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Painting with Gradients

Lesson 14 from: Adobe Illustrator Creative Cloud: Essentials for Creating Projects

Brian Wood

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Lesson Info

14. Painting with Gradients


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

Painting with Gradients

We've got a few color done. Color things done out there. We've got some swatch... A swatch we created, rather, that we can work with. What I want to do now is I want to start to work a little bit with gradients and talk to you guys about that. Cause these are really important. There's some things we're gonna do with these. What I'd like to do is I'd like to move over to the robot over here on the right. So we're gonna go to the Hand Tool again. A shortcut to get to the Hand Tool, if you're on another tool, you can hold the space bar down. You'll learn that later, but let me move over here. And what I would like you to do is, I'd like to select the robot body down here. So use the Selection Tool and click on the robot body. And now, what we're gonna do is we're gonna apply a gradient. I think this guy should be a silvery something with a little bit of color change, et cetera. Gradients in those shade are super important and they also, there's a lot of great things we can do with them. T...

hey're not that bad to make. What I want you to do is, come up to the control panel. And what we're gonna do is we're gonna fill it, by default, with a white and black gradient. So, a gradient is a blend from one color to another. And that's the simplest gradient. We can make gradients with 50,000 colors that blend to each other and do whatever you want and get nuts. But Illustrator comes with a white to black gradient that you can just simply apply. I think the awesome thing about gradient is that you can apply them to a fill and a stroke. So, you can do some really cool things with the stroke. We've got that applied. Now what I'd like to do is I'd like to go in and I'd like to start editing the gradient itself. So why don't you come over here to the right. You're gonna see a panel called Gradient. Go ahead and click on that. You might have to click twice to close the other panel. The Gradient panel is a place for us to go in and start to affect what we just applied, basically, okay? Now in here it's the same exact thing and everybody trips up on this. You're gonna see... We, first of all, have to pick the stroke or the fill and make sure that we got the gradient fill up front. Okay, that one's selected. And then we can do what we want. There's two kinds of gradients you can create in here. We can create a radial gradient or a circular gradient. Why don't you come to Type, here, and click on the menu. And you can choose Radial if you want. Go and try that. Let's take a look at it. I mean, it's simple. It's just coming from the center. It's kind of neat. I'm gonna go back to Linear. Why don't you do that. And you'll see that we can... I'm gonna skip some of this stuff cause we don't really need it. The bulk of our work on a gradient, if we want to edit the colors and how it works and looks, is gonna be right down here. This is called the Gradient Slider or the Gradient Ramp, if you want to call it that. You're gonna see the two colors that are in the gradient, by default, are on either end of the Gradient Ramp, okay? You guys, think of these as little paint buckets. Okay? It's filled with the color and it's mixing from one to the next. If you want to edit that color, you can double click on that little stop. It's call a color stop. So, if you do this... Watch me up here for a second. First of all, you can actually drag these around and if you look at my gradient out there, you can actually change how it looks out there, okay? You can shorten it. Lengthen it. Whatever you want to do. If you want to change a color... Why don't you come to one of these stops, like the white one, and just double click right on it. Okay. This is gonna allow us to open up two different panels. It's gonna open up the Color Panel and the Swatches Panel at the same time. If you want to, you can look right here to the left. That's the Color. And there's the Swatches. Why don't you click on Swatches. And you can see. There's our swatch. There's all the swatches that we have available. So, all this stuff ties together. Once you start making the color, you're gonna see it everywhere you use color, which is pretty cool. So we can apply, let's say, the purple color. Or we can apply a gray color or do something like that. Why don't you try something a little different. Obviously, it's just affecting the one color on the left there instead of white. So you can try a lot of different things if you want to. This is a really simple gradient. I mean, it's just two colors, right? If we decide we want to do something a little different here... Why don't you do that. Why don't you click in the Gradient Panel again, somewhere where there's nothing to close up that other panel. You can see that. And if you want to, you can come to the black gradient too. Double click and change that color. Okay, so we can change any color we want to. Or either color, rather. Now, to make things interesting. With a gradient, we can go in and add as many colors as we want. If you come below this Gradient Ramp, with the pointer, you're gonna see a little plus show up. Just click somewhere. Just click somewhere underneath the ramp there. What that does, it says, "Let's add another little color stop. Another little paint bucket," okay? And this is where we can add another color. So you can go crazy. We can add a whole bunch if we want to. It really depends. I've actually made, in the book, I went in and we created a... What was it? A mirror, I think? And we had a border, a wood border, on it. And we made a wood grain border by applying a gradient with six different brown colors. It was actually pretty cool. It came out really well, I was kind of surprised. So, we can apply as many colors as we want. So I could come to that little color stop right there, double click and then pick another color and keep working, if we want to, okay? Yeah, this looks horrendous but anyway. That's fine. I'm gonna put white in there. There we go. You can then click within the Gradient Panel to close the color, so you don't have to worry about that. You're gonna go in and you're gonna sometimes mess up. You're gonna actually create a color stop where you do not want it. We can remove these if we want to. If you want to remove one of these little stops, you just drag it off the ramp and let go. So watch. Pretend I add one here. I messed up. I just click. Drag it off. And let go. Kind of an easy way to do it. That's one way. There's also a little, teeny trash can to the right. If you click on a stop, you can click on the trash can and get rid of it too. Either way. The, I think, phenomenal thing about gradients too, is that you can have a color in here that's transparent or translucent. Every one of these little color stops, if you click on it, you're gonna see an opacity option, which you can change. So that's kind of neat. So you can make it to where you have gradients that are overlapping other objects to give it some kind of look or feel, which is pretty neat. I've done that with an ocean. We did it in the book. And we had an ocean and I had three different... Like a blue and a green and I kind of faded them differently between different greens and blues with opacity. And it worked, I think it worked pretty well, so. So anyway, gradients are a great thing for us to be able to do. This is where we can edit them or we can change them. If we have a gradient we really like, we can go out now and we can actually save that in the Swatches Panel. Why don't you come to the Swatches Panel. Once again, we're just switching, all the time, looking at different things. And if you look down here, you will see that we have the new swatch. I have now, I have the fill selected, okay. Click on New Swatch to create a new swatch. And it's gonna say, "What do you want to call it?" I'll just call it robot, or whatever is gonna be good for you. And I can click OK. And it will save that as a swatch now, in the actual panel. (clears throat) Excuse me. So now we can save our solid colors, any colors we make, with the inks the same like ARGB. We can save gradients like this. One last thing with gradients. A lot of times when you make it, you look at it and you're like, "It's not quite right. Maybe I don't want the gradient to go this way. I want it to go this way. Or diagonal or do something different." Once you create a gradient, there's other things we can do. You can actually use what's called the Gradient Tool to then change the direction and the duration of the gradient. That's what we're gonna do. So with that shape still selected, if you come over here to the left, you're gonna see the Gradient Tool right there. Click on the Gradient Tool. And why don't you just watch up here for one second. It can get a little deep but if you notice there's that bar out there, right? If I hover over that bar right there, you're gonna see that we actually have the color stops right there. You can edit the colors and everything right here. You don't have to do it in the panel, if you don't want. So I could come to one of these little stops, and if I double click on it, I get the color thing again. So you can keep editing it, which is really great. So you're doing it visually. I'm gonna press the escape key to hide that. You can do it visually, you can do it right here. Now the thing that's happening though, is that the direction of the gradient is going from left to right. I can tell because that zero, that O, is usually the first color and the box is usually the last color. If you want to change it, we can just draw in a different direction. So if I come up to the top, for instance, if you want to try this, you can just click and drag and say, "We want to go that way." And it's gonna make the direction of the gradient change. You can change it to go that way. Now, like we saw earlier, if you wanted to go perfectly straight up and down, vertical, horizontal. As you draw, you can hold the Shift key. So I can start up here maybe. Click and drag. If I hold that Shift key down while I'm drawing, it will make it straight. I let go of the mouse and the key and I've got my direction, okay? Can you see how the black right there gets really intense towards the end? I might not want that. The great thing about the Gradient Tool is you can actually draw outside the shape and go further, if you want. And it basically makes it so that, like the blackest black won't be there. It's just extending the colors beyond the edge of the shape, which is kind of neat. Yeah. (coughing) Excuse me. Alright, I'm gonna go back to horizontal. You can do whatever you like. I'm gonna use my Shift key. Let go of the mouse. Let go of the Shift key and I've got that. Tell you what, why don't you apply... We're gonna apply the gradient fill to the jaw and to the head. So you can do it all at once if you want to select both objects, we can do that. So if I go to the Selection Tool, I can actually drag across, carefully touching just those two shapes, right? You can also Shift + Click to select them. In the Swatches Panel, I can apply the gradient if I want to. There we go. Looking a little better. That's always going to apply it in the same direction, the same uniform, size, et cetera. So if we wanted to, we can click on each object independently, go to that Gradient Tool and start dragging across and changing the direction and how it works and how it looks.

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.

Student Work