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Adding a gradient mesh to a slender shape


Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

with Deke McClelland

Video: Adding a gradient mesh to a slender shape

I've saved my progress as Red delicious and in this exercise we're going to take on that stem. Now, bear in mind that Gradient Mesh is really best suited to objects that are approximately as wide as they are tall and they are as round as possible. For example, Gradient Mesh is wicked easy where circles is concerned, but it gets more challenging once we start having lumps and other special forms. When we're working on a shape that's very skinny and wrapping around on itself, it's quite challenging indeed, as you'll see.
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  1. 37m 22s
    1. Welcome
    2. Linking AI and EPS files to Illustrator
      6m 34s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      7m 43s
    4. Remapping Mac OS shortcuts
      6m 56s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 56s
    6. The color settings explained
      7m 4s
    7. Preserve Numbers vs. embedded profiles
      3m 24s
  2. 1h 35m
    1. My favorite features in all of Illustrator
      1m 21s
    2. Introducing the Transform effect
      5m 30s
    3. Repeating the last effect you applied
      4m 52s
    4. Applying multiple passes of a single effect
      5m 21s
    5. The wonders of editing dynamic artwork
      7m 13s
    6. Applying effects inside effects
      5m 11s
    7. Assigning an effect to an entire layer
      5m 42s
    8. Building a complex bevel effect
      5m 44s
    9. Placing artwork as a Photoshop Smart Object
      4m 55s
    10. Editing that Smart Object in Illustrator
      4m 21s
    11. Rotating continuously overlapping objects
      5m 34s
    12. Adjusting a dynamic transformation origin
      6m 22s
    13. Vector vs. raster effects
      5m 46s
    14. Introducing the Scribble effect
      5m 23s
    15. Copying effects between layers
      4m 20s
    16. Introducing Graphic Styles
      6m 50s
    17. Controlling the Filter Gallery preview
      2m 28s
    18. Document Raster Effects Settings
      4m 31s
    19. Combining and saving styles
      4m 32s
  3. 1h 25m
    1. Airbrushing with points and handles
      1m 45s
    2. Introducing the gradient mesh
      6m 10s
    3. Working with the Mesh tool
      6m 12s
    4. Lifting colors from a tracing template
      5m 47s
    5. Finessing the colors of mesh points
      4m 17s
    6. Creating a mesh with the Mesh tool
      7m 19s
    7. Adding a gradient mesh to a circle
      4m 37s
    8. Adding a gradient mesh to a slender shape
      8m 7s
    9. Creating soft and sharp transitions
      6m 56s
    10. Converting a linear gradient to a mesh
      7m 29s
    11. Editing a linear gradient mesh
      5m 6s
    12. Converting a radial gradient to a mesh
      8m 19s
    13. Editing a radial gradient mesh
      8m 15s
    14. Creating credible cast shadows
      5m 32s
  4. 1h 15m
    1. The best of static and dynamic adjustments
    2. Adding wings to a horse in Photoshop
      6m 52s
    3. Introducing the Warp tool
      6m 29s
    4. Brush size, Detail, and Simplify
      8m 24s
    5. The Twirl, Pucker, and Bloat tools
      6m 13s
    6. The Scallop, Crystallize, and Wrinkle tools
      5m 55s
    7. Creating a mind-blowing custom starburst
      4m 29s
    8. Introducing Envelope Distort
      5m 21s
    9. Editing the contents of an envelope
      5m 20s
    10. Warping an envelope mesh
      5m 20s
    11. Liquifying the contents of an envelope
      7m 7s
    12. Creating and editing an envelope mesh
      7m 59s
    13. Blending an envelope into a background
      4m 35s
  5. 2h 1m
    1. Outlines along a path
      1m 13s
    2. Weaving a pattern throughout an illustration
      6m 24s
    3. Introducing the Brushes panel
      4m 21s
    4. Applying and editing a calligraphic brush
      8m 28s
    5. Applying and scaling art brushes
      6m 6s
    6. Applying and editing a scatter brush
      5m 29s
    7. Formatting and scaling brushed text
      5m 40s
    8. Editing the path outlines of an art brush
      6m 2s
    9. Replacing an existing art brush
      6m 46s
    10. Creating and refining an art brush
      8m 3s
    11. Tiling pattern vs. pattern brushes
      5m 12s
    12. Creating a pattern brush
      8m 20s
    13. Designing the perfect side pattern
      7m 1s
    14. Start, end, and corner tiles
      8m 58s
    15. Expanding and filling brush outlines
      6m 49s
    16. Text brushes vs. type on a path
      6m 55s
    17. Combining a text brush with the Width tool
      8m 43s
    18. Introducing the bristle brushes
      5m 43s
    19. Adjusting the hairs in a bristle brush
      5m 24s
  6. 1h 32m
    1. Charts can be beautiful
      1m 17s
    2. Adding a gradient mesh to a complex path
      8m 9s
    3. Importing and graphing data
      5m 22s
    4. Switching between the kinds of graphs
      6m 8s
    5. Changing the Graph Type settings
      8m 7s
    6. Correcting and editing data
      6m 51s
    7. Selecting and coloring graph elements
      6m 29s
    8. Making nuanced changes to a graph
      8m 6s
    9. The pitfalls of manual adjustments
      8m 45s
    10. Creating and applying graph designs
      6m 28s
    11. Making a basic pictograph
      6m 47s
    12. Assembling sliding graph designs
      8m 33s
    13. Making last-minute tweaks and edits
      5m 37s
    14. Composing and customizing a graph
      5m 44s
  7. 2h 6m
    1. Perspective is all about real life
      1m 44s
    2. Assembling an isometric projection
      8m 5s
    3. Introducing Illustrator's Perspective Grid
      6m 8s
    4. Drawing a basic perspective cube
      8m 1s
    5. One-point, two-point, and three-point perspective
      8m 25s
    6. Creating automatically scaling box labels
      4m 41s
    7. Setting up a Perspective Grid
      6m 45s
    8. Perspective Grid tips and tricks
      6m 39s
    9. Drawing and editing a perspective shape
      5m 20s
    10. Shifting between planes on the fly
      5m 24s
    11. Creating a freeform shape in perspective
      7m 8s
    12. Working with perspective symbols
      8m 57s
    13. Matching perspective with the Shear tool
      2m 50s
    14. Rendering an off-plane path in perspective
      5m 7s
    15. Replicating symbols in perspective
      8m 12s
    16. Mass-modifying perspective instances
      2m 56s
    17. Adding and editing perspective text
      5m 37s
    18. Duplicating perpendicular shapes
      7m 17s
    19. Adjusting multiple shapes on a single plane
      4m 48s
    20. Creating a perspective column
      9m 23s
    21. Duplicating a series of perspective paths
      3m 20s
  8. 1h 25m
    1. Just another dynamic effect
      1m 10s
    2. Introducing the 3D Revolve effect
      5m 1s
    3. The 3D Revolve settings
      7m 24s
    4. Fixing 3D rendering problems
      6m 32s
    5. Establishing symbols for 3D art
      6m 50s
    6. Mapping symbols onto 3D surfaces
      6m 14s
    7. Adjusting shading and light
      6m 25s
    8. Toning down 3D art in Photoshop
      5m 43s
    9. Adding a photographic texture
      7m 36s
    10. Converting from Illustrator paths to Photoshop masks
      4m 50s
    11. Making 3D droplets in Photoshop
      5m 58s
    12. Unifying textures with Smart Filters
      5m 48s
    13. Creating 3D type with Extrude & Bevel
      6m 44s
    14. Coloring and correcting extruded edges
      9m 15s
  9. 1h 3m
    1. Take action today, save effort tomorrow
    2. Introducing the Actions panel
      4m 16s
    3. Initiating a new action
      5m 33s
    4. Recording a practical action
      4m 56s
    5. Four ways to play an action
      4m 27s
    6. Streamlining by disabling dialog boxes
      5m 48s
    7. Editing an action set in a text editor
      7m 20s
    8. Inserting an unresponsive menu item
      6m 16s
    9. Match-processing a folder of files
      5m 42s
    10. Recording a transformation sequence
      6m 11s
    11. Editing and troubleshooting an action
      5m 6s
    12. Recording actions within actions
      7m 21s
  10. 1m 36s
    1. See Ya
      1m 36s

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Watch the Online Video Course Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery
13h 5m Advanced Jan 28, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final part of the comprehensive Illustrator One-on-One series, author and industry expert Deke McClelland shows how to take advantage of the wide array of dynamic effects in Illustrator CS5. Deke explores Illustrator’s powerful Gradient Mesh feature, great for creating photorealistic airbrushing effects. He also covers graphic styles, the liquify tools, envelope-style distortions, the new Bristle Brushes, 3D text, and perspective drawing. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Working with dynamic effects
  • Placing artwork as a Photoshop Smart Object
  • Creating and editing a Gradient Mesh
  • Distorting artwork with an Envelope Mesh
  • Using the Calligraphic, Art, and Scatter Brushes
  • Creating an intricate Pattern Brush
  • Importing and graphing data
  • Creating a complex pictograph
  • Drawing and editing a perspective shape
  • Working with the new Perspective Grid tool
  • Using the 3D Revolve effect
  • Creating 3D type with Extrude & Bevel
  • Recording and playing automated actions
Deke McClelland

Adding a gradient mesh to a slender shape

I've saved my progress as Red delicious and in this exercise we're going to take on that stem. Now, bear in mind that Gradient Mesh is really best suited to objects that are approximately as wide as they are tall and they are as round as possible. For example, Gradient Mesh is wicked easy where circles is concerned, but it gets more challenging once we start having lumps and other special forms. When we're working on a shape that's very skinny and wrapping around on itself, it's quite challenging indeed, as you'll see.

So what I'd like you to do, if you're working along with me, go to the Layers panel, twirl open that mesh peppers layer, and unlock that second Path right there, which is the stem, and then scroll down and lock down the two circles, just so that we've isolated the stem over here on the left side of the illustration. Now I'm going to click on it with the Black Arrow tool to make it active and we're going to create some custom Mesh Lines using the Mesh tool. But you may run into a few issues as you do so here. So I'm going to zoom in, just so that the stem more or less fills the screen.

And I'm going to click along the bottom here and then just a little bit over, like so, and then midway into the shape. Altogether we're going to create, I believe, a series of seven lines here. So this would be the fourth line at about this location. I'll move over to about here for the fifth line, here for the sixth line, and I'll be lucky if I can create the seventh line. I managed to, but it's not in the right location. So you know what, I'm going to wait on that one, because instead, let's just back up here. Let's go ahead, before we add that seventh column line, let's add some row lines so we have something to attach to.

And you might figure that you'd go ahead and click on this path, let's say, one that's got the busy control handle just launching out into space there. But if you try to click on it, you're not really going to get anything because Illustrator is thinking, "Oh, I bet you want to modify that control handle." Even though your cursor is nine miles away from the tip, but still. What you want to pay attention to here is whether you're seeing a plus sign or not next to the cursor. I am, so it should work if I click there. It did work. But another way, if you're finding yourself frustrated, because Gradient Mesh, I have to tell you, can be an extremely frustrating feature at times.

I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac. Just move over to a different line, one that doesn't have a control handle associated with it because it's not active. So move over to a different mesh line and click on it instead and then you should be fine. And now I've got a control handle launching off at this line. So I'll move over to a different line and click here in order to create a new row at that location. Now let's see if I can create that final column, because it just needs to be dinky little column right there, that's tucking in on this side of the stem, but notice then it trails all the way up the stem and wraps into some of the other lines, which means we're going to have some creases in our gradient.

And I'll show you what that looks like when we get to it. All right, a few other, gosh, I guess they are row lines that we want to create at this point. Up here at the top I'm going to click and then I'm going to click in the middle of that top edge of the stem there and then I'm going to click at the bottom edge of the stem. But I don't want to go too far down. That looks too far down to me, so I'm going to undo and click right about there instead. And we're getting some pretty sort of jagged transitions going on there, but we can work on those and I'm going to do that actually using the White Arrow tool.

So I'll grab that White Arrow tool by pressing the A key if I want to and then I'm just going to modify a few control handles. And I might drag these guys up, but if I decide to move these lines up, I should probably do that using the Mesh tool. So I'll press the U key to get to the Mesh tool, drag this point up as I'm pressing the Shift key. So I'm dragging the row point along the column line and I think I'll do the same over here as well. So in other words, all of this stuff requires some additional finessing. Right there, with the White Arrow tool, this time I press the A key to switch to the White Arrow tool, and I'm now dragging some of these points and handles around a little bit.

And now I'm going to press the U key to switch back to the Mesh tool and drag this row line up while pressing the Shift key to constrain it to the column line. And I might take these guys up a little bit as well. You need to watch yourself though. Like this little area right there will need some adjustment to the control handles. I'll come back to that in a moment. Drag that guy up or at least Shift+Drag it that is to say. Press the A key to switch to the White Arrow tool, click on that little transition, and drag the control handles around until I get the appearance I'm looking for.

And then we've got to rerun some of this stuff for this last line. Press the U key in order to switch to the Mesh tool once again. Drag this point while pressing the Shift key, drag this guy while pressing the Shift key. And I'm trying to keep things a little bit symmetrical as well inside this top portion of the stem. And then I'll drag this guy down. All of these manipulations I'm doing while pressing the Shift key incidentally. Might take these guys down along the left side of the shape as well. And that I think is going to do it for the Mesh tool. I'm going to press the A key to switch back to the Arrow tool.

I'll go ahead and drag this guy down a little bit, that is this control handle over to the left a little bit, and I'll click here and drag this control handle up. All right! Now, I am ready, I believe, to start adding some colors to the various locations here. So I'm going to press the A key and I'm going to Shift+Click on a few of these points in order to select them. I want this area to be shaded, going down to, well, to about here looks actually pretty good. And then I want these points to be shaded as well. So I'm going to click on one, Shift+Click on the others.

And these guys want to be in the shadow. So I'll go ahead and Shift+Click on all of them. And then I'll press Ctrl+Y, Command+Y on a Mac, in order to switch to the Outline mode. Press the I key in order to grab my Eyedropper and Shift+Click in one of the Shadow regions that you'll see there in order to lift a stroke. I've got a stroke active again, darn it. I'll click on my fill and I'll Shift+ Click inside of that color once again, inside that shadow region. And then I'll press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y on a Mac in order to switch back to the Preview mode.

And Illustrator has seen fit to switch me to the RGB sliders, so I'll go ahead and manually switch it back to HSB. And I'm going to darken up those colors pretty much, as you can see there. We'll add some of the saturation, make sure we have some rich, nice, beautiful shadows. All right! Now I'm going to press the A key in order to get my White Arrow tool, go ahead and click and Shift+Click on a few of these points. So basically the points along the far left side at the base, the points that are nearly all the way to the right, so the second to last column line, in order to select them.

You might as well grab that guy as well. And then I'm going to select some of these top points here. These are all going to serve as points of highlight don't you know. And then this time I think I'm just going to make some manual adjustments. I'll increase the Brightness. I'll take the Saturation value down quite a bit, so we don't oversaturate those bright colors. And then I'm going to stick with my White Arrow tool here. I'm going to select this point and then Shift+Click on these two, like so, in order to make them active. And I'm going to darken up those points, so that we have some shaded area down here at the base of the stem.

And I'll increase the saturation a little as well in order to deepen those colors, maybe take the brightness even farther down. Now let's see what we've managed to accomplish. Actually, you know what, first thing I want to do is grab my Black Arrow tool, just so I can gauge the shape properly. Click on the entire shape to select it, go to the Appearance panel and add a new stroke, by clicking on that bottom left icon or pressing Ctrl+Alt+Slash, Command+Option+Slash on the Mac. All right! Let's go ahead and zoom in, press Ctrl +H or Command+H in order to hide the selection edges, and notice the big problem we have here. We've got a very harsh transition between the darks and the lightss.

And the reason that's happening, if I press Ctrl+H or Command+H again, the reason that's happening is, you can see these lines are folding up underneath each other, and that's what happens. That's the unfortunate repercussion of working with these slender shapes that are folding in on each other. I'll show you how to solve that problem by adjusting the control handles. We've got some pretty big adjustments in front of us, in the next exercise.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery .

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Q: The instructions for installing the dekeKeys don't work on my computer (which is running Mac OS X Lion). Is there an update to these?
A: The dekeKeys distributed with this course will still work for Lion. You just need to add them to a slightly different folder than in previous versions of OS X.

Open a new Finder window and choose Go > Go to Folder. Type the following file path exactly as written below. Copying and pasting may result in an error.

~/Library/Preferences/Adobe Illustrator CS5 Settings/en_US

Move and/or copy/paste the dekeKeys to this folder and follow the rest of the instructions as outlined in the video, "Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts."
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