I am creating a 'How to' diagram using illustrations from a previous artist. As such I need to recreate his way of creating image gradients. He seems to do it by using only a small amount of gradient steps creating quite block like gradients. Like this: How would I go about getting my smooth gradients like this? At the moment I am creating a smooth gradient filled object, expanding it then specifying the steps in the dialogue box that then appears. But this does not really recreate the same gradient (please see as follows):So my question is does anybody know how this artist has done this? As the gradients also seem to follow the contours of the object.
Thanks in advance,
There are a lot of elements in these illustrations all containing this type of gradient. I am really trying to find a fast way of creating them. The colour stops might work but would it still follow the contours of the object? Blends might work but I can't for the life of me get them to work with these illustrations. I click on a smooth gradient filled object with a stroke go to the blend options but preveiw is not highlighted and when I click ok after specifying the amount of steps, etc. It does nothing to the illustration. Could you tell me how do they work? As most tutorials just say do the things I've tried.
I think I've worked it out:
1. Create object with smooth gradient.
2. Expand and Specify amount of steps.
3. Click on these steps of colour with the direct selection tool.
4. Then click the main selection tool with all these steps selected.
5. Then select Free Distort from the Effect menu.
6. Distort bands of colour to contours of object.
Any better suggestions would be much appreciated.
Free Distort is rather time consuming and tedious. If you're going to do it that way (using expanded Grads), you'd do better using the white pointer to marquee-select all the anchorPoints at one end of the rectangles and then scaling the selection.
But generally, Blends have long been used to construct shading that parallels or insets from the shape of the object. Regarding your difficulty with that in post 2, you are confusing Blends with Grad Fills. They are entirely different things. See the Online Help.
Nowadays there are a few other tricks you could employ that sort of "elaborate on" the same principle. For example, you could:
That one Brush could now serve on a multitude of different shapes. You would:
ALWAYS state what version of Illustrator you are using.
This kind of thing (and others) would be greatly expedited if Illustrator had a decent contour fill feature like Corel Draw and others.
I am still confused with blends. I can see lots of uses with it when you wish to combine seperate objects and colours but I cannot seem to figure out how you use them within the the context of creating gradient fills within one object. Could you please clarify? Many thanks, Olly
Unless my eyes are more shot than I thought, I don't see any gradients in the samples provided. What I do see are discrete bands of color, colored bands that are shades of one another (not that they would need to be shades of the same color).
Because they are discrete, one can create them as blends and recolor, or other methods--including messing with gradient stops (which, I suppose, would make them gradient filled objects...).
If I wanted to recreate this art, and had access to the originals, I would disect what they did.
Unfortuantely the original files are JPEGs so no help to be had from them I'm afraid. I understand that there are no gradients as such, but wanting to colour these artworks in a similar fashion the quickest way I could think of was using gradients and steps. But with the information provided by JET it seems that these could be done using the blend method. Again many thanks and I'll be back with progress.
If you do wish a more precise recreation, I am afraid you need to approach it some other way.
As I see the original artwork, it has small roundings at the left end, and it has a dark outer stroke and a blend inside from bottom to top, and on top of that it has three slightly shorter parts, the two lower ones abutted. Everything narrower at the left end, except for the stroke which is uniform.
You may recreate all that in this maybe rather silly way:
1) Create a rectangle with the original width and right side height and with the same Stroke Weight and colour as the original and with a solid fill the same colour as the original at the bottom, then create a corresponding rounded rectangle with Corner Radius corresponding to the roundings to the right, and place it on top of the rectangle;
2) Select both and Pathfinder>Divide, then delete the corner paths to the right, then select the rest and Pathfinder>Unite (or whatever it is called in your version to get one path with rounded corners to the right, then scale the H value to the original left side height;
3) Copy 2) to the front, remove the fill, and lock the copy (which holds the stroke), to work on with the fill/nostroke path;
4) Create two copies of 2) and hide the topmost one;
5) With one of the top Reference Points ticked in the Transform palette, select the visible copy path 4) and reduce the H value to a small suitable value (1pt or something, depending on the size);
6) Select 3) and 5) and Object>Blend>Make (with Smooth ticked in Object>Blend>Options), this should give you the background fill;
7) Show the copy hidden in 4) and reduce its height to 1/6 (divide the H value by 6), change the fill to the right (darker) solid colour/shade, move it to a position 1/6 up, and reduce its W value by a small amount so the bottom fill shows at the ends;
8) Move a copy of 7) 1/6 up;
9) Move a copy of 8) 1/3 up;
10) Adjust the colours/shades of 8) and 9), unlock the stroked path from 3), and Group everything, now you should have the whole artwork represented, only rectangular;
Depending on version, you may then:
11a) For the newest version(s) create an Art Brush to be applied to simple paths with decreasing width towards the right, or
11b) For any version, Direct Select the Anchor Points to the far right, and Object>Transform>Scale vertically to get the original height to the right.
Here is an image in greys, indicating the look after 10) and 11) (the stroke should have been wider, eating away more of the height of the bottom fill blend):
Thanks Jacob, that is definitely a more realistic interpretation of the original image. I would suggest though that I am looking for a more time conservative approach, and that this works well for that particular image but there are many objects with not so straight forward shapes.
With reference to creating the two rounded corners - 1)+2) - I would suggest using a jscript such as Round Any Corner that makes this type of operation much easier.
You are welcome, Olly.
I did think of the Round Any Corner script, which I often refer to, but decided to work fully inside Illy features.
In 2) you could skip the scaling up and work with the right side height and then scale up in the left side in 11).
But all those are minor things: it is rather tedious in any case, as you say.
In many cases you have to choose between easy and accurate recreation.
but there are many objects with not so straight forward shapes.
A selection of these might help find the common approach, if there is any.
I imagine that maybe this artist was using CoralDraw instead of Illustrator.
Download the demo. Read its instructions on the Contour Tool and try it out.
And I am using CS4
That rules out the Width Tool. But the same thing can be done by scaling selections of AnchorPoints without much more effort. Here's the basic idea:
Creating the Brush:
Using the Brush:
Thanks everyone especially JET, that's very helpful. Seeing the brush tool in context with the other techniques makes complete sense now. It's a shame that illustrator doesn't feature this, one for the list I reckon.