® Libraries in Adobe® Illustrator®


Capture Artwork with Creative Cloud Apps & Adobe Illustrator


Tracing Raster Images in Adobe Illustrator


Blending Artwork in Adobe Illustrator


Using Symbols in Adobe Illustrator


Using a Perspective Grid in Adobe Illustrator


Crash Recovery in Adobe Illustrator


GPU Performance in Adobe Illustrator


Curvature Tool in Adobe Illustrator


App Integration in Adobe Illustrator


Creative Cloud Libraries in Adobe Illustrator App


Shaper Tool in Adobe Illustrator


Smart Guides in Adobe Illustrator


Text Enhancements in Adobe Illustrator


SVG Export in Adobe Illustrator


Lesson Info

Blending Artwork in Adobe Illustrator

So, we've got some of this content out here. Next thing I want to do is I want to take a look at what's called "blending artwork". Blends are... Blends are so useful. Blends are just... Suppose that, and I always get back to this, suppose that I wanted to do something like this. I wanted to create a picket fence, okay. I wanted to do something like this. I've got a picket right here, and I want to go up and I want to add a little point right there, whatever. Draw a little point, there we go. And what I'd like to do is I'd like to take a series of these and I'd like to make a nice fence going across the bottom, okay? Kind of a lame example, whatever. Instead of me going out here and doing this. Say, okay, let's copy that. Let's copy that, let's copy that, let's copy that, let's copy that, let's copy that, we can actually use what's called a "blend". A blend is a way for you to go in and take essentially, let me just do this, take two shapes, one at the beginning and one at the end, and ...

tell Illustrator... fill in the middle. It's gonna look at the shapes and say, okay. We're just gonna make copies of those and put them in the middle. So, these are very powerful. They're very, very useful, something we can use a lot for everything. What I want to do is I want to actually create-- If I look at the Backpack-final, I want to create sort of like a bungee effect on the outside here. It's simple, but it's gonna allow us to see how this works. So, what I'd like to do is we're gonna come down here below the text and we're gonna create a little X by drawing two paths, just two little lines. So, come to the Line Segment Tool. Just go ahead and select it. Come down here and just make a line that's just really simple. It looks something like that right there. Just like that. A little angle to it, that type of thing. All right. Now, what I want to do is I want to actually have another one that we simply will kind of copy, paste and go the other way to make an X, okay. I don't even know how to describe this. So, here's what we're gonna do. I'm gonna copy it, and we're gonna flip it, basically. Flip it around, okay? So, we could reflect it if we want to using Reflect, but I want to show you one other little thing here that I think is kind of hidden and neat. Let's go ahead and copy paste that, but we're gonna paste it in front. So go to Edit, Copy, and Edit, Paste in Front, that way, we get one exactly on top of that one. Now, we could, like I said, we could go in and we could use the different tools, Reflect, different things like that. I don't know why I use this, but I do. But if you go up to Transform, if you see the word Transform up there, click on it. If you see X, Y, W, or H, click on that and it will open the Transform Panel. If you look in the upper right corner of the panel, you're gonna see this little weird thing, little arrow thing, click on that. You're gonna see Flip Vertical, Flip Horizontal, okay. This is kind of hidden, a little weird. Go ahead and choose Flip Horizontal. That's what we want, right? Yeah, I want the X, okay. And there we go, okay? Just another way to do it. I mean, there's, like I said, reflect works fine. All these work fine. So, we also could have rotated it around, and copied it, and do all that kind of stuff, but go ahead and select both of those now, both lines. Let me use the Selection Tool, and let's group 'em so that we keep 'em together. So Object, Group. Okay, instead of us taking these and copying them four, five, six times to make this little x thing happen, all I want to do is we're gonna have Illustrator fill it in. We're gonna create another one of these just by copying it and putting it below, okay. Now, I don't even know if I've shown you this, and I'm sure a lot of you are aware of the ability to do this, but we can actually drag off copies in Illustrator. This is what I do all the time. If you come to the path itself from this object, if you hold down the Option key, Option lets you drag a copy of just about anything. So if you click and drag, hold the Option key down, keep it held down. And does everybody notice this, these little guides on mine? Smart Guides are now showing gap distances. They're showing if it's the same distance or gap. Go down here. Now, you gotta let go of the mouse first, and then, the Option key. It's Alt on Windows. Okay, we got a copy. All right, now, it's gonna keep it in line because it's got the Smart Guide thing going. Once we get these two, now, all we're gonna do is we're gonna have Illustrator blend them together for us. Come over to the left over here, and you will see this tool that looks like a series of shapes, one in front of the other. This is called the Blend Tool. Go ahead and select the Blend Tool, right there. Come on out to your artwork. Here's what we do. We have to tell Illustrator where we're starting and where we're ending. So we have to click on the first object, and then, click on the second object. Sometimes, it's important which object you click on first because the direction of the blend is gonna go that way. Most of the time, it doesn't. Come up here and you're gonna notice that if you hover over the first X thing, you'll see a little asterisk, that means the start. Go ahead and click. Come down here, and you're gonna see, when you hover over down here, you'll see a plus. That means let's add this or let's go to this one. Go ahead and click. Nice, okay. Now, you can see that it's-- Yours might not look the same as mine. Don't worry about that. Depends on how far you pull them apart, all this kind of stuff. It is creating the ones in the middle. Now, this is a really simple blend, you guys, because we just have two objects that are identical and we're blending between. I wanna show you something that's pretty neat here. We're gonna fix that in just a second. Do some things, but we can actually do things like this. Watch this, this is pretty cool. You can have different objects, for instance. Whoops. You can have different objects you create. And maybe they have different color fills for instance. I'm gonna go to pink, hot pink, and I'm gonna go to like, you know, orange. Watch what happens when I blend these two shapes together. Click on that one, click on that one. It's not even close to what I expected to happen. It should be pink, but anyway. So what we can do is we can actually go-- I'll show you what I did don't worry. What we can do is we can actually blend between different shapes, with different colors, different objects, just about anything, and as you can see here it's gonna try and figure out what's between the two. And it's gonna start to morph and shape and change. We can, and you guys this is my favorite thing we can do, we can also go, and if I create, let me do this. I'm just gonna create a path, really simple, really simple. And I'm gonna duplicate it right down here, make a copy of it. I'm gonna change the color, we have a black path, and we have a blue path. Now I'm gonna blend those together. We can do what's called a "step blend", or we can do what's called a "smooth color blend". Let me just, just bear with me for one second. Check this out. Now I know it looks kind of rough right there on the screen. But it's gonna print really nicely, it's gonna print beautifully. In the past, what we did a lot was if we tried to create contours or different things on objects, and you wanted to create a, when we created a gradient, we could only go straight across basically, this is a way for you to create a gradient along an edge, or along a curve for instance. It's just two pads of colors on them, and we're gonna blend them together. And I'll just show you how we do that right now. So with our example, which looks kind of lame right now, but that's fine. With our example, when you select the object, what I want you to do is with it selected, come over to the Blend Tool over here, and double click on the Blend Tool. To me, this is the fastest way to do it. There's a menu item up there you can go to, but if you double click on the Blend Tool you can get to what's called the "Blend Options". This is where you determine how the blend works. There are three main ways to get it to work. There's three different ways to work it. If you come to Spacing, this is your big option here. You have Smooth Color, Specified Steps, and Specified Distance. I love these. If you wanted to put, let's say three circles, and each one had to be a inch apart for instance, or 60 pixels or something, you could choose Specified Distance, and put the distance between each, and it would be perfect. If you choose smooth color, it's gonna try and go from one to the other, and blend it using color. And that's what happened with those lines I just created. It's not gonna work with these shapes, okay? Choose Specified Steps, and what we can do is you can type in another number, you can try something. Why don't you try like, five? Type in five. And then select Preview. It's gonna put five between. No matter how close these are together. What's crazy is that we can go out there and we can take these two x's right now, and we can move them apart further. No matter how far apart we make them, it's always gonna have five of those in between. It's just gonna space them out a little more, spread them out a little more. So there's a lot of things we can do with these blends, some really, it's just awesome things. Why don't you make it, make it three steps between. And there is an Orientation option here which you can mess with later on. It's not gonna do anything for us right now. Click OK, and you should see we get the three steps. Now, this is called a "Blend Object". This is a group of objects. Just think of it as a group. We still have the two original shapes out there, the two original x's, but we now have another object. We have what's called a "spine". When you create a blend, it's gonna create a path between those two. That path determines where it goes, basically. We can take, do you see that line in the middle there? We can take that line right there in the middle, and we can curve it, and the blend objects would follow the curve between the two originals. So that spine could do just about anything. Why don't you go to the Selection Tools, select the Selection Tool, and what I want you to do, is we're gonna double click, if we want to edit this thing, we're gonna double click. So go ahead and double click on it, and you should enter the isolation mode. You can now select the different objects. Now when I work with a blend a lot of times, we can actually go to outline mode, and you'll see the original three objects. There's the original x, the second x, and the line. If you look in outline mode, it will not show the ones in between. But we want to see them. Click on the x down here, and what I want to do is I just want to maybe drag it down a little bit. 'Cause I want a little more, I want these ends of the x's to kind of touch, you know what I mean? Not overlap like this. So instead of dragging in Illustrator, you can use your arrow keys, Up and down arrows will let you bump and move things around a little bit. So I use my down arrow, maybe, and my up arrow. And get it to look kind of like that. And the great thing about the arrow keys too, is that you can, you know, there's tons of stuff we can do with these. You can actually use the shift key, hold down the shift key, if you press an arrow key up or down it'll go a little faster, a little further. Just move it down a bit, and we're trying to make it so all the x's touch, kind of like that. That looks pretty good. Now we're not gonna mess with this, but you can see that there is actually, the spine is right there. If you took out your pencil right now, and you started just attacking that thing and curving it and doing things, your whole blend would follow the curve. So, there's tons of things we could do with that. We're gonna leave it alone. Go ahead and double-click away, or press the escape key. Hopefully everybody got that one. And what we're gonna do is we're gonna take this, and we're gonna put it up there. So we're gonna put it on the backpack. So go ahead and drag the whole blend object onto the backpack. And I want to make it a little bit shorter. Cool thing is now, you see the box around it? You can just resize it if you want to, you can kind of scale it, squish it down a little bit, kind of change it's size just a teeny bit. And it should retain all the connections and everything. There we go. If you look at mine, it's in probably yours too, mine actually has a light gray color to it, like all those shapes are gray. If you wanted to change the colors of those shapes in the blend, once again, we would go and double-click on the Blend Object, and just select the two x's and change the colors. And the thing I love here is that if I double-click and I click on, let's say that x, and I change the stroke of color, for instance, if you look, watch this. I just changed the stroke color of that one x. It's now gonna blend the color too. So, from gray to black, or black to gray.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Project Files Part 1
Project Files Part 2

Ratings and Reviews


I am a pretty computer literate person but an Ai beginner i.e. I am completely new to the Creative Cloud/Adobe Illustrator. (This is also the first time I've used CreativeLive.) I think this course it is fantastic. The pace is good as is the content which progressed logically and covers all the basics you'd hope it would. The course is 2 full days' worth of material but it is broken down into segments so you can revisit or skip through as you need to. The presenter is really personable and easy to watch (even for me, a Londoner!). I would also say I think it is pretty good value for money -- I am currently enrolled on a part time course, basically doing the same sort of stuff, and I have to say this is better and a bit cheaper! I definitely recommend it to you!


A brilliantly designed course. it's almost magic. It's everything you hope for in a follow-along software class. Brian Wood has engineered it so that you start on a project that just needs basics, and then you move on to more & more complicated projects, and almost without realizing it you've learned Illustrator. This doesn't just happen -- Wood has clearly put a LOT of effort into creating this course. Here's one trivial example: he doesn't overload you with a lot of keyboard shortcuts right at the beginning -- you start with the actions themselves, using the (admittedly tedious but easy) pulldown menus, and then after you're comfortable with what you're doing, he'll throw in the shortcut. It may seem obvious, but so many instructors feel they have to give you an extensive foundation of definitions, shortcuts, interfaces, etc., before you ever do anything. Good stuff to know, but you'll never remember it. Wood has you up and working almost immediately. And he's a joy to listen to, at a perfect pace. Highly recommended.

Philippe LIENARD

Top course. Very well explained, clear, good examples, pleasant teacher. I like it and recommend it. One suggestion, it would be nice to have a detailed table of content of the course in the material. For instance, it took me quite a while to find back the part of the course where how to make a gear was explained.

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