Everything You Can Imagine Is Real

Gradient Mesh Tutorial ( Part 1 – Basic ) August 20, 2006

Filed under: Tutorials — goheadgostan @ 12:15 pm


PART 1 – Mesh Outline

Okay this is will be my second tutorial and it’s overlong !! And I decide to go a bit futher by tackling something big and ambitious : a Lamborghini Diablo. Hopefully this will give more understanding and a clear picture on how to accustom oneself in using the Adobe Illustrator’s gradient mesh tool.

Before we start I have to admit that this is not a 100% gradient mesh tool. There are a few part of the car that I simply used plain vector with pen tool and color blend to complete the whole car, and being a generous person that I am ^^ I will also show how this is done !

Our subject : 1999 Lamborghini Diablo Roadster

Source : http://www.desktopmachine.com/framepic.php?id=4713&size=1600

What you need :

a.) Adobe Illustrator ( I’m using CS2 )

b.) Image Viewing Software – to use side by side for reference

# I normally use Paint Shop Pro ( if I’m using my PC & Goldberg when I’m using my Mac )

c.) Plenty of patience !

What you need to remember :

a.) Always save your work. There’s no telling when your PC might go bonkers !

b.) CTRL-Y ( Command-Y for Mac )…for outline view mode, you’ll be using this keyboard shortcut most of the time to see your mesh outline and work in progress.


Click the above link and save this lovely 1600 x 1200 image into your hard drive.

Before we begin use the eyedropper tool to pick a color from Diablo as our base color. I use # E89A28 – not to bright & not to dark to my liking. And in this early stage I also pick a solid black and a solid white to add to my swatch.

Load your Diablo image in Illustrator, this in default will be in layer 1, double click to change it to….errr Diablo Image. Click the template box and lock this layer.

* Now that our image has gone blurry, it’s advisable to have our mesh line in a dark solid color. Just make a change in the layer options color box and pick burgundy or brick red.02imgblur.jpg

We are going to start by meshing the hood and the front wheel arch of the Diablo. This is a toughie compares to other part of the car – hmm what a best way to start, right ?

So zoom in close, click the rectangle tool (almost all mesh outlines start with a rectangle !) and place the rectangle somewhere in the middle of the hood. Use the selection tool to rotate and stretch the rectangle, then use the mesh tool and click the point in the middle – This will create a mesh outline !01hoodmesh1.jpg

Choose the lasso tool to rubberband and select all 3 mesh points on the right side of the rectangle and pull them down


Now use the direct selection tool to drag and move the top mesh point to the right corner ( where the crease line is )


Now take the bezier handle ( from the top mesh point ) and drag it upward tracing along the crease line, this require a bit of skill and accuracy, but it’s not that difficult !


Do the same to the middle and left mesh point by lifting it upward and getting the mesh lines all parallel. After this is done, remember to tidy up all your bezier handles by keeping them aligned and short.


Now do the same as before to the mesh points on the left side of the rectangle, dragging them near the edge of the front. Try to manipulate the bezier handle to get a nice curve like the example below, Also add a vertical mesh line at the top corner of the hood.


Add a couple more mesh points and again try to adjust the bezier handles into an accurate position that trace the original image underneath. Avoid adding way too many mesh point at this stage. We’ll do that when we start our shading and sampling color later on.


Now that you have outlined the hood of the car, lets move to the front spoiler. Create a new layer, the process are the same as before. We start with a simple rectangle, stretch and rotate, create mesh line and try to trace by manipulating the bezier handles.


Do the same for the side vent


. ….and also the same for the door


…. and also the the rear


add a few additional mesh points to get the correct wheel arch along the edge of the curve, same like what we’ve done earlier to the front.


… And simple mesh outline for the rear fender. Notice I did not add any additional mesh line.


…. and lastly the top rear. Ignore any vents or holes on the body, we’ll focus on that later. For now just make sure yourr mesh lines are traced and well aligned.


Okay, now go to your layer palette and turn off the visibility on the original image ( Diablo Image – the first layer that you created ) and you’ll get something like this.


Okay, so it does not look cool at this juncture, because it is just a basic shape of something that resembles a car with a plain uniform color with no tires and accessories. Well, don’t fret, c’mon and lets move to the second tutorial where we will be adding color and doing some shading to our Diablo !


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