I was trying to create a gradient effect using dots, but not using the halftone effect. Examples of what I'm trying to achieve can be seen here: enter image description here

and here:

enter image description here

I was hoping to achieve this in Illustrator as a gradient fill so it would be easier to control the direction of the dots. Any way this is possible? Thanks for assistance in advance!

  • @Vincent fiddled around with the halftone effect and tried adding a pattern to a gradient but I couldn't seem to do it. My desired effect would be something like using a gradient to denote the density of the dots (if that makes sense). Apr 26, 2016 at 15:38
  • Could you update your question with a screenshot of those attempts and what you did to make them? That would make it way easier to help you along! Thanks!
    – Vincent
    Apr 26, 2016 at 15:39

3 Answers 3


1. Create your gradient

Clean Gradients

2. Effect → Sketch → Graphic Pen...

Gradient Dissolve with Graphic Pen effect

Unhappy with the size of the dots?

3. Effect → Document Raster Effects Settings... Resolution

Gradient Dissolve with higher resolution effect

Bonus: Colorize

The Sketch effects output is monochrome by nature so you are stuck with a black and white gradient to begin with. You can easily colorize the effect with the use of some blending modes.

  1. Duplicate the shape

  2. Remove the effect (Appearance panel dropdown → Clear Appearance)

  3. Fill with your desired color

  4. Change blending mode (Transparency Panel). Different blending modes will have a different effect.

Lighten Blending mode & blue fill:

Gradient colorized with Lighten blend mode

Multiply Blending mode & blue fill:

Gradient colorized with Multiply blend mode

You can also colorize both black and white areas independently with a combination blending modes on different colored duplicates. If you can't get your desired result because the blending modes interact with each other as well as the original gradient—you can use the gradient as an alpha mask on your blending mode shapes.

Gradient colorized with multiple layers, blend modes and a mask

For this, I used a blue duplicate set to Lighten above the original gradient, grouped the gradient and blue duplicate and used the original gradient as an alpha mask then placed an orange solid duplicate below the group.

enter image description here

  • Draw a black circle and create two Scatter Brushes

Scatter 1


  • Create two vertical lines and apply a different scatter brush to each one


  • Menu Object > Blend > Make


  • Menu Object > Blend > Blend Options > Specified Steps


  • Copy the blend and Paste in Front.
  • Using the Direct Selection Tool > Click the lighter line and move horizontally to the other line
  • Repeat the last step (red arrows in the image)

move to the right

  • Add a black rectangle to the black area, the same height as the blend
  • Make a rectangle frame and select all to create a Clipping Mask



Draw a normal gradient with the gradient tool. Draw on a new layer. Once drawn, head up to Filter > Pixelate > Mezzotint.

enter image description here

Fiddle around with options to achieve the desired effect.

enter image description here.

Created using Adobe Photoshop 2017 CC
No plugins required

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