About this lesson
Download this lesson’s related exercise files.The Art of The Blend Tool - Instructions.docx
201.1 KB The Art of The Blend Tool - Exercise.ai
1.5 MB The Art of The Blend Tool - Exercise Solution.ai
The Art of The Blend Tool
How to blend lines or shapes either gradually or with a specified number of steps.
When to use
The Blend Tool can be used to create a variety of effects ranging from transitions from one shape to another to creating extruded shapes that have a 3D appearance. You can use either smooth transitions or use a specified number of steps.
- Begin by opening the The Art of the Blend Tool - Exercise.ai file
- With your Selection Tool (V), click and drag around both of the two long triangular shapes at the top of the artboard.
- Go to the Object Menu and choose Blend>Blend Options.
- From the Spacing dropdown menu, change the setting to 'Specified Steps' and enter a value of 5 before pressing 'OK' to close out the dialog box.
- While you still have both shapes selected, return to the Object Menu and choose Blend>Make to create a blend with 5 steps in between the two shapes.
- This time, use your Selection Tool to click and drag the star and the circle in the second row.
- Use the keyboard shortcut Command/Ctrl+Shift+B to apply another blend with the same number of steps that were used previously.
- You can now see how the tool works for transitioning from two similar shapes, as well as two different shapes.
- Hold the Alt/Option+Shift keys and drag a copy of the star-to-circle blend downwards to create a copy below the original.
- Go to the Object Menu and choose Blend>Release to release the blend.
- Select both of these shapes again using the Selection Tool and return to the Object Menu and select Blend>Blend Options.
- This time we will choose 'Smooth Color' instead of the previous option, and then hit 'OK' to close out of the dialog box.
- Once again, use the keyboard shortcut of Command/Ctrl+Shift+B to apply a smooth blend.
- Notice how this time there are more instances of the shapes creating a smoother blend than before.
- Grab your Text Tool (T) and type out a single word before increasing the size of your type.
- Next, go to the Type Menu and choose 'Create Outlines' to convert your text into a shape.
- Select your text and press Command/Ctrl+C to copy it, and then Command/Ctrl+F to paste a copy in front.
- With your top copy selected, hold the Shift Key and press the down arrow and then the right arrow a few times to offset the text.
- Select both copies of the text and return to the Blend Options before setting it to Specified Steps and a higher setting of around 165-175.
- Press 'OK' to close out of the dialog box and then use the same shortcut as before to apply the blend.
- You should now have a 3D looking extrusion that is completely black.
- Now, press Command/Ctrl+F to paste a copy of your original text on top, and then press 'D' on the keyboard to change it to the default colors of a white fill and black stroke.
- When using the Blend Tool to create extruded text, you can lower the opacity of a blend behind your original text to give the illusion of a long shadow effect.
- Not only is the Blend Tool great for text, but it also is very useful when you want to create a shading effect by making several copies of the same shape as shown with the long triangle shapes in the exercise file and video.
- In addition to using the menu to get the Blend Options, you could also select two shapes that you want to blend together and then double click on the Blend Tool (W) in the toolbar.
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