I warned earlier in this tutorial that we would only be taking a very short look at blends in this article. It warrants an entire tutorial, but I did want to include the idea here, since often the perfect effect may not be possible with a gradient fill, but can be accomplished with a blend. Quite simply, a blend creates a gradient fill look, but with many controls available to you. A gradient runs from one color to another. A blend combines two objects together in incremental steps. In the sample at the left, the lower sample is a blend of the two objects above. Options to create a blend If you are going to be working with blends, it is worth opening the Xtra Operations toolbar as shown here. The blend option, shown highlighted by red, gives you one click access to blends. Choose Window>,Toolbars>,Xtra Operations to open the toolbar. You can also create a blend through the menu by choosing Modify>,Combine>,Blend or Xtras>,Create>,Blend. The toolbar or menu methods all accomplish exactly the same results. Only one is required to create a blend. The Object Inspector is used to change the number of steps in the blend, or where the first and last blend shapes are placed. Highlight the value you wish to change and enter the new number. The more steps you specify, the smoother the blend will be. The first blended sample at the left has 50 steps, while the second sample has had the steps reduced to 5. Vector Gradient Fills StartIllustrator Gradient FillsIllustrator Gradient Fill Text and BlendsFreehand Gradient Fills Freehand Blends Source.