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. By moving and editing points on the mesh lines, you can change the intensity of a color shift, or change the extent of a colored area on the object.

At the intersection of two mesh lines is a special kind of anchor point called a mesh point. Mesh points appear as diamonds and have all of the same properties as anchor points but with the added capability of accepting color. You can add and delete mesh points, edit the mesh points, or change the color associated with each mesh point.

Anchor points also appear in the mesh (differentiated by their square rather than diamond shape), and can be added, deleted, edited, and moved as with any anchor points in Illustrator. Anchor points can be placed on any mesh line; you can click an anchor point and drag its direction lines to modify it.

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.

Diagram of a mesh object
Diagram of a mesh object

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

Create mesh objects

You can create mesh objects from vector objects, with the exception of compound paths and text objects. You cannot create mesh objects from linked images.

To improve performance and redraw speed, keep the size of mesh objects to a minimum. Complex mesh objects can greatly reduce performance. Therefore, it is better to create a few small, simple mesh objects than to create a single, complex mesh object. When converting complex objects, use the Create Mesh command for the best results.


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

Create a mesh object with an irregular pattern of mesh points

  1. Select the Mesh tool , and select a fill color for the mesh points.
  2. Click where you want to position the first mesh point.

    The object is converted to a mesh object with the minimum number of mesh lines.

  3. Continue clicking to add additional mesh points. Shift-click to add a mesh point without changing to the current fill color.

Create a mesh object with a regular pattern of mesh points

  1. Select the object and choose Object > Create Gradient Mesh.
  2. Set the number of rows and columns, and select the direction of the highlight from the Appearance menu:


    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 the object and choose Object > Expand.
  2. Select Gradient Mesh, and click 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, choose Object > Path > Offset Path, and then enter zero for the offset value.

Edit mesh objects

You can edit a mesh object by adding, deleting, and moving mesh points; changing the color of mesh points and mesh patches; and converting the mesh object back to a regular object.

  1. Edit a mesh object by doing any of the following:
    • To add a mesh point, select the Mesh tool  and select a fill color for the new mesh points. Then click anywhere in the mesh object.

    • To delete a mesh point, Alt‑click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) the mesh point with the Mesh tool.

    • To move a mesh point, drag it with the Mesh tool or Direct Selection tool. 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)

    • To change the color of a mesh point or patch, Select the mesh object, and then drag a color from the Color panel or Swatches panel onto the point or patch. Or, 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 Transparency Panel, Control Panel, or the Appearance panel.


    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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