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Join Illustrator master Deke McClelland for the fourth and final installment of his signature One-on-One series on the vector drawing powerhouse, Adobe Illustrator. In this course, Deke shares step-by-step tutorials and expert-level insights on the most robust features, helping you achieve Illustrator mastery for yourself.
In this movie, I'll show you how to create a gradient mesh. So here's the final version of the peppers that we're going to create, just so you can see them on screen. And if I click on this forward path outline, you can see the mesh wherein every single point represents a unique color. I'll go ahead and switch over to our base document here, and if you turn on the base paths layer, you'll see that I've gone ahead and drawn nine paths in advance, mostly with the pen tool. And then, if you turn that one off and turn on mesh peppers, you'll see that I've already assigned gradient meshes to the righthand pepper, because otherwise, we'd end up with a lot of duplication of information.
We are going to assign gradient meshes to the paths associated with the left hand pepper which is going to be more than enough work for us. Alright, I'll go ahead and zoom in on the peppers here to 200%, just so I can see em big on screen. And I'll go ahead and scroll em up so you can see the entire path at a time. And then, finally, I'll select this forward path that we want to fill with a gradient mesh. Now there's three ways to create a gradient mesh in Illustrator, and I'll be demonstrating all of them. But I just want you to know up front, if you already have a gradient assigned to your object, then you can convert it to a gradient mesh by going up to the Object menu and choosing > the Expand command.
So that's one way to work. Another way is to drop down here to the mesh tool, which has a keyboard shortcut of U, and then you can just click somewhere on the outline of the path in order to add a perpendicular line to your mesh. And so I could add a series of lines if I wanted to and then, after that, you can click on one of these existing lines, add a perpendicular line to it. So I'm basically divvying up this object into a series of rows and columns. Alright, I'll press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z on the Mac as many times as it takes to get back to the original object so we can see the third way to create a gradient mesh.
Which is possibly the most obvious as well. You go up to the Object menu, and you choose Create Gradient Mesh. And that brings up this dialogue box right here. Now, you want to turn on the preview checkbox, so you can see what you're doing. By default, Illustrator wants to divide your object into four rows, and four columns. So that is to say, three row lines, and three column lines, as well. I'm going to go ahead and take those values up to six each and notice that you can nudge these values from the keyboard by pressing the up and down arrow keys. And you can go as high as you want.
For example, now we're seeing nine columns. The problem with this configuation is that every single column is the same width. And when representing a volumetric object, you really want more column lines around the outside so that you have more control over those highlights as they decline away. So I'm going to take the column's value down to six, and manually add and delete rows and columns inside the next movie. Notice that by default appearance is set to flat. That means nothing is going on with the coloring.
Every single one of the points is the exact same color as you used to fill the object in the first place. Alternatively, you can add a highlight. Either in the center, like so, or you can add it around the outer edge. I'm going to set this guy to center. And then I'm going to take the highlight value down from 100% which is going to be white, down to let's say 65%. Which will give me some highlight in the center, but not as much as I had before. And then I'll Click OK, in order to accept that effect. Now you may notice that if you press Control H, or Command H on a Mac, that we've lost our stroke.
And actually we've lost both the fill and the stroke. Strange as that sounds. In order to see what I mean, switch over to the appearance panel. Which you can also get to by choosing appearance from the window menu, and notice that we've got a mesh with mesh points, but we don't have any fill or stroke attributes. To regain the stroke drop down to the Add New Stroke icon in the bottom left coroner of the Appearance panel and click on it. And notice that it adds a stroke as well as a non-fill which you could go ahead and change if you wanted to. I could change that guy, say to blue, and that's going to end up covering up my mesh points, unless I were to drag it down to below the mesh points, in which case the mesh points would cover it up.
So in other words, we don't need that fill, it's not doing us any good. So I'll just go ahead and switch it back to none, regardless of its placement in the stack. And that folks, is how you create a new gradient mesh here inside Illustrator.
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