Get creative by applying and editing freeform gradients to achieve more natural and freeform color blending.

What you'll need

This sample file is an Adobe Stock asset you can use to practice what you learn in this tutorial. If you want to use the sample file beyond this tutorial, you can purchase a license on Adobe Stock. Check out the ReadMe file in the folder for the terms that apply to your use of this sample file.    

What you learned: Apply and create a freeform gradient to artwork

What is a freeform gradient?

In Illustrator, a freeform gradient is used to create a graduated blend of color stops within a shape in an ordered or random sequence such that the blending appears smooth and natural. A freeform gradient can be applied in two modes:

  • Points: Select this option if you want to create color stops as independent points in the object.
  • Lines: Select this option if you want to create color stops over a line segment in the object. 

Apply a freeform gradient

  1. Select the Gradient tool in the toolbar on the left and click in the artwork to apply a default White, Black gradient, in this instance.
  2. In the Properties panel, click the Freeform Gradient button to change the gradient to a freeform gradient. The freeform gradient you see when working on your own artwork may be different. That’s because Illustrator uses Content Aware technology to apply colors based on the surrounding artwork and other factors.

After changing the gradient type, a series of color stops will appear in the artwork. The number and color of those color stops may be different depending on the artwork in your document.

Edit the color stops

For each color stop, you can perform the following:

  • To change the color of the color stop, double-click the color stop to make several color options appear in a panel, or select the color stop and click the Fill color in the Properties panel.
  • To remove a color stop, either press Backspace or Delete, or drag the color stop outside the bounds of the selected artwork.
  • To add a new color stop, click within the bounds of the selected artwork.
  • To move a color stop, press and drag a color stop.

Tip: To change the color of more than one color stop at a time, Shift-click the color stops you wish to edit, then click the Fill color in the Properties panel and adjust the color for all of them.

Create gradient lines

Aside from adding color using color stops, you can also draw a line that you can blend the same or different colors along. Gradient lines will make the color along the path have a more solid appearance.

  • In the Properties panel, select the Lines option.
  • Click in the selected artwork to set a point and begin drawing the line.
  • Click in another spot to draw a curved line.
  • Continue clicking until you finish the path.

Drag to reposition the points or double-click any of them on the path to edit their color. Press Delete or Backspace to remove them or click on the line to add new points.

  • To stop drawing, press the Esc key.

Edit the points again

To edit the individual color stops that are not associated with a line, select the Points option in the Properties panel. You can then select and edit points.

09/18/2019

Adobe Stock Contributor: jack1e

Presenter: Brian Wood

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