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How to Make a Gradient in Illustrator

Gradients allow you to create custom-blended fills that automatically follow the procedural settings you choose. That means you can select how many colors to combine, choose the relative locations of greatest concentration, and select options for the blend pattern that determine how quickly the gradient shifts. When you have mastered these tools, you will know how to make a gradient in Illustrator that looks exactly perfect for each project.
 
Understanding the Gradient Panel
 
All your gradient options are included in this panel, so you can easily set up the behavior of your gradient before applying it with a simple Fill the same way you would a color. Here are the components you need to understand:
 
  1. The gradient fill box is in the upper-left corner. It shows the fill pattern you have selected. Next to it is an arrow to open the selection menu.
  2. To the right of it is the fill type, which tells you the shape of the fill pattern. Below that you can see the stroke, angle, and rotation options.
  3. Under the gradient fill box you can see both the stroke gradient and the fill gradient for your current selection. There is also a reverse gradient option below them.
  4. The colored band that is prominent in the middle third of the box shows the start and end colors, and you can add additional color steps as needed to create more complex gradients.
  5. Below that bad are the options for opacity and for length.
Using the Gradient Tool
 
Once you have designed the gradient you want, there are a couple of ways to use it. You can use a stroke gradient to apply it to a brush, making each stroke carry the gradient and leading to compression or extension of its pattern according to the length of the brushstroke. You can also apply the gradient as a fill to areas. It applies the last selected gradient in either case, so you can use it to put your new gradient wherever you want.
 
Now that you know how to make a gradient in Illustrator, it should be easy for you to create even more complex color designs for your graphics. If you want to make them even sharper, selecting the right assets to serve as the foundation for your graphics ensures you start off on the right footing. Whether you are modifying stock photos for use in your design or simply basing the design off them and creating original art, you have a ton of options in the millions of stock photos on Shutterstock.
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