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Add, edit, and delete mesh objects in Illustrator

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Learn how to work with meshes in your artwork.

A mesh object is a multicolored object on which colors can flow in different directions and transition smoothly from one point to another.

When you create a mesh object, multiple lines called mesh lines crisscross the object and provide a way to easily manipulate color transitions on the object. Move and edit points on the mesh lines to change the intensity of a color shift or change the extent of a colored area on the object.

You can view a Mesh point at the intersection of two mesh lines. Mesh points appear as diamonds with the same properties as anchor points but with the added capability of accepting color.

Add, edit, and delete the Mesh points or change the associated color.

You can also view, add, edit, move, and delete Anchor points in the mesh. Place Anchor points on any mesh line, and select and drag its direction lines to modify it.

Diagram of a mesh object
Diagram of a mesh object

A. Mesh line B. Mesh patch C. Mesh point 

The area between any four mesh points is called the mesh patch. You can also change the color of the mesh patch using the same techniques as changing colors on a mesh point.

Create mesh objects

You can create mesh objects from vector objects, except compound paths and text objects. You cannot create mesh objects from linked images.

Keep the size of mesh objects to a minimum to improve performance and redraw speed. Complex mesh objects can reduce performance. Create a few small, simple mesh objects than making a single, complex mesh object. If you want to convert complex objects, use the Create Mesh command for the best results.

Märkus.

When printing mesh objects, spot colors are preserved for EPS, PDF, and PostScript output.

Mesh object with an irregular pattern of mesh points

  1. Select the Mesh   tool, and select a fill color for the mesh points.

  2. Select where you want to position the first mesh point.

  3. Continue selecting to add additional mesh points.

    You can shift-click to add a mesh point without changing to the current fill color.

Mesh object with a regular pattern of mesh points

  1. Select the object and select Object > Create Gradient Mesh.

  2. Set the number of rows and columns, and select the direction of the highlight from the Appearance menu:

    Flat: Applies the object’s original color evenly across the surface, resulting in no highlight.

    To Center: Creates a highlight in the center of the object.

    To Edge: Creates a highlight on the edges of the object.

  3. Enter a percentage of white highlight to apply to the mesh object. A value of 100% applies maximum white highlight to the object; a value of 0% applies no white highlight to the object.

Convert a gradient-filled object to a mesh object

  1. Select an object and then select Object > Expand.

  2. Select Gradient Mesh, and select OK.

    The selected object is converted to a mesh object that takes the shape of the gradient, either circular (radial) or rectangular (linear).

Convert a mesh object back to a path object

  1. Select the mesh object, select Object > Path > Offset Path.

  2. Enter zero for the offset value.

Edit mesh objects

You can add, delete, and move mesh points to edit a mesh object. You can also change the color of mesh points and mesh patches, or convert the mesh object back to a regular object. Follow any of these options to edit a mesh object:

  • Select the Mesh   tool, select a fill color, and then select anywhere in the mesh object to add a mesh point.
  • You can Alt‑click (Windows) or Option-click (macOS) the mesh point with the Mesh   tool to delete a mesh point.
  • Drag a mesh point with the Mesh   tool or Direct Selection tool to move a mesh point. Shift-drag a mesh point with the Mesh   tool to keep the mesh point on a mesh line. This is a convenient way to move a mesh point along a curved mesh line without distorting the mesh line.
Dragging to move mesh point (left) compared to Shift- dragging with the Mesh tool to constrain the point to the mesh line (right)
Dragging to move mesh point (left) compared to Shift- dragging with the Mesh tool to constrain the point to the mesh line (right)

 

  • Select the mesh object, and then drag a color from the Color panel or Swatches panel onto a point or patch to change the color of a mesh point or patch.
  • You can also deselect all objects and select a fill color. Then select the mesh object and use the Eyedropper tool to apply the fill color to mesh points or patches.

 

Adding color to a mesh point (left) compared to adding color to a mesh patch (right)
Adding color to a mesh point (left) compared to adding color to a mesh patch (right)

Set transparency for gradient meshes

You can set transparency and opacity values within gradient meshes. Transparency and opacity values can be assigned to individual mesh nodes. To assign transparency values:

  1. Select one or more mesh nodes or patches.
  2. Set the opacity from the Opacity slider in the Transparency panel, Control panel, or Appearance panel.

    Märkus.

    If you save the object to legacy format or EPS or PDF, the transparency on the mesh object is retained by creating an opacity mask.


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