There's an option in Illustrators general preferences, causing a smooth display of graphics (it's in the left column). Turn it off - is the gap still there?
I disabled Anti-Aliased Artwork in the General settings and there are absolutely NO gaps anymore. Thank you for this.
However (I just realized I should have given Helpful points instead of Correct points b/c I have followup questions), the document clearly looks better with anti-aliasing enabled in every way except the gaps. And it's how this will transfer to .pdf that concerns me.
Does changing the AA setting in Illustrator effect how it will be exported to PDF? I.E will it be exported without AA now?
Furthermore, I know Adobe Reader has some settings that allow you to enable or disable Smooth Line Art and Smooth Images. I very much hope that I can enable Smooth Line Art in Adobe Reader and NOT have the gaps show. If the AA behavior in Illustrator (CS4, btw, I forgot to mention that important point) corresponds to the Smooth Line Art behavior in Adobe Reader, I may be screwed.
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This preference setting just changes the display of objects.
When it's turned on, Illustrator anti-aliases every vector object, (sometimes) ignoring where objects join. Turning the setting of allows for a more exact view of objects' borders and positioning (so you can check if they really meet), but of course it's less pretty.
Acrobat has a corresponding setting. What will happen with gradients in print production depends on other settings (in various concerned printer drivers, RIP etc.).
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I never line up mesh edges. I always overlap them a bit.
Yeah, after experimenting, if I overlap one of the meshes onto the other (more than just the border on the border), I can get the meshes to match pretty well by just adjusting the length of the vertical handles on the mesh that is being overlapped. I will have to redo all my mesh 'seams' this way, but at least I won't have to add any new mesh points as I was originally worried about.
The only reason I insisted on getting rid of the gaps while leaving everything else the same is b/c my old method (almost) allowed for quatifiable data matching of the two meshes. That is to say, so long as I put adacent mesh border points in the same place, with the same color, and the same length and direction of handles, I knew that things matched up (save for the gap). Oh well, it wasn't really quatifiable anyways, because AFAIK you can't enter exact coords for gradient mesh points, let alone any numberical data for the length of the handles (if this ever going to be possible?). I was eyeballing those anyways.
Thanks for your helpful replies.
I noticed the same problem with AA enabled when two basic shapes shared the same border. Overlapping basic shapes via layer order was simpler, so I had already done that to prevent the gap from displayings. It turns out that overlapping gradient meshes isn't that much more difficult.