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In Adobe Illustrator CC 2015 I can move a linear gradient as required with help of Gradient Annotator. But I don't see how to specify exact positions. Even more, Gradient Annotator doesn't snaps to anchor points and paths. What can you recommend?

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The best you can do is utilize the Gradient Panel and location percentages. Illustrator does not offer any hard algorithmic method to input definitive values. Because gradients are sized based on their boundaries, everything is relative to the object and a percentage. So if you want precision you'll need to do the math and figure out what percentage of the object matches your desired stop position. i.e. 100px object.. stop at 15px means 15%...

Using the Gradient Panel you can click a color stop and then alter the Location percentage to move the stop:

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Note that clicking a color stop on the annotator will popup the options allowing you to adjust a color stop location as well:

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You can be a bit more precise with linear gradient angles using the gradient panel as opposed to the annotator and use definitive degrees there:

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This is about as precise as you'll get out of the box.

  • Well, I'm not sure if you understand me correctly. When I say start & end position I mean 2D points on the plot where gradient line starts and ends, not the locations of colors on the gradient bar. As for angle – this is helpful note. – kelin Mar 13 '18 at 7:32
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    @kelin I understand perfectly. Gradients in Illustrator start and stop at the boundaries of the object they are applied to. You can not start or stop a gradient at some offset point inside the object boundaries (i.e. there's no inner margin). Therefore the "start" point is the object's edge... and the "end" point is the object's edge opposite the start point. – Scott Mar 13 '18 at 8:40
  • If you are referring to gradients applied to strokes... you have even less control over things. There's no way to alter the start/end positions other than replicating color stops to make it appear as though colors begin at certain points. Possibly helpful: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/a/22336/3270 or graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/a/31298/3270 or graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/a/16944/3270 – Scott Mar 13 '18 at 8:43
  • "Gradients in Illustrator start and stop at the boundaries of the object they are applied to." - you are definitely wrong. You can move around that points with help of the Annotator. – kelin Mar 13 '18 at 11:16
  • Sorry @kelin that is incorrect... you can move the first or last color stop (which I've explained in my answer) but you can not move the start and end point of the gradient. – Scott Mar 13 '18 at 15:52
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You may want to attempt to use the gradient mesh tool (shortcut U) to achieve a more precise gradient effect in your work. Note that mesh objects are not as easily manipulated as shapes in illustrator, so first achieve the shape you want and then apply the mesh. You can precisely manipulate colors and positions on the mesh point by point in excruciating detail, unlike a simple gradient with the direct selection tool (A) around the mesh as you generate points with U.

The biggest issue you’ll have with mesh objects is easily editing them as they can be fickle things, so just be aware they are not well suited for simple designs, where layering standard objects is a better method. My other suggestion is to use as few mesh points as possible in your design — the more precise you are, the more precise you’ll have to be to achieve a clean look.

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    I've never worked with mesh before. Seems promising, but I need learn too much. – kelin Mar 13 '18 at 19:32
  • It's not a terribly difficult thing to mess with a bit. I'd check out YouTube for a start with it. It takes a while to master (I would not claim to have mastered it myself despite having been at this for several years), but with just one gradient mesh point you might achieve exactly what you're looking to achieve without touching a standard gradient. – Mike Pandolfini Mar 14 '18 at 20:47

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