How to Make an Object Appear Metallic in Illustrator

Written by joshua mcgee Google
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How to Make an Object Appear Metallic in Illustrator
Create metallic-looking artwork in Adobe Illustrator. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Making an object appear as metal can be a difficult challenge in Adobe Illustrator because metal has a grainy appearance and a glare that is difficult to re-create. It is possible, however, to add a metallic effect to a shape by using a gradient fill and applying a filter effect. The steps within this tutorial can quickly be modified to achieve the metal effect specific to your design.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging


  1. 1

    Select the "Rectangle" tool and draw a rectangle.

  2. 2

    Select the "Gradient" tool. Click on the rectangle and drag in the direction that you want the grain of the metal to appear.

  3. 3

    Click "Window" and select "Gradient" to activate the gradient panel.

  4. 4

    Double-click on the left slider. Change the colour to 40 per cent black. Then, change the right slider to 40 per cent black as well.

  5. 5

    Click in the centre and just below the gradient bar to add a new gradient colour. Double-click on the new slider. Change the colour to 15 per cent black.

  6. 6

    Click on "Stroke" in the tools panel. Change the colour to 40 per cent black, or the darkest colour in the gradient.

  7. 7

    Click on the "Effect" menu and hover over "Texture." Select "Grain."

  8. 8

    Set the contrast to "0" and the intensity between "5" and "10."

  9. 9

    Click on the "Grain Type" drop-down menu. Select "Horizontal" for horizontal gradients or "Vertical" for vertical gradients. Then, click "OK."

  10. 10

    Adjust the sliders in the gradient panel if you desire a smaller or larger glare on the metal.

Tips and warnings

  • Drag the square into the graphic style panel to reuse this effect on other objects.

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