Using the Blend Tool In Illustrator

blend tool iconThe blend tool is one of the most under used tools in my opinion, it’s very powerful but only needed in certain situations. Anyway in this short tutorial I will go through and explain how to use the blend tool in Illustrator. I will be working in Illustrator CS5, for those who are curious.

Put simply the blend tool will give you transitions between two objects, you can see an example below. The blend tool can be found in the tool bar menu, it’s the icon with the small square and circle (it’s next to the eye dropper tool) or you can use the keyboard shortcut to activate the blend tool, which is ‘w’.

When you have the blend tool selected, place your cursor over an anchor point on the first object and then another anchor point on the second object. Chances are the results this produces won’t be what you re looking for, however by double clicking the blend tool icon in the tool bar you will get a dialogue box with options. This dialogue box allows you to have more control over how the objects are blended, you can control the type of blend e.g. smooth colour, specified steps and specified distance. Probably more often than not you will use specified steps but there are other options to experiment with if you want.

blend toolWhen you blend two objects together, the entire blended object is now one whole object, so if you want more control over the object, you can expand the blended object then ungroup it. Most of the time you won’t want to do this, best to keep it in one group but for those who will need a greater degree of control this is the way to do it.

Remember to leave a comment and let me know what you thought and let me know what topic you want covered next.