How to use the blend tool in Illustrator tutorial

How to use the blend tool to combine objects (paths) in Illustrator CC 2018 2017 2015 CS6 CS5 etc

Blend tool and Illustrator / blend paths

how to use blend tool for Illustrator tutorial
  1. To blend between Illustrator paths / objects, create some paths or use existing 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 of those paths to generate the blend between the paths

The BT has a number of settings such as spacing and smooth colors.


You can combine standard paths, strokes, type and other objects in Illustrator.


It is a live tool and modified at any point


Video tutorial about the subject by (youtube)


multiple pathsYou don't have to use just two paths, you can combine multiple paths with the BT. They don't have to be the same type of paths either, the tool is very flexible and can mix and match many different paths though the results often are not what you would expect (such as paths flipped over etc)


Create a number of paths (more than 2). Select the BT in the toolbar. Click on path 1. Click on path 2. Click on path 3 and you will see the colors and the paths merge between all those paths and of course, this can be extended to many additonal paths.


I do not know if there is an internal limit to this. I guess there must be some upper limit


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optionsAccess the settings for the tool via the tool icon. You can

1) Set the spacing method

2) Set to specified steps

3) Set the number of steps

4) Set orientation (to path etc)

5) Set preview to ON


Double click the BT in the toolbar. You can set the settings before you create the design or at any time afterwards for a particular 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 combination with paths added say every 10pt or 100pt or at any distance.


The smooth color is probably the easiest but least useful (for me) tool but you can use it for create lovely highlights using multiple paths. Create a blue circle and then a small white circle inside the blue circle. Click on the blue and white with the smooth option to create an instant highlight spherical design


The key thing to remember the result is always live and the settings can be changed at any time for the selected set of paths


change pathYou can also change the paths such as change the color and shape of the paths


Once you have applied the merge, you can still alter the paths involved in the merge 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.


Create a combination of paths using the BT. Go to the direct selection tool. Select the first or second etc path. Change the color via the toolbar fill color (or stroke). Go to the object menu and transform and rotate etc (to rotate one of the paths). Add a point to one of the paths by using the pen tool. Use the direct selection tool and manipulate the new point or others in the first path


There is also a BT spine (not the paths used in the merge but the line connecting the paths) and you can also use the direct selection tool to select that spine and then shift the spine path and distort it from its default basic straight line.


You can also then use tools such as curvature tool or use the anchor point tool to manipulate that spine.


spineYou can also use the menu commands found in the object / blend menu to replace the spine and this can be done by selecting the merged paths along with an additional path (open or closed) and the command will take the existing spine and replace it with the new path. You can change a spine such as straight line between two paths with a spine in a spiral etc You can also use closed paths to create some truly weird and wonderful abstract designs such as selecting the merged paths with a star and the result can be stunning (or just odd)


Create a union between two paths using the BT. Select the result of this union. Go to the add anchor point tool and add a point in the center of the spine that runs between the first path and second. Use the direct selection tool to select that center point of the merge (select only that point, not the end points). Drag point to re-align the spine. Go to the curvature tool and double click the center point (to turn it into a smooth point)


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