Blend Options in Illustrator CS5

The Blend tool in Illustrator is a magical tool with which you can create interesting blend of shapes and colors. After seeing some amazing blend effects on many websites, I decided to play around with the tool. Though Blend tool has more than just these options, in this tutorial, my focus would be on Blend Options. We will learn more about the Blend tool in one of our future articles.

1. Launch Illustrator CS5, create a new document (File > New or Ctrl +N).

2. Draw two ellipses with a fill of none and different stoke colors like this;

2ellipses

3. Go to Object > Blend > Blend Options… or double-click the Blend Tool in the Toolbox.

blend_options_dlg

Click on the Spacing drop down box to see all the blending options. Let us take a look at each one of them.

a. Smooth Color: auto-calculates the steps for the blends for a smooth color transition. To apply Smooth color to the ellipses created above, choose Smooth Color in the Spacing box of Blend Options dialog box. Then Object > Blend > Make or Alt +  Ctrl + B.

smooth_color

You can experiment with the fills to create cool effects from Smooth Color blend.

b. Specified Steps: controls the number of steps between the start and end of the blend to the value specified in the Blend Options. For our example, I will choose 8 steps.

spec_steps

Then Object > Blend > Make.

spec_steps

c. Specified Distance: blends the object by controlling the distance between the steps in the blend. The distance is measured from one edge of and object to the corresponding edge of the other object.

spec_dist_opt

After making, the blend looks like this;

spec_dist

f. Orientation: decides the orientation of blended objects.

‘Align to Page’ orients the blend perpendicular to the x axis of the page and ‘Align to Path’ orients the blend perpendicular to the path.

I am sure now you too would be able to create interesting blend effects in your artwork. I hope you liked the tutorial and I thank you for reading it.

Filed Under: Adobe Illustrator

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About the Author: Minal is a freelance web and graphics designer. She specializes in designing Logos, Stationery, Graphics and Icons as well as website templates using graphical tools like Photoshop, Illustrator and Expression Web. Twitter @saffronstroke

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  1. Bryan says:

    Thanks for the tut! I am just starting to learn adobe illustrator so I am still uncomfortable with this software. This is very helpful.

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