So, basically, I am DETERMINED to learn how to use gradient mesh in 5.1. I tried to do that well-known red pepper exercise (I'll provide the URL if somebody hasn't seen it.) Everything was going fine until I actually tried to use the background jpg of the pepper itself in outline mode as a template. The idea is to pick up the template colors of the pepper and then use them as gradient mesh colors. No matter how I tried to do it, that trick just would not work. Here's a copy of a post that someone else did related to this exact issue in 2012:
If you are working on a gradient mesh and are using image template as a guide you want to work in outline preview so you can see the underlying art to determine wht you are constructing and also it then allows you to use the eyedropper to sample the color of the actual photo so it can be translated tothe mesh and you can simply switch back to Preview mode to check your progress.
Very handy when working with gradient meshes if you are using and underlying template to translate into art.
(I can find the author and URL for the quote if needed)
That sounds great, but sampling the color of the photo and then actually using it on the gradent mesh points just did not seem to work for me. If they made it work for the pepper tutorial, then there clearly must be a way!! But I haven't been able to find it, and I've spent crazy amounts of time on it. all suggestion appreciated!
I can't convert the PDF file of the pepper tutorial to word, so here goes the summary:
Place the photo in your AI document. Embed the photo. That is the step that's important. Otherwise, you end up sampling the layer highlight color.
Put the photo on its own, locked layer. Create new layer above (tip: use a contrasting layer highlight color. If you're using a red highlight on a red papper, it'll be hard to see)
Draw an ellipse roughly the shape you want. I usually use a fill of white and a stroke of none. You can either go to Object> Create Gradient Mesh, or you can use the Mesh tool to start adding mesh lines.
Put the mesh layer into Outline mode by Command (Ctrl on Windows)-clicking the eyeball on the Layers panel.
Choose the Direct Selection tool (white arrow), then choose the Eyedropper tool. (Keyboard shorcut: A, then I)
Hold down the Command (Ctrl on Windows) key to temporarily access the Direct Selection tool, and select a mesh point. Release the Command key to go back to the Eyedropper and cick on the point to sample the color beneath it.
Repeat til you've colored all the mesh points. You can add more mesh lines as needed, and modify the outlide of the shape to conform to your source image.
I wrote and recorded a whole course called "Mastering Gradient Mesh." Check it out:
They are probably holding down SHIFT while using the eyedropper.
The method is fine if you do nto need accurate colro, as SHIFT sampling goes through color conversions that will make the color look accurate, but the values are off.
I've finished my book and finally have time to go over these! I think I might have to go through the entire course. I just keep getting stuck on one point... the mesh layer and embedded layer are going into and out of outline mode as one unit. I've tried selected each, locking and unlocking each, going back to linked mode, etc. I still can't put just one layer into outline mode. It makes no sense at all, and this just seems to be such an impossible tool to master. But I WILL do it. Oh, yes, I will...
What really is amazing to me about using mesh is that it's the one and only art technique I have ever seen that produces true photorealism. 3D programs like Blender certainly can't manage this, and I've never seen traditional methods work this well. (Dru Blair probably comes the closest.) So it has GOT to be possible to figure it out. I'll keep trying!
the mesh layer and embedded layer are going into and out of outline mode as one unit. I've tried selected each, locking and unlocking each, going back to linked mode, etc. I still can't put just one layer into outline mode.
Make sure you have two separate layers (not two sub-layers within the same layer). To put just the mesh layer in Outline mode, Command (Window: Ctrl) - click on the eyeball. See screen shot: