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Lesson 8. Symbols, Brushes, and Hoses > Adding a Contour Gradient

Adding a Contour Gradient

To complete your flower, you just need to add the middle section (called the stamen). For that part, you’ll draw a multifaceted star and add a contour gradient. A contour gradient is essentially a blend, similar to the blend you created for the petal and leaf of your flower. The difference is that FreeHand does all the work for you, plus it lets you control the amount of each color as the blend tapers from one color to another.

Double-click the Polygon tool to set the polygon options. Select Star as the shape of the polygon. Type 20 as the number of sides and set Star Points to Manual. Drag the angle slider to preview the look of the star shape. When you are satisfied, click OK.

You can change the number of points to match your flower. The number here is just a suggestion.

Drag to create your star.

You want this shape in the middle of your flower. Release the mouse button when the star is the size you need.


Once you create your star, you can modify the number of points by changing the number on the Object panel. Select the Polygon property on the Object panel and then type a new number for the points. You can also modify the angles and rotation of the star points. For example, type 350 for the rotation angle of the outer vertices to see the effect of the rotation.

Add an orange fill to the star.

If you prefer, you can pick a different color, to match your flower.

On the Object panel, select the Fill property; from the Fill Type pop-up menu, choose Gradient; and from the Gradient Type pop-up menu, choose Contour.

The Object panel provides several settings that you can use to change the look of the gradient. When the Gradient property is selected on the Object panel, your object displays a start point (a small circle) and an end point (a small square.) You can drag the start point to reposition the gradient or drag the end point to adjust the length of the gradient.

The Object panel offers four gradient behaviors: Normal, Repeat, Reflect, and Auto Size. These behaviors affect the way that the gradient fills the object.

  • Normal: The positions of the start and end points determine the length of the gradient.

  • Repeat: The gradient repeats a specified number of times.

  • Reflect: The colors transition from one end of the gradient ramp and then back, going through one transition for each Repeat count.

  • Auto Size: The length of the gradient is set to the exact width and height of the object.


When Auto Size is selected, the gradient start- and end-point handles do not appear on the selected object. To adjust gradient attributes when Auto Size is selected, use the Object panel.

Adjust the contour settings to your liking and then save your file.



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