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5.1 Gradients

Hey Illustrator aficionados. This week we're going to be learning all about effects and how to give al your illustrator files that extra zip, bang, boom for your buck. Let's open up Illustrator and get started. Let's create a new document. We only need one art board for this and we'll hit okay. And the first thing we're gonna learn about is gradients. Now let's pull out our gradient palette like we've been doing just to see exactly what a gradient is. A gradient means you're basically transitioning from one color to another color. And we know that when we create a square and this square has a white kind of fill and a black stroke. Well, check this out. We click inside this gradient palette, just right here, and we get ourselves a gradient. Now, this is great for shading, for giving things 3D effects, but there's a lot you can do with gradients. First off, you can adjust their angle. You can choose from a linear or a radial gradient. You can adjust the roundness of said radial gradient. You can even reverse gradients very quickly. And Illustrator comes with some stock gradients that are pretty interesting looking too. The next thing that we can do with gradients, is add in multiple colors. So there is a couple ways to do that. Number one we can click right in the middle here. That adds in a new color and we can just change the color. And you can see what that does. And we can do that as many times as we want. Each color that you assign to a gradient can have different opacity, different levels of see-through-ness. If I create a second square, you can see parts are see through. Other parts not so see through. And gradients can really be layered on top of each other like we're seeing here for different effects. I'll turn off the stroke. And you can see that almost looks like a beveled shine, but rather it's just another gradient on top of the original gradient. All that aside, let's look at gradients in practical applications. We'll take a circle We'll just reset it by choosing a color here. Choose your fill, and let's pick blue. Now we decide we want it to be a blue-to-white gradient. Well, this gradient's a little crazy. So let's just choose our fade to black. Make it basic. We can take our blue swatch and drag it into the gradient. So now we have light to dark blue. Lets make it radial, we have an interesting highlight there. Now we can grab the gradient tool, or G on our keyboard, and we have this whole gradient handle thing, and let me show you how that works. You can grab the center and move it to, say, over here, And that gives us positioning the center of the gradient. You can grab an edge and expand the size of that gradient. You can grab the top controller here and expand the roundedness. The left will also expand the size. We also get our gradient slider here. So we can adjust how big that highlight is or how small it is and we can adjust how sharp that gradient is by moving around our swatches. Our slider's combination. Gonna keep it reasonably round. And when I get rid of the stroke on this, there is no reason to not think that that is a sphere, a 3D circle coming at us. And if I'm not comfortable with it being black, I can select first the black, crank it up, and make it blue. I can copy and paste this, And you can see, you get a very, very cool 3D effect, with gradients. In this scenario let's combine it with something else that we know, which is Adding in a pad like this. Bottom, and we're gonna just choose a nice dark blue, put this on top. Like it's casting a shadow there. And we'll take this blue ever so slightly Do some shadows beneath both of these. And these are very simple shadows. We're going to get into making these shadows. Really to the next level in the next lesson. But that's what gradients are all about. Now let me show you something from my own personal collection inside my Illustrator and my For Fun folder that I had made with gradients basically. Here, when we zoom in and take a look. You can see what I've done is I've created gradients. Ungroup it so it's a little easier to see. Fairly complex with several layers of gray so that this particular object has a real shiny metal look. Each of these are different angled gradients. The buttons for on and off, if you will, are two circular gradients. We have a gradient going down here, one going up here. And it's really amazing, right, that something that when you go from black to black and gray with a gradient can really get kind of a black metal finish to it. You can also use contrasting gradients going one direction or the other direction to make something seem like it is inset or offset. I'm gonna create another new document and show you what that's all about. So we'll make a circle first. And we'll click inside to get a basic gradient. Now, that angle's okay. We're gonna change it to something like, yeah, that's pretty good. Now we're gonna copy with command C and command V. Paste in a new circle. Rotate that one all the way around. Shrink it down. And use our align pallet. To line it up. And if we take away the stroke especially on this, then all of a sudden it looks like we have a button that we can kind of push in. Likewise, if you take that and reverse it just by selecting the whole thing and rotating it around, now all of a sudden, you have a button that you can push out. So one is going away from you and one's coming at you. And a lot of that is about shading and art and all the basic principles that you learn in drawing class. They can be applied to Illustrator with gradients and you can imagine that is these things get added to. They can just continuously grow in complexity until they really become something else. Something pretty fun. This one here. So gradients are a very powerful way to very quickly build advanced stuff in Illustrator and take coloring and shading to the next level. With a gradient tool in linear gradients like this one, the linear gradient of course goes in a straight line, and the radial opens up in a circle. Linear gradients, you can just click and drag to adjust which way your gradient goes. This almost looks like some kind of crazy speaker box, in fact. Let's shrink it down and put it up on its side, and make two of them. I already hear stuff jamming out. Gradients are also fantastic for us to do things like add lines for dimension Inside of our designs. So, now we come. We had a simple trapezoid. Copy and paste. Take that trapezoid. Pull one side over. And now these speakers have an entire backside to them and just with two trapezoids. So you can see the ability to use gradients to your advantage to trick people's eyes, is very important. And if we wanted to change the shading on this one, we go to object, transform and reflect, and now we have pretty consistent shading. To your right, the light's all coming from say here is our fake light source. And sometimes, it helps just go ahead and make a nice crazy dot in a weird color in your scene. That helps you kind of determine, all right, where should the light be coming from is something's going out, where should the light be coming from if light's going in. That way, you can be consistent in saying, okay, if the light is coming from here, it'll be light on this side and dark down here. It'll be light over here and dark over here. That's basically a cheating way of saying, that's how I have consistent gradients, that's how I make things look believable inside of Illustrator. Now, what I'm going to do is save this file as speakers, why not? I'm going to save it inside our class files. And you will be able to go ahead and select these, and because it's all the same gradient, you can select them all, click on black, and change black to, say, a lighter gray. And change white to RGB, and we'll do a blue or something. And as you can see with gradients, depending on what you use for colors or complexity, you can get very different, drastically different, looks in your Ilustrator scene. Coming up, we're gonna take our objects that we've got, gradient or not gradient, to the next level with masks. Masks are a way of hiding objects or parts of objects. It's really cool, and a super-useful technique in Illustrator. So that's coming up next. Stay tuned.

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