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3DTutorial

Creating the perfect blend in Illustrator

Whether you're busy creating super-efficient, super-precise or even just super graphics, Blend tool may be super useful. Ben the Illustrator shows you why.

In simple terms, the Blend tool takes two or more lines or objects and creates a series of lines or objects perfectly between the two.

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It can be used to morph one shape into another, create a 3D mesh-gradient effect or add ribbon-like rainbow effects. The Blend tool can be used on single lines or enclosed shapes and while, for the purpose of this tutorial, we'll only be using single lines, each function should be attempted with shapes as well. You might also try blending shapes and lines that are both overlapping and completely separate on the page.

01 Create two lines using the Pen or Pencil tool at any angle, any shape and any distance apart. In the Main Menu toolbar, click Object> Blend>Blend Options, select Specified Steps in the menu and enter a value of 10. Now, select both lines and click Object>Blend>Make to create a basic blend of lines.
penpencil
02 Repeat Step 1, but trying different Step values (the number of lines created in the blend) and also different colours and stroke weights (line thicknesses) for your two initial lines. The Blend tool will blend between your colour and line thickness choices.
repeat step
03 To specify the distance between your lines rather than the number of lines in your blend, select Specified Distance in the Blend Options menu and set your distance. Select your lines and click Object>Blend>Make. This is especially useful if you're creating a selection of blended objects that all require the same line pattern.
distance
04 For some special Gradient Colour effects, again create two lines in two different colours. In the Blend Options menu, choose Smooth Colour, then select both lines and click Object>Blend>Make to get a solid shape with a gradient that appears perfectly within your two original lines.
gradient colour
05 For all blend techniques, you'll see that in your Layers panel you only ever have your original two objects. If you want to expand the blend into a group of separate lines, select the blended objects and click Object>Expand, making everything editable as required.
blend techniques

 

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