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Creating a mesh with the Mesh tool

From: Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

Video: Creating a mesh with the Mesh tool

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.

Creating a mesh with the Mesh tool

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.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery
Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

134 video lessons · 28676 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 37m 22s
    1. Welcome
      45s
    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
      58s
    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
      33s
    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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