Gradient Mesh Illustrator | Adobe Illustrator: How To Use The Gradient Mesh Tool For Beginners

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Adobe Illustrator: How To Use The Gradient Mesh Tool For Beginners


Hi, everyone! This is Anne with Graphic Design. How To and today I’m going to tell you about the Gradient Mesh Tool in Adobe Illustrator, And I really use this three ways. I use it to create objects that have shading, so they look kind of rounded. I use it to create cool looking backgrounds and also shadows for objects. And at the end, I’m going to throw in a kind of troubleshooting tip. So stick around for that. Alright, let’s get started. Alright, So here we are in Adobe Illustrator, and I’m going to open a new document by going to File>New and we’ll do a letter. I’m just going to hit my spacebar and move the canvas over a little bit. Now I’m going to place a photo I found online. We’ll get to our desktop and Ill. Just draw this eggplant in here. I’ll go up to my Layer’s window and I’m going to make a new layer just above this one. And I’m going to lock the layer that the eggplant is on First. I’m going to zoom in on this by hitting Z and drawing a box around it. And then I’ll hit P to get my Pen Tool. I’m going to just click once and then click and drag and make a selection of this eggplant. I’m not really trying to be perfect here. This is just for a tutorial. So I’m just going to go on UPI usually extend beyond. If there’s something that’s going to cover it up later. Now I’m going to hit slash or the question Mark key to clear the fill and then I’m going to hit X to bring the stroke to the front and then hit slash to clear that too. I’ll fix that little bit right there. And now we’ll get on our Mesh Tool and that’s right over here. The keyboard shortcut for that is U. So you can just hit U if you want. And now we’re going to add our mesh points. We can do that by just clicking on some of the edges here, And I like to have them pretty evenly spaced. It doesn’t really matter that much. Maybe add a couple in here. And then you can click on here to get the horizontal ones. Maybe a few more down here at the bottom. Because I know there’s going to be a lot of shading going on down here. There we go. When you use the Mesh Tool, you can’t choose no fill. You have to have a fill with this tool. So we’re just going to use white for now. But once I move it down, we’ll choose a kind of purple tone. So I’ll hit I on my keyboard to get to my eyedropper. And we’ll just choose this mid tone right here. Alright, now there are two different ways to change the shading on this mesh. First you can use your. A toolthat is your Direct Selection Tool, and I say A because that’s the key you’ll hit to get to that tool. So hit A now, and you’ll get to your A Tool. You can select each of these points one by one holding SHIFT, and I don’t know if you can see it very well on my screen, but everywhere where the lines intersect, you’ll see white dots unless you’re hovering over it, But the places you select will be red dots. So every one that you select will turn red when you select it. Alright, so I’ve got the entire bottom part selected, and I’m going to hit I and we’ll choose this very dark section right here. So when I deselect I’m going to hit SHIFT, Cmd A (or SHIFT. CTRL A on a PC) to deselect everything. You can see that that part of the eggplant is much darker. Now I want to also color some of these other areas. And now we could do this by using our A Tool coming in and selecting everything like we did before, but I think it’s a lot faster to use your Q Tool. So hit Q on your keyboard now, and that will take you to the Lasso Tool And I’m just going to lasso around some of these sections up here. Looks like it kind of goes like this. And now I’ve selected all of those. I’m going to hit I and select this color up here. And now you can see it’s turned that a much darker color. Now, if you see a lot of extra colors that you’re not going to be able to get, you can go ahead and hit U to get back on your Mesh Tool and add another line in there. And then you can color those separately. So I’m going to hit Q again. I’m going to select all of these in here. I’m going to make those the lighter color. And you can see. We got some up here. I don’t think I want those. So I’ll just select those two intersections and change those back to purple. I’m going to hit U to add another section right in here. Oh, also, if you have it colored already, you don’t have to click on the edge. You can just click where you want that line to be and it’ll add it. So now, with my Q Tool, I’ll go in here and select these. And then we’ll get this lighter highlight out here. I need to get some of these purples in here. So I’m going to hit Q and we’ll just draw up in and around here. I’m going to click I. Maybe we can grab some of these down here to get that darker color. Hit I and select those. So this does take a bit of fine tuning work. You can see we have a good start, but obviously. My highlight is a little low. And I don’t have two highlights, really. I have this lower one, but it doesn’t look great. So this is something you’ll really have to play around with. One option is to add a lot more lines and then go and grab those points and get them to be colored exactly the way this one is. I want to mention too that you can hit Q and select some points and then hit A and actually move those around like this. So whatever would make more sense for your drawing? We can just move those around. Alright, so it looks somewhat rounded, but obviously. I’ve still got a lot of work to do. All right, I’m going to go ahead and draw out this green part. So I’ll hit P. I’m just going to draw along the edge, Just like I did before clicking and dragging. And now I can’t see what I’m doing. So I’m going to hit SHIFT X. That changes your fill to a stroke. We’ll click on that to get rid of that Bezier curve, So I can kind of start my line over again. And then I’ll hit I on my keyboard and click on the Green Area Cmd- to zoom out and then V to click it and drag it over top of my beautiful eggplant and hit Z to zoom in. And now we’ll do the same with this. I’m going to hit U for my mesh points. I’m going to click in here. Maybe around here And your mesh points really depend on how you drew it. So as you can see, it’s kind of crazy. The mesh points that are being created with this, But I’m just going to go with it and see how it works. I think. I’m done with the purple part. So I’m going to click it and I’m going to hit Cmd 2 to lock it. And now I’ll grab my Q tool. Go around all the bottom parts like this and hit I and get this darker green Here, hit Q and grab these parts and hit I and get this color. So this is how you would draw an object. Next I’m going to do a shadow so you can see the shadow under here. Now this is pretty easy. All you have to do is hit L on your keyboard, which will get you to the Circle Tool and just draw a shadow there. I’m going to hit I and get that shadow color. And then I’ll hit U. And now we’ll click on this line and this line. See what we can get here? A few mesh points and this is still locked. So I don’t have to worry about selecting it, so that’s nice. If yours isn’t locked, you can click it and hit Cmd 2 and later. If you want to unlock it, you can hit. Opt Cmd 2 or OPT Ctrl 2 on a PC. Now this one, I’m just going to select everything. And then I’m going to hit A and SHIFT. Click each one of these. Now what I’m doing is deselecting these middle ones. So now I have only the edges selected and I want to make these white, so I’m going to go up to my Swatches and choose white. So now just the edges. So now all those edges are white. And the next thing I want to do is take the Opacity down to about 70%. Let’s see how that looksmaybe 40%. Now we’ll send this to the back SHIFT. Cmd [, And I like a little bit more of a fade from white to gray, so I’m going to click on the edges with my A Tool (the Direct Selection Tool) and pull the Bezier curves in a little bit about halfway. So let’s zoom in, grab that handle and pull it in. Click with the A Tool and grab the handle And again. So now we have our little shadow. It still looks a little dark, so I’m going to make it 50%. Maybe make it a little bit wider and then move it up a little bit. The next thing I want to talk about is how to create a background with the Gradient Mesh Tool. So I’m going to get a file that I’ve created with this called background and all of this stuff is just overlays. So what I’m talking about is just this image. It has been created with a Gradient Mesh because you can see the mesh points, but I’m going to delete that, and we’ll just create one from scratch. So I’m going to hit M on my keyboard to get to the Square Tool. Click and drag, and then I’ll choose this color. OK, now this is just a solid blue, and now we’ll add some mesh points, hitting U on our keyboard to get to the Mesh Tool And I’ll add one here here here and here. I’m going to use my A Tool to select these parts up here. So right, now I’ve got the upper right corner selected. I’ll hit I to get my eyedropper and click on this dark blue color. And as you can see, it’s changed that entire upper part to a very dark color. So let’s click on a few of these with our A Tool, which is the Direct Selection Tool And we’ll get some medium tones like. Maybe like this one. I’ll use my A Tool to select these two. Click on that color. The best way to do this is to do it point by point. Otherwise, you’re going to get these areas of color that don’t blend very well. So it’s best to find a medium color between the light and the dark. But you could get some really cool gradient tones in here that just make it look a little bit more interesting. And now I want to let you know about a problem. You might face if you have created a gradient mesh. That is that you can’t get this shape. Let’s say you wanted to add an outline or something to this shape. So if we try to add an outline right now, it shows that there’s an outline, but it won’t actually let us add a stroke to this. So you would want just a regular path and put it behind this gradient mesh So? I want to show you a way to do that. So I’m going to click on this copy and paste behind. So hit Cmd C for copy and Cmd B for paste behind or Ctrl B on a PC. So now I’m going to hit V and return. We’re going to move this zero horizontal, but 500 pixels down. And if we move down here here is our shape. I just wanted you to be able to see it, because if it’s exactly behind this shape, you wouldn’t be able to tell what I was doing. So here is the shape. And now we’ll go to Object>Path>Offset Path and do zero And we’ll say OK, And now we have that shape again. It actually sort of makes a copy. So you still have all this information, but you’ll have the shape behind there. So if we delete our gradient mesh here, we still have this black shape back behind there. So now I’m going to hit V and return and we’ll send it back up -500. Say, OK, And now it’s exactly where it used to be. Maybe we want to change the outline to green. And now we can do this. Alright, so that’s a quick troubleshooting tip for you to be able to actually make your mesh points back into a shape again. Alright, that’s my video for this week. If you liked it, please leave a comment in the comment section below. And I’ll see you next week for another graphic design tutorial. Thankyou.