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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. CorelDRAW
Design

How to Create and Use Gradients in CorelDRAW

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:ShortLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial you'll learn how to incorporate various gradient types and styles into an icon design in CorelDRAW. Additionally, you'll become comfortable with the Interactive Gradient Tool, which allows users to manually set the angle, distribution, and placement of a gradient within an object. Finally, we'll use Transparency and Merge Mode settings to render objects.

1. Linear and Radial Gradients

Step 1

Let's start with the most common of gradients: the Linear Gradient. I used the Rectangle Tool (F6) to draw a rectangle and rounded out the corners in the Property Bar. In the Object Properties docker, set the Outline to none and select Fountain Fill from the Fill options.

Choose the first square, the Linear GradientClick on each color in the gradient slider to change the color in the drop-down menu. Double-click on the slider to add a color. Double-click on a color to delete it (you cannot delete the left-most and right-most colors). I set the angle to 90° so the gradient is horizontal rather than vertical.

Applying a Linear Gradient

Step 2

Use the Ellipse Tool (F7) to draw a circle that overlaps most of the rounded rectangle. From the Fountain Fill option in the Object Properties docker, select Radial Gradient this time. Do note that radial gradients can be applied to any shape. Select both shapes and hit Intersect in the Property BarDelete the circle.

As before, set the Outline to none and change the gradient's colors (since they'll come up as the default black and white). This time, change both colors to white. Note the little glass icon below the gradient slider; this is the Transparency setting. Select the left white color and set Transparency to 100%

Use radial gradients to create highlights

Step 3

Let's adjust the Radial Gradient so that it's a pop of highlight rather than just a large circle of white. In the Toolbar, you'll find the Interactive Fill Tool (G). This allows you to control the angle, distribution, and placement of your gradients easily, without having to manually set RotateSkew, or other Transformation settings in the Fountain Fill options.

  1. With the Radial Gradient applied and the shape selected, use the Interactive Fill Tool to change the placement of the entire gradient.
  2. If you Rotate the outside square of the gradient and Scale the circle icon (see below), you can change the circular gradient into an ellipse.
  3. Rotate the gradient for a second time so that the now elliptical gradient is in the center of the rounded rectangle.
  4. The final piece of this step has a bright Radial Gradient hot spot in my initial gray Linear GradientGroup (Control-G) the rounded rectangle with the Radial Gradient shape.
Use the Interactive Fill Tool for greater control over gradients

Step 4

Using the same linear gradient from Step 1, I can apply it to an ellipse and create a chain design. Simply draw an ellipse with the Ellipse Tool, overlap a smaller ellipse in the center of the first, and hit Minus Front in the Property Bar. Use the Attributes Eyedropper to copy the gradient from the rounded rectangle onto the newly made o-ring.

Then overlap the rounded rectangle group and the o-ring shape. Copy (Control-C) and Paste (Control-V) the two links to form a large chain. Rotate objects by double-clicking on them with the Pick Tool

Rounded rectangles and circles form chain links

2. Layering Gradients and Transparencies

Step 1

To further demonstrate the power of gradients in CorelDRAW, let's create a pendant for our chain. Draw a large ellipse with the Ellipse Tool. In the Object Properties docker, set the Outline to 3.0 pt and a medium gray color.

Set the fill to Fountain FillLinear Gradient, and the same gradient as we used in the very first step. The gray used for the outline should match one of the colors from the linear gradient (or be within the same gray range). Consider this step to be a simple refresher on applying a simple gradient. Let's move on.

Outlines and gradients create a sense of depth within a shape

Step 2

Draw a smaller ellipse inside the first. Set the Fountain Fill to a Radial Gradient. I chose turquoise and creamy yellow as my gradient colors. Use the Interactive Gradient Tool to drag the Radial Gradient to the top left of the ellipse.

In the Blend Transition section, set Acceleration to -7.0 and select Smooth to the right of the Acceleration box. These settings change how the colors within the gradient blend together.

Adjust the placement of the gradients radius to change the light source

Step 3

Under the Outline options in the Object Properties docker, set the Outline to 2.0 pt and the color to blue. In the Transparency options, select Fountain Fill. Set the gradient to Radial and choose Outline from the options below the Node Position. This will give the outline a subtler appearance, and shows you how multiple instances of gradients, transparencies, and outlines can create depth in a small design.

Bleed gradients into outlines to blend portions of an object together

3. Piling Up the Details

Step 1

Now that you've had an introduction to the gradient tools within CorelDRAW, let's see what else we can do with this necklace design. Using the Star Tool, I drew small four-pointed stars as sparkles with the white Radial Gradient from our initial ellipse applied. Additionally, I drew blue and yellow ellipses and crescent shapes on the pendant itself.

To shade the chain further, I used the Pen Tool to draw Linear Gradient shapes that go from 0% Transparent to 100% Transparent in dark gray and black. I used the Interactive Gradient Tool to adjust the placement of each gradient and set the Merge Mode to Multiply in the Transparency options.

Add transparent gradient shapes to create shadows and highlights

Step 2

For a background, I applied a Radial Gradient to a rounded rectangle that goes from light pink to dark pink at the edges. To add shadows, I merged a copied and pasted instance of the entire chain and pendant design, set the fill color to dark gray, Merge Mode to Multiply, and Transparency to 50%. Additionally, a dark pink to transparent Linear Gradient was added to an ellipse to create a shadow at the top of the design.

I then grouped all of this together and placed it inside a Power Clip (similar to a Clipping Mask in Adobe Illustrator). To do so, simply draw the shape you want your design clipped to, and go to Object > Power Clip > Place Inside Frame.

Prepare and create a power clipped object

Great Job, You're Done!

Now that you've had a proper introduction to the gradient tools in CorelDRAW, how far can you push your designs? Use layer gradients and transparent shapes to render your design more fully. If you haven't already, check out these other beginner tutorials for the program:

The final icon design
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