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Shading with the Adobe Illustrator CS5 Mesh Object

Article Description

Simple lines can convey straightforward ideas, but subtlety often requires shading. Brian Wood, contributor to Adobe Illustrator CS5 Classroom in a Book, demonstrates using mesh objects to add gradients to curves. Brian shares his best tips for saving steps and preventing headaches as you work with mesh objects.

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Distorting the Points of a Gradient Mesh

Distorting the Points of a Gradient Mesh

Moving, adding, and deleting points is great, but if you want to expand the mesh possibilities, you can also distort the mesh point handles to create more "organic" gradients. Here's how it works:

  1. Deselect the mesh object on the page.
  2. With either the Mesh tool or the Direct Selection tool, click to select a mesh point. Notice the direction lines that appear. Position the pointer over the end of a direction line. The cursor won't display a plus or a minus at this point. Click-and-drag the end of a direction line to distort the mesh in that area.
  3. Choose Edit > Undo Move.
  4. Click and drag the same direction line, but this time hold down the Shift key as you drag. Notice that four direction lines come from the point, and they all rotate together when the Shift key is held down (see Figure 11).
  5. Figure 11 Distorting mesh points by using the direction lines.

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