18 Replies Latest reply: Jun 10, 2014 8:48 AM by Scent RSS

    Applying a gradient to a stroke in Illustrator

    davidjerk Community Member

      Hi All,

      I am confused when applying a gradient to a stroke in Illustrator. I am using Effect>Path>Outline Stroke and I cannot get the path stroke added with gradient until I found this Object>Path>Outline Stroke? So what is the use of Effect>Path>Outline Stroke since it cannot accomplish the task? Thanks in advance.

        • 1. Re: Applying a gradient to a stroke in Illustrator
          Wade_Zimmerman Community Member

          A shortcoming of Illustrator that it does not enable he use to apply a gradient to a stroke or allow a gradient to follow a path, long time feature request which is overdue.

          • 2. Re: Applying a gradient to a stroke in Illustrator
            Jacob Bugge MVP

            David,

             

            I am using Effect>Path>Outline Stroke and I cannot get the path stroke added with gradient until I found this Object>Path>Outline Stroke? So what is the use of Effect>Path>Outline Stroke since it cannot accomplish the task?

             

            I am afraid Teri would have to answer that one. Unfortunately, she has been away for more than half a year now.

            • 3. Re: Applying a gradient to a stroke in Illustrator
              davidjerk Community Member

              Hi,

              Have to use Object > Expand Appearance to do that.

               

               

               

               

               

              • 4. Re: Applying a gradient to a stroke in Illustrator
                JETalmage Community Member
                So what is the use of Effect>Path>Outline Stroke...

                 

                The utility of some Effects is realized when used in combination with others. (Illustrator's interface, of course, is hideously confused, so such things are not readily apparent.)

                 

                 

                JET

                • 5. Re: Applying a gradient to a stroke in Illustrator
                  Steve Fairbairn Community Member

                  Strangely it's the Offset Path effect that gets you there (sort of but the gradient still doesn't follow the path).

                  Outline Stroke only works after it has been expanded and even then the gradient doesn't follow the path.

                   

                  Offsetpath.png

                  The only way I can get a "gradient" to follow a path is to make an art brush out of an expanded gradient from which the clipping mask has been removed (in fact a blend). Illie doesn't allow you to make a brush out of a gradient or a masked object, at least not in CS3. Dunno if anything's been done to improve matters in CS5.

                  • 6. Re: Applying a gradient to a stroke in Illustrator
                    Jacob Bugge MVP

                    David, Steve, others,

                     

                    The (only) way I can get it to work (in 10) is to:

                     

                    1) Appearance flyout>Add New Fill,

                    2) Effect>Path>Offset Path (or some other way),

                    3) Drag the (new) Fill with the Offset Path down below Path,

                    4) Apply gradient.

                     

                    See other thread.

                    • 7. Re: Applying a gradient to a stroke in Illustrator
                      Shotster Community Member

                      Hi Jacob,

                       

                      I'm not getting it. I can get a gradient to appear within the offset path, but it doesn't follow the path. Am I misunderstanding?

                       

                      Also, what do you mean by step 3 when you say to drag the new fill "down below path"?

                       

                      -Steve

                      • 8. Re: Applying a gradient to a stroke in Illustrator
                        Steve Fairbairn Community Member

                        Also, what do you mean by step 3 when you say to drag the new fill "down below path"?

                         

                        -Steve

                        Look at my picture. In the Appearance panel the colour gradient is at the bottom, below the stroke

                        • 9. Re: Applying a gradient to a stroke in Illustrator
                          Shotster Community Member

                          Thanks for the reply, Steve.

                           

                          Look at my picture. In the Appearance panel the colour gradient is at the bottom, below the stroke

                           

                          Yes I saw your picture. As I said, I am able to get a gradient  to appear inside an offset path, but the gradient does not follow the path. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding, but I thought that's what Jacob had figured out. A path is not the same thing as a stroke - hence my confusion about Jacob's comment.

                           

                          At any rate, I'm still at a loss as for how to get a gradient to follow a path - and I don't mean in "contour" fashion. What I want is for the gradient to be applied along the length of the stroke. Seems like it should be doable, yet I've been unsuccessful, and my searching has been unfruitful.

                           

                          -Steve

                          • 10. Re: Applying a gradient to a stroke in Illustrator
                            tromboniator Community Member

                            As Steve's post implies, make an Art Brush from a blend.

                             

                            Peter

                             

                            Screen shot 2012-02-18 at 5.36.34 PM.png

                            • 11. Re: Applying a gradient to a stroke in Illustrator
                              Shotster Community Member

                              Thanks for the reply, Peter, but I'm still not getting what I want. Let me rephrase the question... Imagine a simple linear gradient from white to black with shades of gray in between. I want to be able to draw a curve and have the starting point be white and the ending point be black with a transition from white to black along the curve. Is that possible? If so, how? Seems like a simple enough thing to want to do.

                               

                              I don't mean to hijack this thread, so if it's not about what I'm trying to accomplish, I'll start a new one. I thought it was from the subject line.

                               

                              Thanks,

                               

                              -Steve

                              • 12. Re: Applying a gradient to a stroke in Illustrator
                                JETalmage Community Member

                                Linear Grads are just that: linear. They do not follow along a curve. You have to resort to workarounds, some of which have been demonstrated in this old thread.

                                 

                                JET

                                • 13. Re: Applying a gradient to a stroke in Illustrator
                                  Shotster Community Member

                                  Here's the best answer yet:

                                   

                                  http://forums.adobe.com/message/3421137#3421137

                                   

                                  It's not the answer I was hoping for, but at least it gets me there!

                                   

                                  illustrator-curve-grad.png

                                   

                                  By way of conceptual overview... You create a blend between two circles. You then simply replace the "spine" with a path of your choosing.  The "spine" is apparently the path along which the interpolation occurs for the blend operation. This new "gradient stroke" remains fully editable. To eliminate the " edge bumps" that might appear around curves, you can either specify a high number of blend steps (which impacts refresh performance), or you can "cover" them up with a stroke around an offset path that's a duplicate of the spine (which gives you a razor sharp edge for high res output). Even works with a transparency gradient!

                                   

                                  (Why one is forced to perform like a circus monkey in order to do something so simple is beyond me. I mean, why can't one simply choose a gradient for a stroke? I don't get it. Anyway, onward...)

                                   

                                  Thanks for trying, y'all.

                                   

                                  -Steve

                                  • 14. Re: Applying a gradient to a stroke in Illustrator
                                    JETalmage Community Member

                                    >I mean, why can't one simply choose a gradient for a stroke? I don't get it.

                                     

                                    It's a PostScript program. It draws vector constructs understood by Postscript.

                                     

                                    JET

                                    • 15. Re: Applying a gradient to a stroke in Illustrator
                                      Shotster Community Member

                                      It's a PostScript program. It draws vector constructs understood by Postscript.

                                       

                                      It may well be a limitation of PostScript, as your statement implies. I don't know enough about PostScript to say one way or the other. I can assure, you, however, that it has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that Illustrator is a vector-based drawing application. Any number of other vector drawing apps allow you to apply a gradient (and other effects, like "blur") to a stroke. Even the SVG spec describes gradient stokes. You can read about it here...

                                       

                                      http://www.w3.org/TR/SVGTiny12/painting.html#Gradients

                                       

                                      In other words, I can do something in any modern web browser using SVG that Illustrator can't do. Thus, Illustrator seems deficient in that regard.

                                       

                                      Now, what I was looking for, specifically (beyond a basic gradient stroke), was the ability to have the direction of the gradient remain tangent to the curve along its length. That might be possible with SVG, but I haven't the time to experiment right now. In short, I don't think the ability to apply a gradient to a stroke via a simple UI is an unreasonable expectation to have of a sophisticated drawing app like Illustrator.

                                       

                                      Regards,

                                       

                                      -Steve

                                      • 16. Re: Applying a gradient to a stroke in Illustrator
                                        Wade_Zimmerman Community Member

                                        Steve I agree. FWIW Illustrator almost had this capability I made the request so many times they contacted me about it and it seemed they were interested in updating the gradient support but at the last moment changed their minds.

                                         

                                        If you make a feature request and have a better argument than I presented perhaps they will listen.

                                         

                                        But know doubt about this a real weak point on Illustrator and Adobe's part

                                        • 17. Re: Applying a gradient to a stroke in Illustrator
                                          Jacob Bugge MVP

                                          Steve,

                                           

                                          A path is not the same thing as a stroke - hence my confusion about Jacob's comment.

                                           

                                          Argh, someone finally caught up with my typing error, just as I thought I was safe.

                                           

                                          ... I can assure, you, however, that it has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that Illustrator is a vector-based drawing application. Any number of other vector drawing apps... In short, I don't think the ability to apply a gradient to a stroke via a simple UI is an unreasonable expectation to have of a sophisticated drawing app like Illustrator.

                                           

                                          One might think you might think twice before posting that, especially as a reply to James. We, or at least most of us that know Illy well, are quite aware of her shorcomings.

                                          • 18. Re: Applying a gradient to a stroke in Illustrator
                                            Scent Community Member

                                            It's very simple and easy

                                            step 1: Draw the path.

                                            step 2: Ensure that the stroke color in tools panel is activated. ( press X to change between stroke and fill )

                                            step3: press ctrl+F9 to open gradient panel

                                            step 4: Select your gradient type and options. ( you can also use a gradient color in your color swatches. )

                                            IMPORTANT: If you apply a gradient to a stroke in Illustrator and save document as eps file extension, corel X6 can't read this correctly.