Abstract Ombre Background in Adobe Illustrator - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class | Helen Bradley | Skillshare

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Abstract Ombre Background in Adobe Illustrator - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

teacher avatar Helen Bradley, Graphic Design for Lunch™

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

4 Lessons (26m)
    • 1. Introduction to Ombre Abstact Design - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class

      0:56
    • 2. Pt 1 - Ombre Abstact Background Design

      4:19
    • 3. Pt 2 - Ombre Abstact Background Design

      12:14
    • 4. Pt 3 - Ombre Abstact Design

      8:01
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About This Class

Graphic Design for Lunch™ is a series of short video courses you can study in bite size pieces such as at lunchtime. In this course you'll learn to create a custom ombre (gradient) color scheme using a blend in Illustrator. You'll then see how to use the color scheme to make and color an ombre background design. This is what we will be making:

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Meet Your Teacher

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Helen Bradley

Graphic Design for Lunch™

Top Teacher

Helen teaches the popular Graphic Design for Lunch™ courses which focus on teaching Adobe® Photoshop®, Adobe® Illustrator®, Procreate®, and other graphic design and photo editing applications. Each course is short enough to take over a lunch break and is packed with useful and fun techniques. Class projects reinforce what is taught so they too can be easily completed over a lunch hour or two.

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Transcripts

1. Introduction to Ombre Abstact Design - A Graphic Design for Lunch™ Class: Hello, I'm Helen Bradley. Welcome to this graphic design for lunch class. Today we're looking at creating an ombre background design in Adobe Illustrator. We're going to start by creating the ombre color scheme, and we're going to do that using a blend. Then we're going to create the basic pattern shape, replicate it, and fill it with the colors that we're using. As you're working through these videos, you might see a prompt which lets you recommend this class to others. Please, if you're enjoying the class, give it a thumbs up. These recommendations help me get my classes in front of more people just like you who want to learn more about Illustrator. If you'd like to leave a comment, please do so. I read and respond to every comment, and I look at all of your class projects. Now let's get started creating an ombre, abstract patterns in Illustrator. 2. Pt 1 - Ombre Abstact Background Design: To get started with our ombre abstract pattern, I'm going to create a document that's going to be the foundation of everything. I'm going to build everything up in this document. I'm going to create it as 1000 pixels by 1000 pixels RGB color. We're going to start by creating the ombre color scheme, so I'm going to the rectangle tool. I'm just going to drag out a shallow rectangle. I'm going to turn the strike off and I'm going to fill it with a color. Now, I'm going to do a color scheme that goes from aqua blue this one here, through yellow to a bright red. I'm going to start by filling one square or one rectangle with my blue. Then I'm going to get the selection tool again, hold Alt or Option as I drag a duplicate shape away. This one I'm going to fill with the middle color of my color scheme, that's going to be the yellow, and then I'll Alt or Option-drag a final rectangle away and I'll fill it with the last color that I plan to use, this bright red here. I'm just going to align these neatly so the tops are neatly aligned and I'm going to create a blend with them. I'm going to the blend tool here. I'll click on it and then hover over the first of these shapes. When I say the little asterisk there, I can click once. I'll go to the next shape, I'll see a plus sign, I'll click again. This will create the first of my blends but I don't have to stop there and I can go across here and add this color to my blend as well. Now, I've currently got a gradient that goes from the blue through the yellow to the red but what I really want is a color scheme that I can use to create an ombre pattern. So I'm going to double-click on the Blend tool and I'm going to, instead of choosing smooth color, I'm going to select specified steps and I'll click "Preview" and this is way too many steps. In fact, I want something more like four or five. I'm just going to type four for the moment and we can have a look and say what we've got. Well, we've got three original rectangles and between each set, we've got four additional rectangles. That would give me four here, four more, that's eight, nine, 10,11 rectangles, 11 colors in my ombre color scheme. If I take it up to five, I'll get 13. That's a pretty good range for me, so I'm just going to click "Okay". Now what I want to do is, I want to make a color scheme of these colors, so I'm going to click away from everything first of all, that's really important. I'm going to clear out my swatches panel. I've opened the swatches panel, I'm going to click on the very first color here. I'm going to hold the Shift key, and click on the very last color. Everything in this swatches panel is selected, and I'm just going to the middle of one of these swatches, I'm going to left-click and drag and I'm going to type the whole lot onto the trash can. All the colors have gone. Now, I've emptied my swatches panel, I need to expand my blend so that I can get these colors out of it. So I'm going to select over my blend. I'll choose Object, Expand, and then click "Okay", and that expands it into a series of colors 13 in all. I'm going to select over all of these colors and click here at the foot of the swatches panel where it says New Color Group. When the dialog opens, I'll make sure selected artwork is selected, nothing else is selected, and click "Okay". Now I have a new color group in my swatches panel that comprises all 13 of these colors. Now they are all in order except for this last one. So I'm just going to click away from my shapes, because I don't want to make them all red but I do want to drag and drop red into its correct position in my color scheme. I'm now ready to get rid of the blend because I don't need it any longer. So I'm just going to select it and press "Delete". Now we can go ahead and create the pattern that we're going to fill with our ombre color scheme. 3. Pt 2 - Ombre Abstact Background Design: Now that we've got our color scheme, it's time to do something with it. I'm going to show you how you can create a pattern background with this color scheme. We're going to start with the rectangle tool. I'm going to drag to create a rectangle, the full width of the bottom of this document. Now, my document is 1,000 pixels wide, so I'm just going to make sure that the width reads 1,000 pixels and I'm going to fill it with color. I'm just going to get the fill color. I'm just going to fill it with red for now. Now, I'm not 100 percent convinced that this is centered in the middle of the document, so let's see how we would center it. We're going to need to go to the align tool. I'm going to open up the align panel here, and I'm going to click this Menu dropped down in the top corner and click "Show Options". Because there are options here for aligning the shape now. Because I've been working with this earlier, its set to align to art board but you may well find it set to align to selection in your version of Illustrator. You want it set to align to art board. Now, if we click "Horizontal Lines Center, " this shape will align to the very center of the art board. I'm going to create a line, and I'm going to do that by just clicking on the Document. I want mine to be 1,000 pixels wide, the width of the document zero degrees angle, and I'll click "Okay". I want to fill it with a blue color and I want to give it an orange stroke. Now that will just help me in a minute when I create a wave with this line. Next, I'm going to make a wavy line by choosing effect and then distort and transform zigzag. I'll click "Preview". This is the default zigzag line, it's not very pretty, but it's very easy to make it look a whole lot better. I'm going to set my points to smooth so it makes a smooth rolling line. I'm going to start increasing the ridges per segment. As you do this, you might notice that even numbers give you not a very good result, odd numbers give you a very good result. You want an odd number of ridges per segment because you want the fills to be nice and even across the top of the shape. I'm going to use 23. I can also adjust the size to make a bigger curve. I'm going to do that to test. I'm thinking probably about 15 pixels for me and 23 ridges per segment, is giving me a nice look to this line. I'll click "Okay". Now to do something with it, I'm going to need to expand. I'm going to select it and choose "Object Expand Appearance". Then I'll choose "Object Ungroup". I'll want to do that until ungroup is no longer an option. In fact, I didn't need to do it more than once. What I'm left with here, is an orange bendy line and a blue fill. Well, I don't want the orange bendy line so I can just drag and drop that onto the trash can, but I do want this blue fill. I actually want to attach it to this red line here. But to do so, I'm going to need to rotate it. With the selection tool I'm selecting on it and I'm just going to rotate it around holding the shift key as I do, so it rotates 180 degrees. Now, I'm going to move it downwards holding the shift key as I do, and place it on top of the red line. Let's just zoom in here to see that it's nicely lined up. Well, it isn't and it's unlikely to be nicely lined up on your computer either. Let's have a look at the problem here. I've got this blue shapes selected, I'm going to press the down arrow to try and line it up. If I do, you'll notice that if we zoom in here, that the blue isn't sitting on top of the red it's actually well into it. If I click the blue shape again and try and move it out, it moves a really big amount. As hard as I try, I'm not going to be able to get it to sit where I want it to sit because it just won't go there. It either goes into the red or it wants to sit well above the red. Well, there's a solution to this blue shape not moving the way I want it to move, and it's on the transform panel. Let's go to "Window transform". Here at the bottom of the transform panel, when I have this blue shapes selected, you'll say that there's an optional line to pixel grid. In other words, there's a pixel grid behind this image and illustrator is aligning this shape to that pixel grid, so I can't move it where I want it to be, illustrators it's got to be on this pixel grid. Well, but deselect this now, I can move this shape wherever I want it to be. But let's just check the red one at the same time. For some reason, whenever I've drawn this project, the red rectangle never has aligned to pixel grid selected, but the blue shape always does. You'll just need to come in here and deselect it. Just be aware that any time you can't line things up in Illustrator, chances are that one or other of those shapes has aligned to pixel grid enabled and you just want to come into this transform panel, disable it and you should be able to line things up nicely. It's just a bit of a gotcha in Illustrator. Now, I'm going to take my blue shape and move it to where I want it, which is just right touching the red shape. Control or Command zero to get back out to saying the entire project. I'm going to select over both the shapes and just make sure that they are centered using the center option here. Now, I want to join these together. If you're using illustrator CS4 or earlier of very old version of Illustrator, the only tool you will have to do this with is the Unite option, so go ahead and choose "Unite". It's just that it doesn't do a particularly good job of uniting these shapes. For Illustrator CS5, CS6 and all the CC version uses the better tool to use is the shape builder, it's over here. I'm going to click on the "Shape Builder". Now, as I hover over this shape, just going to zoom in so you can see it clearly. When I hover over this shape, you'll see there's a grid. With the shape builder tool, what we want to do, is to use this grid to join things together. I'm going to hover over here so that the grid shows and I'm going to drag into the red area and let go of the mouse. That joins these two together. I'm going to do that for every single one of these blue ridges if you like. Together, once I've done that, we're going to have just one shape that is all of this here. You can see, I have a path that is just this shape. Now, I'm going to polish shape down into position holding the shift key as I do so it's constrained and it's lined up perfectly with the bottom of the art board. We're going to repeat this shapes. I'm going to press "Control" or "Command zeros" so I can see what I'm doing. Then to be able to see the very top of the art board here, because I need to make sure that when I repeat this shape, that it goes over the top of the art board and I'll choose "Effect, Distort and Transform, Transform". I'm going to click on "Previous" so I can see what's happening. I know I have 13 colors here, so I need 12 copies because I need my original and 12 copies. Now, I'm going to just decrease the vertical here and keep decreasing it until I run this shape off the top of my art board. It's just run off there now so this is perfect. I have 12 copies in here, even though I can't see them. Now if your shape ends up looking like this and you can't pull it to the very top of the art board without getting spaces, this is how you solve the problem. Just do it so that it's off the top of the art board and click "Okay". Then you'll come down here to this bottom most shape, you'll select it with the direct selection tool I'm going to drag over it adjust these two points at the very bottom of the shape and pull down. If you pull down, what you'll end up doing, is making this shape and every one of the repeated shapes a whole lot deepest, so they actually fill the art board. Now there was nothing wrong with mine, so I'm just going to press Controls Z a couple of times to undo this and go back and do my repetition again. Effect distort and transform, transform. Preview turned on. I made 12 copies of mine. I'm just going to decrease the vertical value until they run off the top of the document and click Okay. Now, I've got a single path here in the last pallet. But the path itself, has this transform effect applied to it. For us to be able to fill this with the colors from our color scheme, we're going to need to expand it. I'm going to select the path, which is just this shape down here. I'll choose Object Expand Appearance, and I'll choose Object Ungroup, and I'll keep doing that until ungroup is no longer an option. What I have then in the last pallet, is 13 pars, 13 wavy shapes. Now let's go and select the first of them. The one at the top, is the one at the bottom here on the art board, and it's already colored in the correct color. Let's go and select the next one and let's make sure fillers at the front and fill it with the next color. Then we'll continue going up and fill every successive shape with the next color in our color scheme. Now, if you get to here and you don't know which color to use, just keep trying colors until you get the exact same color as the one before. Then you know that the correct color to use, is the one next to it. It can get a little bit confusing when you start working here as to which color you should be using. All being well, you should get up to the last of the shapes and you should be using the last color in your color scheme. Now, I want to clip this to the size of the art board. I'm going to create a rectangle the size of the outboard. I'll click the Rectangle Tool, click in the image and type 1000-by-100". That makes a rectangle the size of the art board. With the rectangle selected, I'm going to the align tools and remembering that I have aligned to art board selected here, if I click the horizontal align center and then the vertical aligned center, this rectangle will be directly over the art board and the exact same size as the art board. Now, I have my rectangle a size of the art board on top of my 13 shapes, I'm going to select everything. Then I'm going to the Pathfinder and I'm going to click here on the Crop option. The Crop tool uses the topmost object in the last pellet and what it does is it crops all the shapes underneath to that size. It removes the top waves from this document, leaving us with a series of shapes that are now filled with a color scheme. 4. Pt 3 - Ombre Abstact Design: One final element that we'll look at is the possibility of adding a series of wavy dotted lines here to the illustration. I'm going to select this bottom-most shape, and I'm going to choose Edit Copy and then Edit Paste. I don't want to use Paste in place because I want it to be separate and I want to be able to see it. I'm just going to drag it off to the bottom here so I can focus on it. With this duplicate shape selected, I'm going to open up the appearance panel which you can get to by choosing Window and then Appearance. I'm going to turn its fill off, so I'm going to click here and turn the fill off and I'm going to add a white stroke. I'm going to make my white stroke something like four points in size. I'm going to click open the strike dialogue here because I want to make it a dotted line. I do that by selecting Caps here. I'm going to click on Dashed Line. I'm going to set my dash to zero and then my gap will be the distance between the dots in my dotted line. I might at this point need to Zoom in just to see what I've got here. I'm looking at the dots and I'm looking at the spacing of them. If I open up the stroke panel, I can click in here and just adjust this gap to sort. I'm pretty happy with this, but I'm also noting that the second one in from this right-hand side, the dot is right at the very top of the curve, and that's going to be important shortly. Now, I want to get rid of everything that is not part of this line at the top, so I'm going to get rid of all those extra dots. To do that, I'm going to select the direct selection tool. I'm going to select over the points I don't want, which is this one here. Select it, press "Delete". I don't want this one either, so I'm going to select it and press "Delete". Now if you press "Delete" and lose the whole line, just press "Control" or Command Z to undo it. It's not hard to do, unfortunately. I'm going to select this one, delete it, and I don't want this one either. All I want is this curved line Control or Command 0 to just zoom back out. I'm just going to roll down so that I can see my line. Now with the line selected, I need to start expanding this, so I'll choose Object, Expand Appearance, and I'll do it again, and click "Okay". What I want to say is this look, so I want every one of these shapes expanded into a circle. Then I'll choose Object, Ungroup and continue to do that until Ungroup is no longer an option. Let's go to the last panel and say what we've got. Well, these are the three selected items here, so I'm just going to select them one at a time. This appears to be this dot here. This appears to be the whole of the line except the dots at the end. This one here is the dot at the end. Now, I don't want either of these dots at the end because they're actually going to appear over the edge of my illustration. I'm going to isolate which paths they are and delete them. There's one of them, and here's the second one. That leaves me with this. I'm now going to select it and move it up into my illustration. But I'm going to zoom in so I can see clearly what I'm doing here. I was aware at the time that the dot on this side of the illustration, the second bump in was pretty much at the very top of the curve. I'm just going to zoom in there and just make sure that it looks pretty well aligned. Aligning this shape to the center isn't going to help me. I really need to do this manually. I'm just going to place it where I want it to appear and then just check it. Now, it's looking pretty even on all sides, so I'm going to press "Control" or "Command 0" to zoom back out. Now having created the first series of dots, we can now use the same repeat transform to create dots all the way up our image. I'll choose Effect, Distort &Transform, Transform. I'm going to click "Preview" on. I'm going to create the number of copies that I need. What I want is one for every one of these bumpy lines except the topmost one. Now, last time we made 12 copies, so that means this time we just need 11. I'm going to decrease the vertical setting here to start moving this up the document until they're in position over the top of every one of these bendy lines, so I'll click "Okay", and click away. Now, we have a series of dots over the lines in our illustration. Now, you could settle with this or you could go one step further, and I'm going to go one step further. I'm going to reselect this line here. I'm going back to the Appearance panel. This part is critical because I want to edit my transformation. I don't want to add a new one, I just want to edit this one. I'm going to double-click on "Transform". Now, what do I want to do is turn Preview on and I want to start increasing the number of copies. I'm going to take this up to 23. Now, I'm going to start reducing the vertical distance here because that will give me more of these dots. I'm down to 20, but I probably want to be at about 38. I'm just going to take that back up to 38. Now, I have two sets of dots for every line in my pattern. It looks like I don't have any off the top, but I will want a couple of extra rows here. So I'm actually going to take this up to 25 and just click "Okay". That will give me some lines off the top of my pattern. What I'll do now is just start bringing these lines down. I'm holding the Shift K and just nudging them down with the down arrow key. I'll do that until I've got my dotted lines well inside my document. Now, at this point, if I wanted to, I could expand the appearance of this particular shape because everything, all of these dots are attached to this single shape. But you can see that using your color scheme and creating some wavy lines, you can create some really interesting backdrop effects in Illustrator. Your project for this class will be to go ahead and create your own ombre color scheme. Choose three colors and create a blend between those three colors, and then save that as a new color group in your Swatches panel. Once you've done that, create a shape and make repeated copies of it sufficient enough to use up all the colors in your ombre color scheme. Fill your shapes, and then if necessary, crop them to size. Now, you could do nested shapes, you could do linear shapes like I've done, just use your imagination as to what you would like to do. When you finish with your project, post the results for us to enjoy. I hope that you've enjoyed this course and you've learned a bit about making blends, color schemes, and also repeated shapes in Illustrator. If you did enjoy this course and if you see a prompt to recommend this class to others, please give it a thumbs up. This helps other people identify that this might be a class that they want to take too. If you'd like to leave a comment, please do so. I read and respond to every comment and I looked at all of your class projects. My name's Helen Bradley. Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of Graphic Design For Lunch, and I look forward to seeing you in an upcoming episode soon.