4 Replies Latest reply on Nov 23, 2009 10:24 AM by yabbox

    How to make a gradient on two paths

    yabbox Level 1

      Hello,

       

      I am fairly new to Illustrator, although have used Photoshop, Fireworks and DW to some degree in the past.

       

      In CS4, I am trying to make a country map with different counties or states.  Using the map of the UK and including Wales, Scotland, and some of the counties as an example.  I need to portray the whole country, but only highlight a specific part of the land, along a train line and so quickly fade away to almost transparent in the further edges.

       

      Using the pen tool I have traced the country and county borders as paths. I then used the fill tool to make each country, or sea, a different colour.  Now I want to fade the edges of my map away to transparent to bring attention to the middle.  I have drawn another path on top and beyond the edge of the artwork and tried to make a transparency overlay and gradient in this path to make it fade to the edges.  However, this does not work as I had hoped for three reasons.

       

      1) the darkest edge of my 'fade path' does not blend into the country below but is quite an obvious line.

       

      2) the gradient is a different colour as it sits on top of other paths of different colours.

       

      3) the gradient is linear, from top to north, of radial, from a certain spot.  I need the gradient to flow out in all directions from a un-uniform 'blob' roughly in the middle.

       

      Can you please tell me how I can achieve my aim?

       

      3) I had one more query when tracing my map ...  I have two shapes and the paths align along one edge, think of the south border of Scotland, and the north border of England for example.  At the moment I have these two paths running alongside each other but not joined. So if I didn't draw my pen accurately, there are small pockets where they don't touch. Ideally I would like to borrow the other path line for a time then leave it as it continues on it's own route.

       

      Sorry if I mixed up the terms, I hope you can understand me.

       

      Hope you can advise which tools I should be using, or some tutorials I can follow?

       

      Thanks in advance.

        • 1. Re: How to make a gradient on two paths
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

          I need the gradient to flow out in all directions from a un-uniform 'blob' roughly in the middle.

           

          Shape Blends. Draw the blob in the middle, select it, then also select the outer border using the blend shape tool. Once the belnd has been created, adjust its parameters and appearance using the Object --> Blend menu options. Look for details in the help. Blends work best with similar shapes, so make sure eitehr your country borders are a closed area or, if separate edges are used, you only create matching lines/ curves as the start of the blob.You could also use gradient meshes of course, which are also explained in the help.

           

          Ideally I would like to borrow the other path line for a time then leave it as it continues on it's own route.

           

          You can simply copy&paste items (Paste in front to retain exact positioning). Ideally you would create separate layers first, so one for Scotland, one for England. When you paste, the layer where you want to insert your path must be selected (you can of course re-organize it later as well).

           

          Mylenium

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: How to make a gradient on two paths
            Skullmaker Level 3

            Hello Yabbox,

             

            Illustrator also have a mask feature similar to Photoshop:

            England.png

            Here is the link that will tell you how to use it: http://help.adobe.com/en_US/Illustrator/14.0/WS2D8B6C1E-A2C8-4902-89C8-E5D04A6B314Ba.html

             

            And this is the sample of the mask I used for the sample:

            England Mask.jpg

            So you can copy the same mask for every item you want (Train lines, Patterns, etc.).

             

            I hope this helps!

            • 3. Re: How to make a gradient on two paths
              Skullmaker Level 3

              Hello Mylenium,

               

              You beat me to the punch!

              • 4. Re: How to make a gradient on two paths
                yabbox Level 1

                Thanks Mylenium. I've certainly learnt something from both replies.  I have now finished tracing the countries using your paste and cut method.  It was quite a tedious job!  I also found using the lasso tool and direct selecion tool that I could highlight just the area that bordered the next county/country.  My the latter stages I had to select multiples, join them and then add, delete more anchor points.  I'm sure there must be an easier way to trace an image!

                 

                I tried the live trace, but the map I was using was too detailed it traced geography and not the borders.  Anyway, I'm there now.  Thanks for the advice.

                 

                I think I'm on the wrong track with the 'blob'. I didn't mean the blob tool on AI, but was referring to the middle content of my map following the railway line, which is the bit I wanted to 'stand out' from the rest. I have perservered and think I'm getting somewhere with the gradients.

                 

                Thanks also Skullmaster for the idea of gradient.  It wasn't working how I need, but from your link I found how to make a 'transparent opacity mask' which I have used with a photo in the background to some effect.

                 

                It is a feature rich software and hard to know what to look for when I'm not sure of the terms.  Unfortunately I have a deadline for what I'm doing and this map is only a small part of it.  It will have to remain a work in progress as I slowly learn more techniques.

                 

                I'm sure I'll be back with more ...