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Free Illustrator plugin - Mesh Tormentor for work with Gradient Meshes

posted by: Iaroslav Lazunov, in Freebies / Free Plug-ins/ Comments: 49

All those who have tried to work with Gradient Mesh know how hard it can be to learn this technique. A lot of people quit after having failed to get acceptable results. Anyway, it is a very hard work and advice will not work here. Only practice, personal strategy, and many, many hours of manual work will lead to success. I've always regretted that there are no tools in Adobe Illustrator that can automate and streamline manual operations. Now it is not like that! YemZ, talented designer from my country, has developed Mesh Tormentor plugin, which will surprise you with its functions. What a creation are the Art Brushes of Mesh objects. Let's see what it does and where it can be used when applied.

You can download the plugin by free clicking the Download button on this page.

Plugin installation is done by copying a YemZMeshTormentor.aip file into directory \ Plug-ins \ Extensions \, located as installed by Adobe Illustrator (for example C: \ Program Files \ Adobe \ Adobe Illustrator CS2 \ Plug-ins \ Extensions \). In this case, Adobe Illustrator itself should not be running.

In this short review I will introduce you to the features of this plugin which, in my opinion, has the greatest practical value.


Convert knots into vertexes

This command converts hidden knots on the mesh lines into visible ones that can be edited. When you create a gradient mesh for the figures that have a complex shape, grid lines often comes out to be broken, complex, very difficult or impossible to control. Take a look at it on the example with the star.

This happens because these lines have hidden knots on them that we cannot edit. Click on "convert knots into vertexes” button, now these knots are visible and manageable.

If you hold down the Ctrl button and press the same button from the Mesh Tormentor palette, then all hidden nodes will be removed.

If you hold down the Alt key and execute this command, then all hidden knots will be removed with adjustment of the guides in order to bring a new line to the view that it had with hidden knots.

You have to be careful when using the latter command because it can lead to the change of the outline of the object.


Smooth mesh knots

This command converts corner mesh knots into smooth ones. The command can be applied to a single node or to all the nodes of the gradient mesh.


Sew meshes together

This command allows you to combine two or more mesh objects into one. It is possible to set different types of combing, using hot Ctrl and Alt keys on the keyboard.

Selection of knots on the connection sides is used for mandatory specification of side connection.


Cut mesh into two pieces

This command cuts into two objects down the line that passes through the selected side knot.


Create a mesh from one cell based on the path.

With this command you can create a gradient mesh previously, without using the Gradient Mesh Tool (U). Let's take a look at it when it is applied. Suppose we have an elliptically shaped object on which a gradient mesh of a given shape will be created. Create grid lines using the Pen Tool (P).

Select all the created objects and click on the Divide button from the Pathfinder palette.

Keeping it selected, click on the "Create mesh from one cell based on the path” button from the Mesh Tormentor palette.

As you can see, all the cells, except for two, turned into mesh objects. The fact is that mesh object can have at least 4 knots. Those objects that have not turned into a mesh have three nodes. This is not a problem, take the Pen Tool (P) and add each anchor point to both paths of these objects.

Now they can be converted into mesh objects.

Now you only have to combine all the mesh objects into a single one.

Now you can create any kind of mesh you want!


Create a gradient mesh for the brush.

Now you can create brushes from mesh objects, let's look how it's done. Create any mesh object.

Now execute the command "create a gradient mesh for a brush” by clicking the appropriate button in the Mesh Tormentor palette.

Gradient mesh turned into a group of simple vector objects that can now be moved to the Brushes palette and saved such as the Art Brush.

Now create a curve line using the Pen Tool (P) and apply the created brush to it.

Keep it selected, go to Object> Expand Appearance.

Now perform a single reverse operation, we will obtain a mesh from brush.

That’s a miracle! Imagine how much time you save, and what you can create.


Handles 1/3

Some gradient meshes created by beginners look terrible. Abrupt transitions between colors, artifacts. Why does it happen? Because the grid lines intersect with each other and form knots. It is also not desirable when knot handles intersect with mesh lines. So, the "handles 1 / 3" command will help you to untangle these knots. This command makes the handles of the selected knots decrease and become equal to 1 / 3 of the length between adjacent knots. The figure below shows a grid containing tangled grid lines what usually happens when you try to combine mesh knots.

Now apply the "handles 1 / 3" command

What more could a mesh master desire?


Handles 0

This command is similar to the previous one, the only thing is that the length of the handles after it is applied becomes equal to zero.


The horizontal alignment of the grid knots

It aligns the selected knots horizontally. Alignment can be performed in the center, on the right or left side.


The vertical alignment of knots

Align the selected knots of the vertical line. Alignment can be performed in the center, on the top or bottom edge. Combining horizontal and vertical alignment, you can collect the selected knots into a single point.

It is often needed in practice.

This is not a complete functionality of this wonderful plugin. Here is a list of what else it can do, what I did not mention in this review::

  • Show axes and / or angular mesh node.
  • Move corner node;
  • Mesh colors shift;
  • Mesh colors reflection;
  • Mesh colors rotation;
  • Color cloning on another mesh;
  • Converting mesh into a set of paths;

Complete Guide

You can download the plugin by clicking the Download button on this page.

Plugin installation is done by copying a YemZMeshTormentor.aip file into directory \ Plug-ins \ Extensions \, located as installed by Adobe Illustrator (for example C: \ Program Files \ Adobe \ Adobe Illustrator CS2 \ Plug-ins \ Extensions \). In this case, Adobe Illustrator itself should not be running.

Take a look at the plugin presentation slides created by the author

Video of the work of all the Mesh Tormentor tools

You can download the plugin by free clicking the Download button on this page.

You can read about work with Mesh Tormentor if you use the following links:

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Total comments: 48 1 2 »
1 Raju Mishra   (2011 May 26 06:33)
Thanks To show me,
I am really this type post to me.
Please be continue to send me like this post.
It is very helpful.

^_^Raju mishra

2 johnnyinternets   (2011 May 27 06:19)
Create a mesh from one cell based on the path...... This alone is worth the download. Fantastic plug-in!

3 kevin   (2011 May 27 21:53)
Need a version in english. I can't read the description for each button

5 jaroslav   (2011 May 31 04:04)
I've replaced the version of the plugin. It is available in English now.

4 YemZ   (2011 May 30 18:28)
Iaroslav, great article.
By the way, I made an English version of the plugin.
I will be glad to hear comments about the translation. Because actually I do not know this language smile

6 kevin   (2011 Jun 08 12:29)
Thanks for the English version.

7 Claude37   (2011 Jun 15 07:07)
Congratulations Iaroslav ! smile
Are you working on a Mac OS X version ? I hope so… wink

8 mario   (2011 Jun 16 21:58)
Thanks for the mac version, It was made because I asked for it?

9 mario   (2011 Jun 16 21:59)
By the way, do you have any other plugins? need Ideas?

10 jaroslav   (2011 Jun 16 22:11)
What would you like to see?

11 GD   (2011 Sep 13 15:14)
You are my absolute savior!!! I have searched and searched for something like this. Maybe one day Adobe will make the grad mesh tool this versatile. Thanks!

12 frtr   (2011 Sep 15 17:23)
It is loaded in CS5 successfully, but no buttons show in the pallette!
Does any one have the same problem??
Anyone can give suggestions is appreciated

13 jaroslav   (2011 Sep 16 00:55)
What operating system do you use?

14 NarutoKun   (2011 Oct 31 03:50)
You are a god sent.
Been looking for a plugin that can make my life my easier. biggrin

15 jaroslav   (2011 Oct 31 03:54)
Vector God is my friend biggrin

16 cdub   (2012 Mar 01 10:45)
Has anyone else gotten ID -54 error when opening? The file is locked or in use. I am using CS5 and MAC 10.7.3. Thank you so very much! Can't wait to use it.

17 jaroslav   (2012 Mar 01 10:58)
I'll contact with a developer and let you know asap. Thanks for your comment.

18 campos360   (2012 Mar 30 00:25)
I have the same issue. Illustrator says the file is in use or locked and I get ID - 54 error.

19 jaroslav   (2012 Mar 30 01:12)
You shouldn't open YemZMeshTormentor.aip file.
Plugin installation is done by copying a YemZMeshTormentor.aip file into directory \ Plug-ins \ Extensions \, located as installed by Adobe Illustrator (for example C: \ Program Files \ Adobe \ Adobe Illustrator CS2 \ Plug-ins \ Extensions \). In this case, Adobe Illustrator itself should not be running.

Then you can see "Mesh Tormentor" in the Window menu of Adobe Illustrator

20 yudaitsukajin   (2012 Apr 16 23:19)
thank for vector biggrin

21 jaroslav   (2012 Apr 16 23:35)
You are welcome!

22 billy   (2012 Apr 23 10:21)
Are you working on a 64bit plugin for Illy cs6?

23 jaroslav   (2012 Apr 23 11:24)
Of course, but after the launch of the new release.

24 billy   (2012 Apr 23 15:10)
Thank you and great work btw.

25 pluto   (2012 Jul 01 17:53)
This is a great plugin! Thanks a lot! smile

But when I try to use the technique "Create a mesh from one cell based on the path" in certain objects, for example, a somewhat more complex blob when I try to put all the meshes into one it simply don't do anything... It seems that stops working with more complex forms.

26 jaroslav   (2012 Jul 02 00:55)
You should understand that base of any gradient mesh is rectangle.

27 TheQuietArtist   (2012 Sep 01 07:03)
I installed YemZMeshTormentor.aip file, and it worked. Not sure what to do with YemZMeshTormentorEng.aip file, lol.

28 jaroslav   (2012 Sep 01 07:08)
YemZMeshTormentorEng.aip is the same plug-in, but it has English interface.

29 TheQuietArtist   (2012 Sep 01 07:45)
Thank you, I just found out now, lol. No problem, exchanging the file for the english version! biggrin

30 TheQuietArtist   (2012 Sep 01 11:42)
I have a question. I was following the instructions at the beginning of "Sew Meshes Part 3" - but when I click CTRL - SHIFT - G and then click "SEW" icon in Mesh Tormentor panel, it does not become solid - the pieces are still separate. Maybe it is because I downloaded the mesh tormentor plugin version 0.35.1 Beta? wacko

31 jaroslav   (2012 Sep 01 11:48)
I don't think so. You should show me your basic shapes (I mean gradient meshes, of course).

32 TheQuietArtist   (2012 Sep 01 15:46)
Should I email my images to you? To show you where I went wrong with mesh tormentor.

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