In my opinion gradient effects are very hard to master, all the beautiful vector icons, illustrations are made on basis of good gradient usage. Gradient mesh tool in Illustrator is the most powerful one, learn how to use it correctly and understand what can be done with it. I found many beautiful tutorials and ordered them from instructional to intermediate tutorials to lead you easier through learning process. I think you should get great starting point here and even if you’re experienced designer, you should find some new tips here definitely.
This article completes gradient article series, make sure you read through them all:
- 36 Color Gradient Sets For Photoshop and Resource Sites: Part 1
- Beautiful Gradient Effects On Web design – Research: Part 2
- 30 Logo Designs Using Gradient 3D Effects – Inspiration:Part 3
Put them in good use and here Part 4 starts:
How do you make a gradient bend to the shape you are creating? The answer is in Illustrator’s under-used Blend tool.
In the following tutorial you will be given an introduction to using of mesh tool.
Very simple tutorial showing you gradient mesh feature in easy to follow example.
Very comprehensive article with a lot of screenshots explaining everything about gradients in easy to follow way.
In this tutorial, you will create part of the image shown above using the gradient mesh tool, then using the skills you learned, you will finish off the image yourself.
This amazing advanced tutorial will show you how gradient mesh portrait creation happens and will walk you through that process.
In Adobe Illustrator CS, tonal gradations are rendered via the Gradient Mesh tool (U) and the Gradient Tool (G). The Gradient tool is fairly straightforward in its approach to rendering a gradation and blending subtle tonal and color gradations. On the other hand, the Gradient Mesh tool is one of the more labor intensive and frustrating tools in the Illustrator tool pallet, especially for the Illustrator newcomer.
This tutorial will show you basic overview about these tools.
Abstract backgrounds are easy to create in Illustrator with a couple of simple techniques. Using Gradient Meshes, Steps Blends and Opacity Masks you can quickly create an abstract background – this tutorial will show you how.
9. Illustrator 101: One Gradient Across Multiple Paths
In this quick tip, you will touch on the importance of compound paths, as opposed to groups, when applying a single gradient across multiple shapes in Illustrator.
10. Creating Realistic Texture and a Sharp Vector Knife
Creating convincing vectors can be a daunting task. Dan Hess from Vectortuts will show you how to make wood and metal textures for a vector knife using the Gradient Mesh Tool, layering Gradients, and the Pathfinder Tools.
In this tutorial you are going to use the Pen, Reflect, Scissors and Gradient tool, and of course super time saving Transform again technique.
The Adobe’s Creative Suite 4 packages have this interesting gradient style effect. It looks like a grid of swatches going from one color to another in subtle gradient effect. If you have ever wondered how you create this effect, then this tutorial is just for you!
This is quick tutorial about how to create gradient strokes. This super simple technique use the Appearance panel and effects to create editable gradient strokes in Illustrator.
14. Make a Shiny Gum Ball Machine with Mesh Gradients
In this tutorial, Simona Pfreundner from Vectortuts will explain how to create a gum ball machine with mesh gradient. This is an advanced tutorial and the pace is fairly quick. Intermediated Illustrator knowledge is required.
In this tutorial, you’ll learn several tips that will improve your Mesh work so read through carefully!
16. Illustrate a Pair of Sweet Gradient Mesh Cherries
In this tutorial, Simona Pfreundner from Vectortuts will explain how to create a pair of cherries solely with the Gradient Mesh tool. If you’re not familiar with the Gradient Mesh tool, then this is a great tutorial to learn how to start using it. You can create artwork with a semi-realistic to very realistic look with that tool. It can take effort to master, but it’s worth your time.
17. Make an Aurora Borealis Design in Illustrator
To recreate the light patterns of the Aurora Borealis you’d probably turn to Photoshop’s filters and effects. Use Illustrator however, and you’ll not only achieve a stunning end result, but you’ll also benefit from the flexibility of working with vectors. This is an intermediate level tutorial rewarding you with an attractive desktop wallpaper for your efforts!
18. Create a Glowing Abstract Light Vector Graphic
Create beautiful vector illustration and learn how to utilize blends, different blend modes, and gradient meshes to use them later on other works!
Gradient Mesh can be a wonderful tool to master but the learning curve canbring a bit of frustration to the beginner, so this tutorial is great learning point to get known gradient mesh tool better!
20. Create a Stylized Gradient Mesh Soccer Ball Illustration
This advanced Adobe Illustrator tutorial will show you how to create a realistic looking soccer ball with mesh objects and how to create reflections with the Opacity Mask.
21. Make a Fairy-Tale Inspired Magical Hand Shaped Vine
Intermediate tutorial teaching how to make a fairy-tale inspired magical vine that is shaped like a hand. You should have a basic understanding of Adobe Illustrator tools before you begin this tutorial.
22. Illustrate a Vector Lifesaver From Scratch
Create a unique lifesaver that can be used as an icon or design element. you’ll be working with the Pathfinder Tools to create the shapes. The Mesh Tool will help us to apply the color and highlights to give our object the desired “realistic” look, you’ll also take advantage of the Duplicate and Rotate Tools, to get a balanced look.
23. Design a Vector Audio Speaker Icon In Illustrator
This intermediate tutorial will show you how to create a vector speaker icon. You’ll learn to use some ellipses with gradients, the Grid Tool, and the Mesh Tool to create this icon design.
Create impressionistic, infinitely-scalable vector clouds with the Gradient Mesh tool. It’s easy to start, but it takes a lot of time to master. There are several ways of approaching the Gradient Mesh – this one may be new to you.
In this Adobe Photoshop tutorial, you’re going to look at how to easily improve and enhance a photo of a sunset using a Gradient Map!
26. Gradient Mapping effect in Adobe Photoshop
Learn how to use the gradient mapping tool to transform a standard photograph for use with a specific colour scheme or brand image.
Tutorial explaining how to use feathering in your works in photoshop.
Feathering softens the edges of the gradient, which will help create convincing lighting that will blend nicely. You will be making use of the marquee tool frequently throughout this tutorial, so you’ll save yourself some time if you are already familiar with it.
28. Using Gradients to Make Light and Shadow – and a Coffee Cup!
In this tutorial, you’re going to use some simple circles and gradients to make a cup of coffee viewed from above. The end result isn’t that useful, but the process is interesting nonetheless.
This tutorial will show you how to easily create stylish web header using only Gradient Tool Gradient Tool , Vector mask and Layer effect. The final web header image will include 3 layers consisted of 3 separate gradient this will allow you to easily edit each part later.
Simple and fast tutorial explaining how to get effect as in the image below.
Comprehensive article showing how to use Photoshop gradient tool correctly with many tips.
Simple, yet very useful gradient tutorial to teach you how to create really subtle and good gradients.
If you know more such gradient tutorials, let me know and I will make this list even better!