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Freeform Gradients in Adobe Illustrator CC

Lesson 3 of 5

Editing and Applying Gradients


Freeform Gradients in Adobe Illustrator CC

Lesson 3 of 5

Editing and Applying Gradients


Lesson Info

Editing and Applying Gradients

So now let's get into some practical applications of going in and how we can actually make this work so simple, but cool. I'm gonna draw a circle, and I'm gonna go back to one of my very basic Grady INTs that I've saved in my swatches panel here. I'm actually going to set this down, Teoh, About 60%. Great. Right here. I'm gonna make a button, start off with my Grady, and here and I want to make a button I'm gonna copy. And I'm also gonna choose Paste in place, which allows me to piece this right on top of my original object there. If you haven't done that, there it is. Paste in place, shift Command V and I've got a copy of it right on top of itself. I'm gonna reduce this down. Gonna hold shift an option so I can constrain it, reduce in the middle, Then I'm gonna rotate it degrees. Awesome. Classic button. Okay, all this is Grady in one way radiant. Another way. There it is. Pretty cool on. It's like, Wow. Yeah, you can do that. You can rotate the entire thing overall if you want to ha...

ve the look of a raised button or the look of an inverted button right there. And it's really, really, really simple. And it's like, Okay, change the color. Absolutely. I could go in here, double click, and I can simply change that color to anything and create a colored button. And it's like, All right, now we're getting someplace I want to go in and I'm gonna add a border for a stroke to this button here. So I'm gonna go to my stroke panel here and I'm going to go. We end and I'm going to add a slight greedy into this that I'm just gonna bump up the size of this so I can see now My default here is I've just got the Grady int running across the same color in the same way as my button. So the highlight of the fill in the highlight of the Stroker right there I want to go ahead and I want to give a raised edge very much like this. Where these little raised edges right here, these little in dense that I did on the key fob. Yeah, that's we're gonna dio. So I'm gonna set this stroke here to apply it across the stroke and zoom in here so you can see. Now I'm going to go ahead and I'm going to do a highlight in the middle. Copy my shadow over to the end, and this will give me the ability to go out and create a nice little ring around this. It's like who? That's cool. Yeah. You want to know what's really cool? I'm gonna copy this highlight here in this highlight here, a copy of my shadow Sliders. And here on the throw those in and all of a sudden I can go in and I can create this really cool ribbed Look on this. All right, there it ISS, and it's like holy cow. So now I've got this button that's adding some texture to the whole thing. It still has got some, you know, nice con cave convex shape to the whole thing. And it's like, wow, vice like this shape and use my eyedropper tool and add that to it, and then add that to that shape. I can begin to start doing some really cool textured control buttons, two circles and it's to Grady INTs. That's all it is this is not multiple lines or anything. This is one radiant that's actually done with highlight shadow. Highlight Shadow, Highlight Shadow. Yeah. Okay, now we're getting someplace. This is a really cool look. Now, keep in mind. You can also go in, and you can change any of these colors. So if you'd like to add darker coming into the middle or darker going out, you can just go ahead. And you can start setting these to be a little bit darker here. If you want to create a little bit different look and feel to that so you could make it look like it's caving in or make look like it's coming out. It's one single stroke with this really cool Grady, and apply to if you like that Grady int dragged out over into the Grady Int panel. Now I had created one before that was this. Okay, so this is a multiple. Multiple highlight shadow, Radiant right here. And the way I set this up is very specific. I went in and to get the spacing perfect, I started off and you can see each one of my colors is put it in a location of 10% difference right there. So 10 2030 40 50. And I did the whole thing there. Now, these Grady INTs are going to grow because these air on the stroke here, k, this is not on the fill. This is on the stroke. And as I create mawr of a heavier stroke wait. It then dissipates across there. You want to create an object like this All of a sudden, it's like, Wow, two radiance. That's it. That's all I have here, the internal, and then the stroke on It's like, OK, that could be kind of cool. Yeah, it is. Well, I love going through and doing a Grady INTs on the stroke there because you get all this really cool dimension. All right, that's kind of interesting.

Class Description


  • Utilize the new freeform gradient tool in Illustrator
  • Understand and navigate the gradient panel
  • Identify uses for gradients in your projects
  • Create and edit gradients of a wide variety


Gradients add a hint of dimension and interest to any flat graphic.  In this course, Jason teaches how to use the new freeform gradient tool in Adobe Illustrator.  He’ll have you creating your own amazing gradients and applying them to your designs.


  • Beginner to Advanced designers interested in exploring the new feature
  • Graphic Designers


Adobe Illustrator CC 2019


An Adobe® Certified Expert and Adobe® Certified Instructor, Jason Hoppe has accrued more than 17 years’ experience in high-end production training, photo retouching, color correction, and creative workflow management. Active in high-end electronic production since the industry’s inception, he’s also taught prepress and electronic design to hundreds of Seattle-based creative professionals and aspiring designers in various settings, including one-on-one tutoring, classroom instruction, live webcasting, and large group training. A founding Instructor at Creative Live, he currently teaches the Adobe® Creative Suite at The School of Visual Concepts, Luminous Works and Seattle Central College.

You can find Jason’s website and blog with Adobe Illustrator tutorials at jasonhoppe.com.


  1. Gradient Panel

    Jump right in to creating simple yet dynamic effects in this first lesson as Jason orients you to the gradient panel and various tools and features available to you. Learn how to access basic gradients included in the swatches panel and how to save your own custom gradient swatches to access across the creative cloud. Jason models useful features such as the reverse feature and how to manipulate the starting point of gradient fills.

  2. Creating Gradients on Fills and Strokes

    Learn how to apply gradients to not only fills on vector objects but also strokes; Jason shows you the different options and when to utilize them. How does a linear gradient differ from a radial gradient? The gradient mesh tool vs. the freeform gradient tool: which makes color stop editing simpler? How do you make a drop shadow? Jason tackles these questions and more in this lesson.

  3. Editing and Applying Gradients

    Jason takes you into practical applications of gradients in web design and UX design: learn how to make a gradient button with just two circles and two gradients. Jason shows you different edits to create a ribbed look and add texture.

  4. Freeform Gradient Creation and Editing

    Jason models freeform gradient use in real-time with a fruit graphic. See how to create a bevel effect and create and manipulate highlights and shadows - all with gradients. Jason demonstrates manipulating the color of the gradient via position of the color stops, creating a complex graphic in short time.

  5. Slip Shadows, Bevels, Highlights, and Shadows

    Close out the course with a dive into the world of complex gradients. Jason demystifies the process and models how to use the blend tool, curvature tool, and gradient annotator to create slip shadows, beveled effects, highlights, and drop shadows. Learn how to blend between shapes, create a spiral shell graphic, add texture, create banners for infographics, create pyramids, design records and wheels, and even create gradient bacon.



I loved this class! i didn't know we could do all of this with the blend tool, so much options, and Jason is a great teacher! i would love to have more short class on specific Ai tools like this with him :)

Diahann Mangoni

love the class! Jason is very clear teaching! I learned a lot about the blending tool! I do recommended

Michelle Mealing

I am blown away by the possibilities. Thanks Jason, I wouldn't be able to do these things without you. I'm definitely purchasing!