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Creating a tapered gradient brush - Adobe Illustrator Windows

Hello, I am working on a diagram that is a spiral shape. I want to create a tapered brush with a color gradient for the spiral - so it thins to nothing on the inside of the spiral, and is thicker at the outside end of the spiral. I want to use the "Tapered - Sharp" brush that comes in the "Artistic_Ink" brushes palette in Illustrator CS2, but I also want a colored gradient that follows the shape of the spiral. So I know how to create the gradient brush, but not how to put the two together. Has anybody ...

  1. #1

    Default Creating a tapered gradient brush

    Hello,

    I am working on a diagram that is a spiral shape. I want to create a tapered brush with a color gradient for the spiral - so it thins to nothing on the inside of the spiral, and is thicker at the outside end of the spiral.

    I want to use the "Tapered - Sharp" brush that comes in the "Artistic_Ink" brushes palette in Illustrator CS2, but I also want a colored gradient that follows the shape of the spiral.

    So I know how to create the gradient brush, but not how to put the two together. Has anybody done this before?

    Thanks in advance
    Jane
    Jane_E_Thomas@adobeforums.com Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: Creating a tapered gradient brush

    Jane,

    Creating gradient brushes is tricky regardless of the shape, but it shouldn't be much harder for a tapered one than a straight one.

    Could you explain more about how you are going about creating gradient brushes in general, and what kinds of problems you are encountering in "putting the two together"? I assume you are trying to achieve something like this:

    Ordinarily I would explain how to create gradient brushes, but since you say you already know how to do that, I'm not sure what part you are missing.

    There is a cool thread on various kinds of gradient and/or blended strokes here:

    David Sansom, "How to gradient stroke" #1, 8 Jul 2005 12:02 am </cgi-bin/webx?13.3bbb3d70/0>
    Teri Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: Creating a tapered gradient brush

    Thanks Teri, that is exactly what I am trying to achieve!

    To create the gradient brush, I create a stroke, outline it and fill it with my gradient. Then I expand the gradient, and go into the Layers palette to delete the clipping path that is created when the gradient is expanded. Then I drag the whole thing into the Brushes palette.

    The problem I am having is that when I have the pointy-ended rectangle with a gradient (like you have shown above), I expand the gradient as usual. But when I delete the clipping path, it turns it into a regular rectangle. Which means, of course, that I can't turn it into a tapered brush. If I don't delete the clipping path, I get an error message when trying to create the brush - "The selected artwork contains an element that cannot be used in an art brush".

    Is there another way to create a gradient brush?

    Thanks a bunch,
    Jane
    Jane_E_Thomas@adobeforums.com Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: Creating a tapered gradient brush

    Teri, that thread may be cool, but your spiral is hot.

    Jane, if you want to reverse the colours, thrust the thick end deepest into the forge.
    Jacob_Bugge@adobeforums.com Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: Creating a tapered gradient brush

    Jane,

    If you want to start with an expanded gradient, then you can do the following:

    Clipping Mask>Release
    Pathfinder>Crop

    However, I find that I get smoother brush strokes by starting with a blend and then expanding the blend. (Set the blend steps to something like 20 to 30 steps. The default Smooth Color makes too many.) The overlap between steps of the blend helps make the brush connect better. So at the tapered end, you would blend from a wide object down to a small narrow object.

    Expanded gradients barely touch, which causes anti-aliasing at best and sometimes actual gaps when the brush goes around a corner. If you do start with an expanded and then cropped gradient, you may want to follow that with either an Offset Path by a very small increment like 0.1 pt, or a Transform Each by a scale like 101%, just to cause a tiny bit of overlapping.
    Teri Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: Creating a tapered gradient brush

    Thanks again. I have created a blend that matches my gradient and taper, but when I go Object -> Blend -> Expand, and drag that into my Brushes palette, I get the same error message, that it contains an element that cannot be used in an art brush.

    I created the blend by chopping up the taper shape using the Knife, filling them, and then blending.

    Is there something I am missing, that is causing me to keep getting that error message?

    thanks
    Jane
    Jane_E_Thomas@adobeforums.com Guest

  7. #7

    Default Re: Creating a tapered gradient brush

    Never mind, I finally figured it out!

    My problem was with the objects I was trying to blend - a couple of them had gradients in them, at the points where I wanted the colors to change. This resulted in some of the expanded blend objects having gradients too (hence the error message). I fixed it so that the objects were all only solid colors.

    Thanks for your help,
    Jane
    Jane_E_Thomas@adobeforums.com Guest

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