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Interview with Iaroslav Tabachkovsky aka Yemz, Mesh Tormentor Developer

posted by: Iaroslav Lazunov, in Articles / Interview/ Comments: 1

Today our guest is a Ukrainian developer of scripts and plug-ins for Adobe Illustrator. Many of you know his Mesh Tormentor plug-in. Iaroslav challenged the disobedient gradient mesh and was able to tame it. Read about him, his scripts and Mesh Tormentor in this interview after jump.

Interview is illustrated with the works of great vector artist Dion Aoki who use the Mesh Tormentor in their works.

Hi Iaroslav, welcome to the Vectorboom! Tell us a little bit about yourself, what is your basic education?

I was born in Kiev, Ukraine, where I have been living until now. I got my Master’s degree in electronic engineering from Kiev Polytechnic Institute.

Why did you become interested in Adobe Illustrator? How did this happen?

I wanted to learn something new. I knew Adobe Photoshop, a little bit of Corel Draw, but became interested in vector editor with more "user-friendly" interface. While mastering Adobe Illustrator I got captured by its capabilities.

Bob Marley, gradient mesh

Have you ever tried to draw or you just decided to improve the Adobe Illustrator?

I tried drawing, but without much of success, I just did not put specific goals in this area. Sometimes I just copy illustrations. I'm more interested in searching for interesting techniques for solving specific problems, including the use of my own scripts.

Yes, a lot of people know your scripts. What was the most interesting problem for you, and was it then embodied into a script?

I really like the script for aligning the angle of the same objects. You can download and read how this script works in the article How to Rotate Randomly Located Objects at a Certain Angle. I cannot say that it is very useful, because this issue does not occur that often, but I really like the way it effectively does its job.

Charlize Theron, gradient mesh

How is born an idea of making a script? Anybody asks you for that? I really do not know how useful can this or that script/ function be, though I have an extensive experience in Adobe Illustrator. Is it like a brain work out, are you challenging yourself: can I do that?

In most cases, someone asks at an Illustrator forum, which I moderate, how to solve certain issue. If it cannot be implemented using standard means of Adobe Illustrator, then to me, this problem is interesting. If I understand that it can be done with a script – I proceed to writing a script. It turns out to be a challenge for myself, my knowledge and experience.

Perhaps that is why you challenged the most mischievous tool – Mesh Tool (U). How much time did you spent on the development of the Mesh Tormentor plugin?

Almost nothing can be done to the gradient mesh using the scripts, just basic manipulation: copy, zoom, rotate, etc. You cannot access the mesh points and do any manipulation with them, and I wanted it so bad. The only solution was trying to figure out Illustrator SDK that provides a "deeper" access to opportunities of Illustrator. And, apparently, I coped with this task ;-).
I do not remember when I started doing that, but the first record mentioning its earlier version, that almost did not know how to do anything, is dated back to January 21, 2010. Late August, 2010, 0031 version was released, after which the development was stopped, because at that time almost all of the ideas were implemented (just for this version there is an actually present Complete Guide of Mesh Tormentor). But I was not constantly doing the plugin all of these 8 months, I had both prolonged downtime and everyday modifications.

Mila Kunis, gradient mesh

Do you consult designers, working with the Gradient Mesh, on the development of plugin functions?

I am open to any suggestions to improve the plugin, some features have appeared this way. It also happened that I have been asked about the function, which was already being developed.

I find many of the features to be very useful. For example, Sew meshes together, Get the mesh from brush grid, Alignment of nodes, Guides third and so on. What are the practical tasks for such features as Mesh colors shift and Mesh colors rotation?

I do not know :) These functions have been obvious to me among the features of working with color nodes. Hopefully, someone really needs them.

David Bowie, gradient mesh

A lot of designers do not know how to sew a mesh. This is probably because they do not understand the nature of the gradient mesh?

Yes, sometimes it is impossible to sew the meshes without understanding of their nature.
But there are times when even with a proper mesh formation, you still cannot sew the meshes. This happens because of the imperfection of the plugin as well as of Adobe Illustrator. In some cases, plugin cannot correctly identify the location of the corner nodes while transforming path into mesh. The presence of at least one wrong mesh fails the sewing of the entire mesh.
At this point, to avoid this error, the transformed mesh paths should only have 4 anchor points. But sometimes the path, which looks like having 4 points, actually has 5 or more, but some have the same coordinates. Such paths are particularly difficult to be correctly converted into mesh. I will be working on improving this function.

proper and wrong gradient mesh
proper and wrong gradient mesh

Are you working on new features of the plugin?

Currently we are working on the improvement of existing features, and on the new guidelines for the plugin. There are almost no ideas for new features, and I am glad to hear any suggestions from users.

I would like to thank you on behalf of a lot of Adobe Illustrator users for your work on the script and, of course, for the Mesh Tormentor. Plugin development requires huge investment of time and mental energy. How do you relax? What do you do in your spare time?

In fact, the plugin is done for fun and its development is in certain extend a way of relaxation. But there is not always the right mood for it. If I am not in the mood, then I either do nothing, or meet friends, play computer games. In the winter I necessarily go to ski. From myself I want to thank everyone who participated in the development of plugin and its promotion. In particular, thank you, Iaroslav. I am very glad to do the right product.

You can download Mesh Tormentor for Adobe Illustrator CS6 in the article Mesh Tormentor for Illustrator CS6 is Available!, for pervious version of Adobe Illustrator in the article Complete Guide of Mesh Tormentor

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