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Gradient Color Blending and Midpoints

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Joshua Swain
Gradient Color Blending and Midpoints
on Jun 30, 2011 at 7:43:18 am

Hi All,

I had a cursory search but couldn't find anything so this is either design 101 or no one else is having the problem.

when creating a gradient in Illustrator or indesign between 2 colors for example Blue and Black or Blue and Dark Blue the blend is not smooth and I can't figure it out. it always seems to transition through some kind of grey at the midpoint for example Blue to Black goes Blue, Grey Black.

At the moment I am working around by creating my Grads in Photoshop and placing them. Creating a CMYK PS file and using exactly the same Pantones and I get a beautiful smooth blend from 1 Blue to the next.

Any ideas??? it's like i need to find a way to cill the mid point so the colours can just spill over each other.

I have gone down the path of creating 2 separate transparency Grads and overlaying them which sort of okay but the PS option is easier. Just sick of importing massive PS files into my AI or indesign Docs.



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David Cabestany
Re: Gradient Color Blending and Midpoints
on Jul 2, 2011 at 4:09:06 pm

Get a print proof, your gradients might be printing ok but look weird on the screen. Both Illustrator and Indesign are known for not being entirely accurate on what you see on the screen, specially in terms of color.

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Jaime Montaño
Re: Gradient Color Blending and Midpoints
on Jul 5, 2011 at 8:48:45 pm

Hope it's not too late to answer so here I come.

In Illustrator a gradient works a bit differently than in Photoshop. In the case of black and blue, for example, the black goes from 100% black to 0% black, also known as white. At the midpoint you have exactly 50% black, also known as gray. The blue one goes from 100% blue to white too and you have pale blue in the midpoint. So it appears as gray mixed with pale blue in the middle because thats what it is.

In Photoshop, the color math is different but I won't go there.

Solution: Instead of using 100% black use 100% black with a mix of inks of your color, in the case of blue for example if the CMYK mix is 70/15/0/0 your black should be 70/15/0/100.


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Terence Kearns
Re: Gradient Color Blending and Midpoints
on Mar 3, 2013 at 1:22:15 pm

Thank God someone explained this. It is driving me NUTS!

I'm not even an Illustrator user. I just want to get this stinking web banner done and it seemed like it was gonna be all too hard.

I tried changing the respective colours (dark blue through to black) to the RGB model but that didn't fix it.

I followed your advice in mixing some of the original color in with 100% K. It seems to have worked partially. The gradient swatch still shows a really broad band of grey in the middle, but the actual shape that it's applied to doesn't have grey in the middle at all.


it seems to go from blue to greyish warm blue to cool blue to black.

Still not the same result as what one might get in photoshop.


I can't seem to attach images to this message, so here is a link to a screenshot

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Keir Ritchie
Re: Gradient Color Blending and Midpoints
on Aug 19, 2013 at 12:57:29 pm

I don't know if you're still on the site, Jaime Montaño, but I just wanted to say thanks for your reply to this problem, it helped me out a great deal. Cheers.

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