Blog: Secrets from the Chef

Cone Gradient in Adobe Illustrator. Episode Three: Happy End

Dmitri JoukovAuthor: Dmitri Joukov
28 March 2007

Cone Gradient in Adobe IllustratorYou still can produce a normal cone gradient in our beloved Illustrator. This process was uncovered in file with a description in German, and, I believe, many of you have already downloaded and thoroughly studied it. In general my note repeats all of what’s contained in this file, however, in English and with a few extra comments to clear up on things.

For those of you who joined us recently, this is the third note from “Cone Gradient in Adobe Illustrator” series. I hope it to be the last one. The previous notes can be found here:

The most complicated and unclear thing about the mentioned file was the tricky circle that served as the basis for everything. It took me awhile to figure out how to produce a similar circle. I managed to locate a pictorial note in foreign language describing a lengthy and complex process of creating such circle. But there is a simpler, much simpler way!

Circle with a simple radial gradient

First, we draw a circle and apply a simple radial gradient to it. Do not forget to remove stroke — you don’t need it. Then we go Object → Expand and transform the radial gradient into Mesh Grid.


If you did everything correctly, you would end up with a target-like design.

Target-like object

We need an object named Mesh that lies at the very bottom. You can either pull it up on top in the Layers panel or use any of these shortcuts: Ctrl+Alt+7 and Ctrl+Shift+g in any sequence. Remove all unnecessary stuff.

Mesh we need

But we do not need a target. I will let you know the secret — we need a BMW logo. As we see there is a redundant circle in our Mesh that interferes with our plans. Use Mesh Tool (U) to remove it. Place the cursor over the circle, not the dots. Click+Alt will rid you of the unnecessary circle.

Mesh we need

We will need a rectangular with linear gradient for the final cut. To speed up the final steps, select the linear gradient closely resembling the cone gradient. Normally, the starting and ending dots of the linear gradient must be of the same color. Move the rectangular to the very bottom (Ctrl+Shift+[). Now we are ready.

Before the final cut

First we need to define the right parameters: Object → Envelope Distort → Envelope Options. This is a very important step — do not forget about it!

Envelope option

Last step, go Object → Envelope Distort → Make with Top Object (Ctrl+Alt+C). Voila! Sleight of hands and no swindle at all. We got ourselves the real cone gradient in Adobe Illustrator right there.


You will not believe your luck but you still have the ability to edit the linear gradient that you used as the basis for your c gradient: Object → Envelope Distort → Edit Envelope. Repeat this action to exit the editing mode.

Regardless the fact that this note is not a couple of lines long, this process of drawing the cone gradient is very simple and fast. The whole process takes up not more than a minute.

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That’s really slick. Thanks! This’ll be a lot less hassle than making a circular line blend and masking it.

Reply Egypt Urnash, 13 February 2008

Sounds like a lot of work just to prove “my program is better than yours”. This same effect can be recreated with a couple blends and a clipping mask. It would make for much less complicated artwork and could be edited just as easily. I am glad that there are folks out there that are still thinking outside the box but sometimes it best to keep it simple.

No offense intended just my simple observations. Keep up the great work!

Reply William Everhart, 16 March 2008


I really needed to do this in illustrator. Thanks for the big effort.

Reply Jorge Luis Vélez, 11 January 2011

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