Make It in a Minute: Freeform Gradients

A new feature in the latest version of Adobe Illustrator CC, Freeform Gradient, makes it easy to create complex, multicolored gradients to transform your illustrations. The video below shows you how to apply gradients with points and with lines—you can use whichever method you prefer.

Click the above image to watch the Freeform Gradient how-to video.

Follow these steps to make exquisitely complex color blends that look like they take hours to create:

  1. Download the example file and uncompress the folder.
  2. Open the supplied file (named "") in Illustrator. Choose the Direct Selection Tool and select a section of the bird in the example file.
  3. Open the Gradient panel and select Freeform Gradient from the Type section.
  4. To apply gradients with points, select Points in the Gradient panel, and then double-click a color stop to open the color swatch and apply a new color.

Applying gradients with lines takes a few extra steps:

  1. Use the Direct Selection Tool to select a different section of the bird.
  2. Choose the Freeform Gradient.
  3. Choose Lines in the Gradient panel.
  4. Click to add points to the path. Press Esc on your keyboard when you’re finished.
  5. Double-click a color stop and add colors to different points along the path.

If you haven't had much experience with Illustrator gradients, you may want to also review some basics.