Welcome to this free Blend Tool tutorial for Adobe Illustrator.
The blend tool is a fantastic tool which is incredibly simple to use but with endless creative possibilities! In a nutshell, the blend tool allows you to blend any shape into another, creating 3D effects and patterns. This tutorial will show you the basic functions of the Blend Tool (W) for you to take away and get creative!
We have started with a new document and made a locked (cmd + 2) grey background box. Using the Pen Tool (P) we draw two wavy, overlapping lines and give each a different colour. If you like, you can give them different stroke weights and styles and bring your preferred line to the front (shift + cmd + ]).
Making sure the two lines are unselected, select the Blend Tool (W) from the tools panel. Then click on the first line and then the second. They will then blend and look something like this:
Now you can change the blend by going to Object » Blend » Blend Options…
Here you can select either Specified Steps which allows you to enter the number of times the shape is repeated in the blend of Specified Distance which allows you to enter the desired space between each repetition. In this example we have specified 20 repetitions to create this pattern. Notice how the two colours have blended smoothly. You can now use your Selection Tool (A) to select anchor points and edit the form of the two primary lines.
The above blend is between two different shapes, but you can blend two of the same shapes to create a ribbon-like effect. Below we used the Pen Tool (P) to create a line, and then duplicated it (shift + alt + drag) then repeated (cmd + D). This allows us to select three colours to blend together. We then can use the Selection Tool (A) to select grouped anchor points to change the ribbon shaped blend.
Using the Selection Tool (A) and the Pen Tool (P) (Add/Delete/Convert Anchor Tool), you can bend the form of the blend direction. Below we made a blend of a square and a star. We then could use the above tools to ‘bend the blend’:
Align to Path or Page
Finally, when blending shapes, you can choose whether to align to path or align to page. This can be selected in Blend Options:
So there you have it, the basics of the Blend Tool covered! Play around and see what 3D effects you can make. How about blending outlined text to create jazzy, retro typography or adding an outer glow effect to create dazzling neon light designs.