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Warping and puckering a mesh

From: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Warping and puckering a mesh

In this exercise I'm going to show you an extremely powerful way to modify a gradient mesh as opposed to approaching it on a point by point or handle by handle basis. We are going to transform entire rows and columns at a time using Illustrator's Liquify tools. And these are some very powerful tools that we haven't seen so far. I have gone ahead and created a modified version of the document and saved it as Rivers of color.ai. And the idea is I have gotten rid of the violets and all the other weird aberrant colors. And I have added a few colors going in the opposite direction, some of the rivers that are following in perpendicular directions here, which more or less matches what we are seeing in the background art kind of. And when I say more or less matches, not at all but at least we have got colors going in the right direction at this point.

Warping and puckering a mesh

In this exercise I'm going to show you an extremely powerful way to modify a gradient mesh as opposed to approaching it on a point by point or handle by handle basis. We are going to transform entire rows and columns at a time using Illustrator's Liquify tools. And these are some very powerful tools that we haven't seen so far. I have gone ahead and created a modified version of the document and saved it as Rivers of color.ai. And the idea is I have gotten rid of the violets and all the other weird aberrant colors. And I have added a few colors going in the opposite direction, some of the rivers that are following in perpendicular directions here, which more or less matches what we are seeing in the background art kind of. And when I say more or less matches, not at all but at least we have got colors going in the right direction at this point.

What we need to do is get some curvature going inside of these lines, which are all now perpendicular to each other. So I went ahead and got rid of all the weird kinks and stuff that we had before. And if you want to see those mesh lines then obviously you go ahead and meatball the Mesh item, here inside the Group that's inside the Backdrop layer, that's inside the Layers palette, that Jack built. All right anyway I'm going to go ahead zoom out a little bit here, quite a bit actually, what the heck. And let's go ahead and see what we are doing by Ctrl-clicking or Command-clicking on that eyeball once again next to the Backdrop layer. And Liquify tools are the theses guys right there. They start with the Warp tool, which is your most useful of the Liquify tools. And then move down the list to Twirl, and Pucker, and Bloat, and all these other guys.

Warp goes ahead and moves things around, squishes entire groups of anchor points and handles around. Twirl is going to twirl them for what that's worth. Pucker is going to squish them inward. Bloat is going to bloat them outwards, and so on. And we'll be taking a look at these tools in more detail in a future chapter. But for now I'm going to go ahead and grab the Warp tool right here, and one of the interesting things to note about the Warp tool is you can change its cursor. Notice it's a painting tool by the way that allows you to do this, just squish things around.

And then we are going to get a very different effect. If I press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac, you can see that right away we are starting to get some amazing effects out of this gradient mesh. And we really do have the opportunity to start adding some curvature to these rivers very, very quickly. Now if you want to move quicker still, you want a bigger brush then you can change the size of your brush by pressing and holding the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and then dragging with the tool. So notice how it's getting bigger and it's also revealing the hidden web in the background. That's nice.

It's not editing it. It's just showing it to me, cool. Anyway, as you Alt or Option+drag with the tool you are going to change the size of the brush and you can make it like really wide and short, or you can make it tall and narrow and all kinds of stuff. Anyway, I want a brush that's about let's say that big, and as soon as I release, gosh all those little web lines go away. That's nice. And then I could start dragging around huge bunches of the envelope if I want to, like so. Now you want to make sure that your Clipping Path is not active and it is not for me. So I'm not modifying it, which is really great. If you do have a problem with that, you can always lock it down. So you can lock down that Clipping Path rectangle independently of the mesh itself, which is actually very handy, very powerful, I think.

All right, do whatever you want, have fun with this. But another thing we might do, if you Ctrl-click or Command-click on that eyeball in front of the Backdrop layer right there, you will see that the colors sort of appears inward toward the center. So they flare out at the outside edges and then they squish inward toward the middle. And so we might be able to take advantage of the Pucker tool. So anyway I can go ahead and work on this mesh here even though it's in the Outline mode, which is nice. Oops! I have got a little bit of auto scroll.

I guess that's okay. And I can move this down a little bit as well if I want to and flare the top area upward. All right, so to get a sense of how another one of these tools work-- I'm not going to show you every one of them because as I say, we are going to be playing with the Liquify tools ad nauseam in a future chapter. But let's go ahead and try out the Pucker tool. Now the thing about the Pucker tool is that it works really fast. I'll go ahead and make my brush even bigger here by Alt or Option+dragging like so invoking a nice auto scroll. Isn't that lovely? Bring that back down please and then notice if I start clicking, I just squish this envelope like crazy. Just the tiniest little click on this guy turns it into a butterfly. So I'm going to go ahead and press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to undo that modification.

What you need is more delicate tool, and you create a more delicate tool by double-clicking on the Pucker tool icon right there and changing the Intensity from 50% to let's say 5 and then click OK. Now, if I click with the tool, you can see that it's squishing the envelope in a more dainty fashion, don't you know? All right, that's looks pretty good, maybe. I'll go ahead and move this over with the Black Arrow tool. Now you can control exactly which portions of the gradient mesh get modified and which portions don't using selections.

So when you are working with the Liquify tools, you only modify the selected points inside of the mesh. So let's go ahead and Ctrl-click or Command-click on that eyeball again just to see what in the world we are doing and see what kind of mess we have made of the mesh so far. And then, you know what I think I would like to do is press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac, so I can see which points are selected and which points aren't. And then I'll go ahead and get my Lasso tool, which I can get by pressing the Q key because it looks like a Q, a backward Q after all. And then I'll just go ahead and drag around some of these central points like so, just some random points.

Now this time, I ended up selecting some of the Clipping Path, so I'm just going to lock it down by clicking its lock icon. And now we have just the Mesh active and then I'll go back here to the Pucker tool and click some more. And notice now I'm just modifying those selected points and I'm not changing any of the points out here in the nether regions, which I don't want to modify. Then I would go back and get my Lasso tool once again, maybe select some of these points in the upper-right region and then I think I'll go and grab my Warp tool. Now all of the tools go ahead and use the same Intensity value. So an Intensity value that works great for the Pucker tool doesn't work worth beans for the Warp tool. You can see that I'm just not getting anything done at this point.

So I would go ahead and double- click on the Warp tool icon and then I would reinstate an Intensity value of 50%, press the Enter or Return key to accept that modification, and now I can drag with a little more authority here. Now I'll press the Q key to get the Lasso tool, you get the idea. I'm just playing around here. And then, I think Shift+R is the keyboard shortcut for the Warp tool. Yes it is. And now I can go ahead and drag this guy upward like so. All right, so anyway there you have it. Some ways to get some work done very, very quickly if you want to, and it's not like you have a ton of control.

You will see now that I have all kinds of harsh transitions. But I could now iron out those harsh transitions by going in on a point-by-point basis with the White Arrow tool, or with the Mesh tool, or I could take it a little easier with the Warp tool if I wanted to. All sorts of options available to me when editing a gradient mesh here inside Illustrator.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced
Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

149 video lessons · 21492 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 28m 41s
    1. Welcome
      1m 7s
    2. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      8m 59s
    3. Resetting the Function keys on a Mac
      4m 47s
    4. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 20s
    5. Loading the CS4 color settings in Illustrator
      6m 3s
    6. Loading the CS4 color settings in Bridge CS4
      3m 25s
  2. 1h 53m
    1. From the simple emerges the complex
      42s
    2. Introducing Pathfinder operations
      4m 17s
    3. Editing a compound shape
      4m 39s
    4. Adding to a compound shape
      3m 11s
    5. Inserting a subpath into a compound shape
      3m 56s
    6. Expanding a compound shape
      4m 53s
    7. Assembling primitives
      4m 42s
    8. Preparing a template in Photoshop
      7m 0s
    9. Uniting paths permanently
      5m 40s
    10. Minus Front vs. Minus Back
      1m 55s
    11. Working with compound paths
      6m 49s
    12. When in doubt, divide
      3m 54s
    13. Divide and Unite
      3m 2s
    14. Open path pitfalls
      5m 35s
    15. Strokes bad, fills good
      4m 38s
    16. Advanced Divide and Unite
      8m 59s
    17. Using the Crop operation
      8m 30s
    18. Expert Divide and Unite
      8m 45s
    19. "Ghosting" shapes with Fill Opacity
      6m 45s
    20. Anticipating and troubleshooting
      8m 16s
    21. Exclude and Intersect
      7m 24s
  3. 44m 59s
    1. Familiar one moment, different the next
      1m 3s
    2. Snapping to anchor points
      5m 41s
    3. Aligning a group to the artboard
      3m 34s
    4. Distributing objects on the artboard
      4m 16s
    5. Setting the key object
      4m 54s
    6. Distributing objects by space
      3m 6s
    7. Distributing objects by selections
      3m 19s
    8. Aligning point text
      6m 7s
    9. Aligning live text vs. using outlines
      4m 58s
    10. Aligning key letters
      3m 35s
    11. Aligning to key objects
      4m 26s
  4. 1h 4m
    1. CS4’s gradient renaissance
      1m 7s
    2. Applying a gradient
      6m 0s
    3. Dragging and dropping color swatches
      2m 55s
    4. Using the Gradient palette
      6m 27s
    5. Designing a shaded gradient
      5m 9s
    6. Saving a gradient swatch and adding a texture
      4m 2s
    7. Introducing the new Gradient tool
      4m 39s
    8. Editing color stops inside a shape
      3m 26s
    9. Setting multiple gradients to the same angle
      5m 0s
    10. Adding and adjusting radial gradients
      7m 20s
    11. Making a transparent gradient
      7m 6s
    12. Adding drop shadows (a kind of gradient)
      6m 28s
    13. Blends vs. blend modes
      4m 38s
  5. 1h 17m
    1. Creating freeform color flows
      1m 0s
    2. The power of CS4's transparent gradients
      10m 25s
    3. Creating a gradient mesh
      4m 30s
    4. Expanding a gradient to a gradient mesh
      7m 40s
    5. Adding and deleting rows and columns
      6m 13s
    6. Selecting and coloring points
      6m 5s
    7. Assigning colors with the Eyedropper tool
      7m 42s
    8. Cool mesh editing techniques
      3m 56s
    9. Warping and puckering a mesh
      7m 24s
    10. Applying precise finishing touches
      5m 48s
    11. Gradient strokes
      9m 45s
    12. Gradient text
      6m 50s
  6. 55m 35s
    1. The first of the dynamic functions
      1m 4s
    2. Making a blend automatically
      5m 48s
    3. Fixing problem blends
      3m 56s
    4. Making a blend with the Blend tool
      3m 6s
    5. Cloning and coloring a blended path
      4m 37s
    6. Creating a mask
      3m 53s
    7. Blending between translucent shapes
      5m 30s
    8. Blending along a curve
      4m 34s
    9. Adjusting the speed of a blend
      2m 58s
    10. Filling and stroking a mask
      4m 36s
    11. Creating a compound clipping mask
      6m 3s
    12. Nesting one clipping mask inside another
      6m 7s
    13. Ghosting nested masks and blends
      3m 23s
  7. 1h 13m
    1. Patterns that repeat forever and ever
      51s
    2. Introducing tile patterns
      6m 36s
    3. Beginning a core design
      5m 6s
    4. Building an interlocking element
      6m 25s
    5. Achieving precise radial symmetry
      4m 46s
    6. Rotating duplicates around a common center
      3m 10s
    7. Determining how a pattern repeats
      9m 54s
    8. Coloring the core objects
      5m 0s
    9. Identifying the rectangular tile
      7m 14s
    10. Saving tile patterns
      7m 19s
    11. Applying tile patterns to a shape
      3m 25s
    12. Protecting patterns from transformations
      7m 36s
    13. Moving patterns without paths
      5m 51s
  8. 1h 19m
    1. Illustrator gets natural
      1m 15s
    2. Introducing the vector painting tools
      3m 16s
    3. Calligraphic brush options
      4m 3s
    4. Pressure sensitivity
      5m 17s
    5. Editing a calligraphic brush
      5m 53s
    6. Repainting and smoothing paths
      5m 30s
    7. Making the paintbrush behave
      6m 16s
    8. Erasing stroked paths
      3m 17s
    9. Painting with the new Blob brush
      6m 24s
    10. Refining filled paths with the Eraser
      4m 14s
    11. Painting independent paths
      3m 53s
    12. The Selection Limits Merge options
      3m 20s
    13. Applying and scaling an art brush
      6m 23s
    14. Snipping a brushed path
      4m 55s
    15. Colorizing an art brush
      4m 9s
    16. Heaping a stroke on an art brush effect
      4m 32s
    17. Creating a custom art brush
      6m 51s
  9. 1h 44m
    1. The computer art world’s dynamic duo
      1m 7s
    2. Copying and pasting pixels from Photoshop
      7m 21s
    3. Linking is efficient, embedding is not
      2m 47s
    4. Editing an image in Illustrator
      7m 30s
    5. Filtering an image in Photoshop
      6m 34s
    6. Adding a filter mask in Photoshop
      6m 25s
    7. Masking a woman from the background
      3m 49s
    8. Creating a sepia effect
      6m 37s
    9. Adding a second gradient map layer
      2m 13s
    10. Achieving a graphic effect with Levels
      8m 10s
    11. Preparing an image for use in Illustrator
      5m 46s
    12. The importance of image resolution
      9m 40s
    13. Placing and linking images
      4m 43s
    14. Managing linked images
      6m 18s
    15. Integrating an image into a design
      5m 12s
    16. A better way to wrap text
      7m 28s
    17. Previewing the trim size
      4m 25s
    18. Layer comps and editable text
      8m 42s
  10. 2h 11m
    1. Transparency is safe and fun
      1m 27s
    2. Introducing the translucent composition
      4m 39s
    3. Assigning opacity to an Appearance attribute
      3m 41s
    4. Creating a knockout group
      5m 7s
    5. Defining an opacity mask
      7m 15s
    6. Using the Clip checkbox
      2m 41s
    7. Opacity mask tips and tricks
      3m 20s
    8. The Multiply blend mode
      6m 8s
    9. Adding to an existing opacity mask
      7m 53s
    10. Blending between parallel groups
      7m 27s
    11. Creating a gradient opacity mask
      4m 54s
    12. Employing an opposing gradient mask
      7m 57s
    13. Combining Multiply and Screen
      3m 49s
    14. Blend mode roundup
      5m 24s
    15. Mixing blend modes inside a single path
      3m 48s
    16. Blend mode and transparent gradient
      3m 49s
    17. Masking an entire layer
      7m 0s
    18. Combining Screen with 100K Black
      7m 43s
    19. Knocking out a drop shadow
      5m 18s
    20. But will it print?
      3m 8s
    21. Working with the Flattener preview
      8m 44s
    22. Rasterizing an illustration in Photoshop
      9m 16s
    23. Super-rich blacks and raster effects
      3m 35s
    24. Exporting TIFF artwork from Illustrator
      7m 48s
  11. 58s
    1. Until next time
      58s

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