Join Justin Seeley for an in-depth discussion in this video What is a gradient mesh?, part of Creating Gradient Meshes with Illustrator.
- If you've never used the mesh tools in Illustrator or you've never seen a gradient mesh in person you might be wondering: what exactly is it? Well, in this movie, I'm going to give you a little bit more insight into what a gradient mesh actually is. A gradient mesh is a way of adding specific areas of color to a piece of artwork inside of Adobe Illustrator unlike any method you've seen before. You take an ordinary object like the one you see here and you can transform it into something like this. Very quick and very easy. This is done through a series of grids and mesh points that are applied to the shapes that you create inside of Illustrator.
You can add colors to those grid points to indicate areas of shadow and highlight for more photorealistic results. Here are some examples of what other people have done with gradient mesh. Take a look at the wire frame of this car right here. Once I progress through though, take a look at what it looks like after the gradient mesh is applied. It's almost like looking at a photograph. Here are some other examples of a poster design, and also another poster. These are some amazing results that you see here, and they're all done through using wireframe vectors and applying gradient mesh effects.
In order to achieve these type of results you have to have a lot of practice under your belt. And practice always comes along with something else: patience. You need to have extreme patience when you're learning this tool. This is not something that you're going to learn overnight and instantly transform your artwork. You also need to have a lot of creativity, because this is a tool that allows you to push the boundaries of what Adobe Illustrator can do. And once you've learned it and mastered it there are really no limits to what you can create.