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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.
I've saved my progress as Finessed colors.ai. I want you to know that I did one additional thing. I added a column line right here at this location. That just helped me better organize the shadows toward the top of the shape. So you can do the same thing too if you want. Now, in this exercise I'm going to show you a different way to approach the creation of a gradient mesh. This time we'll be using the Mesh tool. So just to limit the amount of confusion we might encounter here, what I'd like you to do is go over to the Layers panel, if you're working along with me, twirl open that mesh peppers layer right there and go ahead and lock the very top path outline, just click in the lock column, because that way we won't accidentally modify this forward shape as we're working on the rear one.
Now, using my Black Arrow tool I'm going to click on this big sort of double low B shape right here in the background. And in this case I'm not interested in creating a bunch of regular rows and columns, because it wouldn't serve that much purpose. I don't care what colors are at work in the central portion of the shape, because it's covered up by the forward shape. All I care about are these revealed areas in the top right area over here on the right side and along the top left region as well. So that's where I'm going to add my mesh lines. And you do that, if you just want to add some custom mesh lines, you just go ahead and grab the Mesh tool, which you can get by pressing the U key.
And if you click on one of the sides, the left or right sides, you're going to create a row line. For example, I'll go ahead and click about right here, let's say, in order to create a row across the shape. And then if you click along the top or the bottom of the shape, you're going to go ahead and add a column, like so. And then from that point on, once you have a row and a column established, then you can click on those row or column lines in order to add still more columns and rows. For example, if I click on this row line, I'm going to add a column, just as in the past, and I might as well go ahead and add a couple of others.
I'll add one here and here as well. And by virtue of the fact that that top path is locked down, I'm not running the risk of actually modifying that shape, because if it were not locked, as soon as I clicked at this location, I would actually add a new row line to the forward shape and that would mess things up. Anyway, I'm just going to set about adding a few more rows in this case. I'll click right about there I think is someplace that I'd like to create a row. And if you find that it doesn't quite work, it's probably because you're clicking on a control handle, and in that case Illustrator thinks you want to modify the control handle, so it gets confused.
You just have to be a little bit careful. Actually, that line is too low. I'm going to undo it and click a little higher, like right about there, that's what I'm looking for. And now I'm going to add a couple of more columns. I'm going to add one right about there, I think looks pretty good, and add another one at this location. These are some mesh lines that I figured out worked pretty well when I was originally creating this project. Actually, I don't like this that much. I'm going to undo, press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac, and click right about there, because I want this hump to show up just a little bit so that we can get some reflections and some shadows going in that region.
Then I'm going to click toward the top here, right about there, and even closer toward the top of that shape, so that we have a couple of lines along this top edge. And then I'm going to do the same up here. A line right about there I think is going to work out well, and then a line closer to the top. All right, so having done that, now I'm going to go ahead and grab my White Arrow tool and I'm going to click along some of these outlines here, along these edge points that is, and I'm clicking and I'm Shift+Clicking to lift multiple points of course. And then I'm going to press the I key in order to get my Eyedropper and I'm going to Shift+Click in order to lift a color from this forward shape.
And if it doesn't seem to be bright enough, then I can go and brighten it up here inside the Color panel. I'll take some of the saturation out of it as well. I'm going to select this anchor point as well in order to make it active. Shift+Click on a color in order to load that highlight. And then let's try some things over here. I'm going to lift a few different colors. Ctrl+Click or Command+Click on the Mac. You can also, by the way, Ctrl+Drag in order to marquee a handful of points if you want to. I'll Ctrl+Shift+Click or Command+Shift+Click at that location in order to select that point. And let's see what I've got. I'll Shift+Click with my Eyedropper in order to lift some of those Highlights up at the top here.
I might go ahead and brighten those colors a little bit, because those edge colors really want to be quite bright actually, and we don't want to have too much saturation associated with them. But we don't want to have too little either, so we just have to keep an eye on things. All right, I'm going to Ctrl+Click here, Ctrl+Shift+Click on this point, maybe Ctrl+Shift+Click on that guy as well, those are Command and Command+Shift+Click on the Mac. Shift+Click with the Eyedropper to load a color. Let's brighten that up. Let's take the saturation out. I've got my HSB sliders you'll notice up here in the Color panel.
And then I might darken these colors a little bit. I'll Ctrl+Click here, Ctrl+Shift+Click at this location, Ctrl+Shift+Click down at this location-- I don't think so actually. Maybe more like down here, in order to select those colors. And I'll darken them by just modifying the values here inside of the Color panel. So I'll take the Saturation value up as I take the Brightness value down. Now, big problem of course. If I go ahead and click off the shape to deselect it and then I click on the Path Outline again, you'll notice, by the way, when it was deselected, you can see this, that I loss the stroke, so we need to put that Stroke back on.
So you have to select the shape with the Black Arrow tool. Switch over to the Appearance panel. Make sure you see this item called Mesh right there. That's necessary, because again, if I have the White Arrow tool selected and I click on one of these mesh points, notice that it's telling me that a mesh point is selected, and that's not what I want at all. So switch back to the Black Arrow tool, click someplace on the shape outline. You'll see Mesh at the top. You'll also see that the Add New Stroke icon is active. Go ahead and click on it or press that keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+Alt+Slash on the PC, Command+Option+Slash on the Mac.
And I think that I have everything looking pretty good. I want a little more of a highlight up here in the upper right hand corner. So I'm going to click again to select that region and I'm going to press the A key and click on a few of these points and Shift+Click as well in order to select them. And then I'm going to press the I key in order to switch back to my Eyedropper and Shift+Click inside of a light color in order to lift it. I'm not getting much action out of that, and that's because my stroke is active, because I just got done changing the stroke. So once again, you have to switch back to the fill. The stroke will become transparent, Illustrator's way of acknowledging that it had no intention of changing your colors when stroke was active.
And then Shift+Click inside of a light color in order to lift it and we're getting a better result this time around. I might also go ahead and grab that point by clicking on it with a White Arrow tool and then Shift+Click with the Eyedropper to lift a color there as well. So do your worst. Do whatever you want to. Also bear in mind, as you're working along, if you have problems with any of the other shapes getting in your way, you can always go over to the Layers panel and lock things down, like the stem here, which is the second Path down. You can lock down the third Path down, inside the mesh peppers layer, and that's this little edge at the bottom of the stem and so on.
Anyway, I'm going to go ahead and unlock the stem for now, because we're going to need to do some work on it later. So just bear in mind, if you've got a shape and it doesn't really require all that many mesh lines, you don't need regular columns or rows, that you can set up custom mesh lines from the get-go using the Mesh tool here inside Illustrator.
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