For the Gradient Mesh Sweet Peppers assignment we were provided with a photograph of four bell peppers. Since I started on this one after already doing a lot of work on the gradient mesh for my Vector Illustration project I didn’t have many issues. There are however a few pointers that I would like to share with anyone just learning to use this wonderful tool. I think that it’s an awesome tool, but you might want to reverse your learning method from what I did, and start with the easier peppers.
All of a sudden, when I toggled between my original and what I was working on there was this huge white rectangle. I have no idea how that happened. I had to dig through locked layers to finally find it buried on a green pepper layer. I wasn’t even working on the green pepper. I had just started a new mesh box for the orange pepper. Thankfully I managed to figure it out with a minimal of fuss and just deleted the layer with the white rectangle on it.
Now I am trying again, and my mesh looks to be on the right layer.
I found that the quickest way to choose where to put the mesh anchors was to make sure to have them intersect on the brightest points/reflections and work out from there. The second most important placement is to make sure that there is a line either side of where a value fades into another one, so that the gradation is in the correct place.
To get the highlights to follow the ones on the original photo sometimes takes a lot of manipulation of the lines and a lot of lines to get it right. The more lines you add the more control you have over where the colour or gradient changes happen. Even now I still think that it looks like a plastic pepper.
On my last day working on this a couple of fellow students mentioned to me that there is a much quicker way to add all the lines. You just select Create Gradient Mesh from the Object menus and input how many lines and rows you want it to create. You can also select if you want it to start out with a basic gradient already in place.
I actually don’t see any advantage to using this tool. Sure, you can get lots of lines in place quickly, but you are going to spend more time moving them all one at a time. The green rectangle on the left was created using the Create tool. After making the mesh I then pulled in a couple of the anchor points to for a waist, but the others predictably remained in place. For the green rectangle on the right I made my rectangle as usual, then applied the mesh tool. Then I pulled in the waist and THEN added more mesh lines. These lines follow the contours which I had originally made, and leave me with a lot less work to do pulling anchor points into position.
Anyhow, I know you are all dying to see my finished work, so without further ado…
I have no idea why it is such a blurry image. As soon as I figure this out I will be replacing the image with a clear one.