Color, Gradient and Image Fill

Image Fill

You can use raster and vector images in your document. They may be used as textures, backgrounds, or for other purposes.

Add an Image

The easiest way add an image to your document is to drag it from Finder onto the canvas. The image will be added as a new object with the original aspect ratio. You can also copy an image from other software.

In order to fill a shape with an image, you should use the Color panel (it will be described further):

  1. Select an object.
  2. Add a Fill property to the current object in the Appearance panel if the object doesn't have one.
  3. Click on the color icon of the Fill property to open the Color panel. Then select the Image tab.
  4. Click the Choose imageā€¦ button and select an image.
  5. Adjust image properties if this is necessary.

Whatever way you have added an image, you can come back to the Color panel and re-adjust the settings here.

The Color Panel

The Image section of the Color panel

1 - Opacity. You can set up the opacity of the image. Unlike the opacity of an object or layer, here you can adjust the transparency of image itself, keeping the stroke or other effects with their own opacity.

2 - Image thumbnail.

3 - Offset of the image from the centered position in relation to the object. Drag the round handle and preview the result on the object in your document.

4 - The scale of the image. You can make the image bigger or smaller without resizing the object. At scale higher than 100%, the image will become cropped. With scales below 100%, the Fill Type defines how to show the image.

5 and 6 - Scale the image independently along the horizontal or vertical axis. These controls can deform the image.

7 - Shear the image. This parameter transforms the image into a parallelogram.

8 - Blend modes. If you wish to select a blend mode for the whole object, use the Layers panel.

9 - Click to load an image from a file.

10 - The Fill Type options define how the image should fit the object. For details, see the Fill Type section.

11 - Set the image offset using numeric values. These edit boxes work together with the square offset control.

12 - Rotate the image inside the object.

Note that when the Fill Type is set to Stretch, the program sets most of the parameters automatically. Consequently, most of the controls become disabled.

Fill Type

The Fill Type drop-down menu lets you choose the Fill, Stretch, and Tile options.

At 100% scale and when the boundary has the same aspect ratio as the image, all of the options can give the same result. The difference will become visible if you change the aspect ratio of the boundary, or if you scale the image.

Original image
The original image looks the same with any Fill Type.

To see how the Stretch option works, we can decrease the height of the object. With Fill, the image will keep its aspect ratio, but some image parts, that don't fit, can be invisible. Stretch will deform the image to fit it for new width and height.

Fill:
image is cropped
Fill Type set to Fill makes the image cropped if you change the aspect ratio.
Stretch:
image is deformed
Fill Type set to Stretch makes the image deformed if you change the aspect ratio.

The Tile option makes a difference when the image is scaled down. Many copies of the image will take the whole available space. With Fill, you'll still have a single small copy.

Fill:
single copy
Fill Type set to Fill makes the image cropped if you change the aspect ratio.
Tile:
many copies
Fill Type set to Stretch makes the image deformed if you change the aspect ratio.

Not that to create a texture, you may need to use a specially designed image that can be tiled seamlessly. Creation of such images is outside the scope of this documentation.