Hello my name is Christian and I am a graphic designer based in Massachusetts. This post goes over my notes for Chapters 5 & 6 of Deke McClelland's Adobe Illustrator One on One Mastery. The chapters cover patterns and gradient mesh within Adobe Illustrator.
To create a pattern from a selected object navigate to the top menu bar Object > Pattern > Make. This will result in the pattern being created and saved into the Swatches panel. Also, you will be entered into the edit pattern mode. You can edit the pattern within the Pattern Options menu such as the pattern tile tool, name, tile type, brick offset, tile size and spacing, and overlap. You also can edit the scale of the pattern outside of the pattern edit mode via the scale tool. With the scale tool (S) you can transform the scale of the pattern. To do so make sure to uncheck the the Transform Objects box under Options and make sure that Transform Patterns is checked.
You make modifications to a pattern within the Pattern Edit Mode but there are limitations. You can enter the Pattern Edit Mode by double clicking on the pattern. All work saved in Pattern Edit Mode will be expanded resulting in all effects being destroyed. For more freedom in editing the pattern, work on artwork seperate from your pattern, ideally on a different layer. Once your artwork is ready you can copy and paste changes into the pattern.
Sometimes you can make mistakes that you want to undo with patterns. You can undo via Ctrl + Z (Cmd + Z) but make sure to save the pattern. You can save multiple versions of a pattern by using the Save a Copy button within the Pattern Edit Mode. Once a copy has been saved you will return to working on the original pattern so be careful not to overwrite the original pattern. To duplicate a pattern click on the New Swatch button within the Swatches panel with the pattern you wish to duplicate selected.
Patterns do not support effects such as gradients or blurs so it is best to have a copy of your artwork on another layer in order to make changes. This copy should be independent of the pattern so as to avoid any limitations of a pattern.
You can adjust the center point of the pattern outside of the Pattern Edit Mode. With the object containing the pattern selected via the black arrow tool hit enter to bring up the Move menu. With the Move menu uncheck the Transform Objects checkbox and make sure the Transform Patterns checkbox is checked. Edit the horizontal and vertical positions until the pattern is to your liking.
With Gradient Mesh you can edit a grid of color on an object. This is often used to create realistic light and shadow. The Gradient Mesh Tool (U) lets you add and delete mesh points, columns and rows. Using the Mesh Tool you can move mesh points along the mesh path by holding down the shift key. Holding down the shift key while manipulating the handles of a mesh point will allow you to adjust the double handles together.
You can change the color of a gradient mesh by selecting a point and changing the color within the color menu. You can also drag a color swatch onto a point or patch. Lastly you can change the color by using the eyedropper tool (holding down alt while having a color selected).
Another way of creating a gradient mesh is by using Object > Create Gradient Mesh... within the Create Gradient Mesh menu you can set the amount of rows and columns. You can also change the Appearance from Flat to Center or Edge which adds a highlight in the center or on the edges.
You can create gradient meshes from linear and radial gradients by going to Object > Expand and make sure to click on Gradient Mesh under the Expand Gradient To. Radial gradients turned into a mesh will appear to be circular but there are actually rows and columns that are folded onto itself. Usually the right horizontal line is the fold line. If you delete the left horizontal and both vertical lines (columns) you can add and remove circular lines (rows) of the gradient mesh.
Anchor points are square while gradient mesh points are diamonds. Gradient mesh handles adjust the direction and intensity of the color. To add a stroke to a gradient mesh you need to add a stroke within the Appearance panel.
If you only want to select the path of an object you can change the selection by checking the Object Selection by Path Only box found under Selection & Anchor Display within the Preferences menu. You can bring up the preferences menu from the Edit drop down menu or shortcut Ctrl + K (Cmd + K). If you want to select an object with this option checked click on the outline of said object.
There is a select similar object button in the top bar. There is a Pathfinder Options menu which include Precision, Remove Redundant Points, and Divide & Outline options.
You can lock all objects above with the Object > Lock > Lock all Objects Above
When creating a pattern brush you can create custom corner and endpoints. To do so create custom patterns which you can designate as corners or endpoints.
That's it for this post. Hope you enjoyed and found it useful. Coming soon is a video tutorial of this post and the next set of Adobe Illustrator Mastery One on One Notes for Chapter 7 Symbols. For now check out the blog post that covers Brushes here: Adobe Illustrator One on One Mastery Notes 02
Please check out Deke McClelland's course here: Adobe Illustrator One on One Mastery.