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Blend tool in Illustrator tutorial

blend tool for Illustrator tutorial

The blend tool in Illustrator can be used to blend two paths in Illustrator CC CS6 CS5 etc and is found via the Illustrator toolbar. The blend tool has a number of settings such as spacing and smooth colors. You can blend standard paths, strokes, type and other designs in Illustrator. The blend tool is a live tool and can be modified and updated at any point. The blended paths can be used to create interesting 3D like effects, frame designs, grid designs, line designs etc. You can modify the spline of the blend of the paths as well as replace the spline with other paths. The blend tool can be used to create super colorful designs in Illustrator. This tutorials shows you how to use the blend tool in Illustrator with paths. It shows you how to update the spline of the blend paths. It shows you the Illustrator blend tool settings and how to modify them. The tutorial also shows how to use the blend tool with Illustrator type to create amazing zoom paths and unsual type designs in seconds. The blend tool is a powerful feature of Illustrator CC CS6 CS5 etc and the artworks can be also used in Photoshop and other applications.

  1. to blend between paths, create some paths

  2. Go to the blend tool in the toolbar of Illustrator

  3. Select paths (though not required)

  4. Click center points or segments or points etc

blend tool smooth between paths blend tool spine curved spiral tool replace edit spine multiple paths frame design type blend

Blend multiple paths with the Illustrator blend tool

blend tool multiple paths illustrator
  1. Create a number of paths (more than 2)

  2. Select the blend tool in the toolbar

  3. Click on path 1

  4. Click on path 2

  5. Click on path 3

  6. Click on path 4 etc

This can be repeated with a number of paths (though I have no idea if there are a limit to the connected / blended paths)

A guide to the blend tool settings in Illustrator such as the number of steps as well as blend combinations

settings for the blend tool
  1. Double click the blend tool

  2. Set the spacing method

  3. Set to specified steps

  4. Set the number of steps

  5. Set orientation (to path etc)

  6. Set preview to ON

Double click the Illustrator blend tool in the toolbar. You can set the settings before you create the blend or at any time afterwards for a particular blend combination as it is a live effect. You will see only a couple of settings such as smooth color and specified steps and the number of steps and specified distance and the distance as well as align to the page and align to the path. Personally, I generally use the number of steps but specified distance is great if you want to create a blend with paths added say every 10pt or 100pt etc. The smooth color is probably the easiest but least useful (for me) tool but say you have a blue circle and a red circle blend then then blend is between blue to red which can be useful in all kinds of smooth colorful designs such as creating highlights for a sphere design etc.

 

The key thing to remember the blend is always live and can be changed at any point

You can also change the paths such as change the color and shape of the paths in the blend

blend tool and direct selection tool illustrator change blend

Once you have applied the blend, you can still alter the paths involved in the blend such as changing the shape of the paths or perhaps changing the color of the paths and that can be done by selecting the path using the direct selection tool and then changing the color or shape etc for that path or perhaps removing or adding points etc.

  1. Create a blend using the blend tool

  2. Go to the direct selection tool

  3. Select the first or second etc path in the blend

  4. Change the color via the toolbar fill color (or stroke)

  5. Go to the object menu and transform and rotate etc (to rotate one of the blend paths)

  6. Add a point to one of the paths by using the pen tool

  7. Use the direct selection tool and manipulate the new point or others in the first path

You will now notice that the blend will change as you change the color and also the points etc

The blend tool is live and you can change the spine of the blend in seconds

spine blend tool illustrator

There is also a blend tool path / spine (not the paths used in the blend but the line between the paths) and you can also use the direct selection tool to select that spine path and then shift the spine path and distort the spine from the initial straight line. You can also then use tools such as curvature tool or use the anchor point tool to manipulate that blend spine. You can then use it to create some truly unique blend paths with the blend tool and it is still all live and the steps and smooth color etc can still be changed in Illustrator.

  1. Create a blend using the blend tool between two paths

  2. Select the blend

  3. Go to the add anchor point tool and add a point in the center of the blend to the spine that runs between the first path and second

  4. Use the direct selection tool to select that center point of the blend (select only that point, not the end points)

  5. Drag point to re-align the spine and blends

  6. Go to the curvature tool and double click the center point (to turn it into a smooth point)

  7. Manipulate the blend further with the curvature tool such as changing the curve or adding new points etc

Blend tool in Illustrator menu commands

blend tool menu command

There are also a number of blend tool Illustrator menu commands which can be found via the object menu and blend

  1. Make

  2. Release

  3. Blend options

  4. Expand

  5. Replace spine

  6. Reverse spine

  7. Reverse front to back

They are all super useful.

 

The replace spine is probably the most useful with the Illustrator blend tool and to use that select the blend as well as another path such as a spiral open path and then go to the replace spine command and then the blend will be attached to a spiral etc.

 

Or select the blend and select a circle (closed path) and then use the replace spine and you will end up with the blend around a circle which is great for creating all kinds of circular frames etc.

 

The "reverse spine" command swaps the spine around so if you have a red large path at the start of the blend a small blue path at the end, use the reverse spine and the small blue path will be at start of the spine.

 

The "release" command just removes the blend - which is the least useful feature perhaps as you can always just undo or delete the blend (but the release just leaves you with the original paths). Expand - expands the blend tool to normal paths

You can also use the blend tool in Illustrator with type to create amazing type effects in seconds

blend tool type effects

You can create many different and interesting blends with the tool and type. Select two or more and the type doesn't need to be same so you can have some type with the letters 'xyz' and also some letters 'abcd' and blend between those and also with different colors. The type and the blend are all live and can be changed at any point in the process so if you decide to change the words from 'topic' to 'some other topic' you can and then you will see the change in the blend. You can create all kinds of zoom and weird and wonderful twisting type effects by using the blend tool in Illustrator

  1. Create some text such as 'some text'

  2. Create some more text such as 'some text'

  3. Go to the blend tool

  4. Click the first text and then second text

  5. Double click the blend tool and change the settings such as specified steps

  6. Use the direct selection tool / curvature tool etc to change the points of the selected spine of the current blend

The blend tool paths can be stored away in the CC libraries for future use

blend tool library illustrator

You can add the blend tool results into the CC libraries as well as using them as a great source for symbols etc by adding the artwork to the symbols panel and then you can use the artwork as a great source of designs using the symbol sprayer

  1. Create a blend between paths using blend tool

  2. Drag to the CC library panel

Other tutorials

1. blob tool and amazing blob brush designs in Illustrator

2. curvature tool for amazing curve designs in Illustrator

3. dotted lines in Illustrator, how to create tutorial

4. dynamic symbols in Illustrator

Sources and references

1. Blend objects in Illustrator on Adobe