Algonquin College Graphic Design Program Computer Graphics Course Curriculum Algonquin College Graphic Design Program Computer Graphics Course Curriculum

Gradient Mesh

Apps Used: Adobe Illustrator

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

This is a formative assignment

That means that you'll be learning and practising new software skills. This assignment contributes to your final grade in the course. This work will be graded as either:

Complete Incomplete

If needed, I will provide written feedback on your performance.


A Gradient Mesh is a tool which allows you to add colours to your artwork in various directions and intensities. It’s more versatile and more intricate than a regular gradient. You can see some pretty amazing examples here.

If you’re starting out with Gradient Meshes, it’s best to use Object > Gradien Mesh. Then you can choose options. This makes your mesh structure a lot easier to control.


The other way of creating a Mesh is to click with the Mesh Tool on a selected shape. This converts it to a Mesh Object. There’s a difference between clicking on the edge of the object’s shape and clicking on its surface with the Gradient Mesh Tool. Go ahead and give it a try.


Drawing Meshes

Drawing a sphere:

Drawing a square:

We have the choice of applying colour to a whole Mesh Object, or you can use the Direct Selection tool to affect only selected anchor points.

When you select an Anchor Point with the Direct Selection tool, the Control Handles which appear show you how far out the new colour will go. The longer the Control Handles, the larger the coloured area.

You can affect Control Handles individually with the Convert Anchor Point tool.

You can click with the Mesh Tool to add Control Points. You can Option-click on them to remove them.

Meshes & Irregular Shapes

If you create irregular shapes like as shown below, the gradient mesh will be very difficult to control within that irregular shape. Better to create a simple shape, apply your mesh, then re-shape your object with something like Envelope Warp. All you need to do is expand it. So…

Irregular shapes can yeald irregular meshes, unless you use this technique.

Then your Gradient Mesh will better follow the profile of the shape.

Formative Activity

Create Gradient Meshes

We’ve practiced building basic shapes and applying Gradient Meshes to them. Now, let’s create more photo-realistic artwork with meshes. We’ll create meshes on the soccer ball to create detailed, realistic lighting effects.


As you add gradient meshes on individual shapes, it will be useful to lock others, so you don’t affect them. Use ⌘-2 to lock a selected object. Use Option-⌘-2 to unlock everything.

Once you’re done, save and close the image. We’ll move on to your assignment.

What you'll submit:


Make sure your document is named properly:


Check that there are no placed images in your Links panel. Lastly, go Type > Fine Font... . Make sure the only fonts there are from Adobe Fonts. If there are others, get rid of them.

Now, you're ready to save your file and package it. Go File > Package... and follow the prompts. You'll submit the folder named

Appleseed-Johnny-#-Gradient Mesh

Now zip that folder and submit the zip file.