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How To Edit Gradients In Illustrator For Beginners

Creating gradient swatches

You can create a quick preset, create a basic rectangle and keep selected. Go to the swatches panel. Click on one of the pre-built colorful presets (you can create it totally from scratch but why when there are perfectly decent ones to select as the basis for a new one). Go to the gradient panel (window menu). Add a color stop by clicking below the bottom of the control bar (a little + will appear in the cursor). Double click a stop to change a color. Select a stop and drag downwards to remove. Click a stop and drag left or right to move. Add multiple new stops. Set the type to radial or linear and then go to the Swatches panel and right side command and new swatch. Save the document as an AI file for the presets to be stored with the file. You can then access the presets via other files via the library functionality of the application and selecting that file.

Free download

Please feel free to download this selection of AI files with presets included. The swatches are all accessed either by adding the AI file to the presets folder (please check out our other videos on that) or using the window menu and bottom libraries functionality and the other libraries menu command and then browse for the AI files and add them into the application as a library and then select the preset which will then be added to your document's panel for use in future work.

free download of presets vector libraries

Basic preset

Create a rectangle. Go to the gradient panel and click the basic preset which is normally black and white. You will see the type on the panel, keep it simple by clicking the linear one (first item). You can extend the panel out so you don't need to keep it very small, it can be stretched to the full length of the screen. You will see the first stop as a gray scale 0% stop. You can change that to RGB by double clicking it and going to the right side menu of the color stop panel and changing it to RGB and then changing the color of the sliders such as red, green and blue to set it to a green or red color stop. Go to the far right side stop and double click that to display the color stop panel and instead of 100%, set the right side menu to RGB (or CMYK etc) and then change the color sliders for that stop to green, blue, red, purple etc. Hover along the bottom of the color bar and you will see a plus appear as you cross the bar to the panel. Click it to add another stop and as with the other ones, you can add a stop and then set the colors for the stop and if the other stops are RGB, the new stop will be as well. You can then drag and position it anywhere.

Change colors

You can add any colors you like to your preset. You can also select any of the presets in the panel and then change the colors manually. You can also select the path with the preset and then go to the edit menu and edit colors and recolor artwork and use the color features to tweak the colors based on libraries such as renaissance or medieval etc. You can also use the edit menu and adjust color balance (though remember to set the preview to on). You can also use third party plugins such as Phantasm from Astute Graphics as well as Randomino from Astute to change the colors in even more ways.


All the sets costs $7.79 (also GBP, etc) (or in different currencies), AI format, downloads

BUY 7,600 Presets (V2) gallery

BUY 1,100 Presets (V3) gallery

BUY 1,600 Presets (V1) gallery

BUY 625 Presets (V7) gallery