Mesh Plug-in (Andrew's Vector Plug-ins Volume 16) Introduction The plugin manipulates pre-created meshes, either colorful gradient meshes or paths/images/symbols modified by an envelope mesh. The set also comes with a selection of royalty-free symbols Andrew
Important note about mesh paths IMPORTANT! *** To use, the path must already contain a mesh grid. The mesh must be created using the native gradient mesh command or using the native mesh tool or created using the envelope warp / mesh. Without a mesh, the mesh plugin will just ignore the path. The plugin manipulates the points (or nodes) as well as the path information relating to each point / node. All the nodes are updated (though in different ways depending on the various settings). The more rows and columns in the mesh, the slower the plugin will be to process all the data.
Installation of mesh plug-in Please place the GX16_Mesh.aip file in the c:\program files\adobe\illustrator CS\plug-ins folder [pc Illustrator 速 CS] or c:\program files\adobe\illustrator 10\plug-ins [pc illustrator 10] or CS2 or CS3 or CS4 For the mac, please place the GX16 Mesh file in HD:Applications:Adobe Illustrator CS:plug-ins [mac Illustrator 速CS] or HD:Applications:Adobe Illustrator 10:plug-ins [mac Illustrator 10] or CS2 or CS3 or CS4 for CS2 mac OS X, please place the entire folder of 'plugin for ..' into the plug-in path, any items removed or renamed and the plug-in will probably be ignored.
Possible installation paths PC PC PC PC PC
CS4 C:\program files\adobe\adobe illustrator CS4\plug-ins\graphicxtras CS3 C:\program files\adobe\adobe illustrator CS3\plug-ins\graphicxtras CS2/12 c:\program files\adobe\adobe illustrator CS2\plug-ins\graphicxtras CS/11 c:\program files\adobe\illustrator CS\plug-ins\graphicxtras 10 c:\program files\adobe\illustrator 10\plug-ins\graphicxtras
OS OS OS OS OS
X X X X X
CS4 HD:applications:adobe illustrator CS4:plug-ins:graphicxtras CS3 HD:applications:adobe illustrator CS3:plug-ins:graphicxtras CS2 HD:applications:adobe illustrator CS2:plug-ins:graphicxtras CS HD:applications:adobe illustrator CS:plug-ins:graphicxtras 10 HD:applications:adobe illustrator 10:plug-ins:graphicxtras
(if the 'graphicxtras' folder does not exist, simply create it in the plug-ins folder or use another folder name if you wish. You
Plug-ins notes can also just place the file in the top level plug-ins folder if you wish but putting it in a sub folder makes it easier to find at a later date)
Alternate plug-in installation location Because of recent improvements in security, you may wish to install the plug-in sets in an alternate location such as an user account and not the default plug-in folder. If you are using a basic level account and one without admin features, you might not be able to save the AIP plug-in files to the usual folder. Set up an alternate or secondary plug-in folder in your user account and then copy the files there.
To specify an alternate plug-in for Illustrator 速 1) Go to the edit > preferences > plug-ins 2) Check the additional plug-ins folder option 3) Specify / browse for your required file in your user account (such as 'third party plug-ins' etc)
Initial use of mesh plug-in Please access via the filters menu of Illustrator 速 via the <AVP Paths> menu (CS3 CS2 CS 10) Please access the plug-in via the object > filters menu (CS4) The plugin is split into 'four' screens, accessed via the buttons along the top of dialog: basic mesh screen for color settings; the points manipulation screen; size (overall) as well as angle and shift; settings screen.
Memory issues with mesh Please note, meshes are memory intensive and sometimes plug-in response can be slow .. depends on the machine as well as the mesh (a 5 x 5 mesh should be ok but a 30 x 30 mesh will be a lot slower)
Needs a mesh The plugin, as mentioned, needs a mesh to work from so please create a mesh beforehand, either a gradient mesh for coloring or an envelope mesh for warping of paths, images, and symbols (use the mesh tool as well via the toolbox)
You can apply the plugin to multiple paths and multiple meshes (though the more meshes, again, the slower the response)
Once you have created the mesh and applied the plugin, you can always reapply the plugin again and again to create extreme point shift meshes.
Printing meshes I would suggest consulting with your printers on the use of the meshes as the use of a mesh (with extreme settings), might slow any printing process or be a memory issue. A way around this, rasterize the mesh (or export to Photoshop 速)
Mesh symbols Meshes can also be converted into a symbol (though sadly not a brush), simply drag to the symbol palette
Applications support macOSX .2 .3 . 4 .5 windows 98 ME NT XP Vista Adobe 速 Illustrator 速10 CS (11) CS2 (12) CS3 CS4
Questions Please contact me on email@example.com
Other plug-ins are available on the site http://www.graphicxtras.com Updates are generally available, either as free updates or inexpensive updates/upgrades. Please store the reference serial number or details of order
Copyright The plugins are copyright of 2005-2008, Abneil Software Ltd (Andrew Buckle). This product was released by Abneil Software ltd (UK based company)
Trademarks Illustrator and Adobe and Photoshop are registered trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated. We have no connection whatsoever with Adobe. Adobe product screen shot(s) reprinted with permission from Adobe Systems Incorporated.
Plugin use - basic screen 'Colors' This is the basic screen for color manipulation of the mesh 'Channels': Set the color channels. If the mesh is a CMYK mesh, the channels are cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. If the mesh is a RGB mesh, the channels are red, green, blue and the last is ignored. If grayscale, then the first channel is used only. If the mesh is a custom color mesh, the first channel modifies the tinting percentage. The color channels settings are added to the existing color setting for the mesh node (by default). Various other apply modes are mentioned below such as randomization, negative, and even ignore the current / original color and just apply the mesh color settings. Some of the color settings such as accumulate work best with the wrap color set to ON but this doesn't need to
Plug-ins notes be the case. The color channels go from -400 to 400. If the end result of the setting is that the color channel is set to greater than that allowed for the color mode (RGB can only be 0 to 255) then the color setting is set to the max or min for that channel (this is where the wrap comes in, wrap will wrap the colors around back past 0 again). If the color channels hit the max or min and the wrap is not set to ON, you will see no further modification to the color (unless randomization is on but the min and max is still in place, just the actual location of the color will be modified)
'Brightness': A factor applied to all the channels to darken or lighten (note: this is also limited by the min and max for the channels and can be modified using the wrap feature in the settings section)
Nodefactor: Instead of applying the color to each node with the same setting, the node factor modifies the setting on a node per node basis. The first field modifies the horizontal nodes, the second field, the vertical.
'Color method to apply': The default is 'horizontal lines'. Visually, the mesh might be a mess of lines and columns and the horizontal line might be far from horizontal. The apply method only refers to the internal structure of the mesh (a grid of lines and columns) and not often to the actual end result, though, hopefully, in most cases it will. The top entry is 'modify' all the nodes (which in most cases, is not very useful, unless you simply want to modify the color of the mesh points and this can be done easier via the adjust color command). Other settings are vertical lines, various grids, various gradients, diagonals, cross, wider lines, random colors, and more. The node information can (if the node setting has been set for the shift settings), also modify the distortion and movement of the points.
'Type of color to apply': By default, the color is applied as is and setting the color for the 'red' channel to 45 will add 45 to the red channel (for each applicable point). Other options are negative, randomization, ignore the original colors, and others. The negative really requires the color channel to be set to 100 (for CMYK) in each, 255 (for RGB) etc. nodes otherwise, you won't see much. Average averages the colors out to create a gray. Random randomizes the colors (either from black or white). Accumulates needs a little more setup, and works best with particular color methods (and depends on the required result). The accumulate also works best with the wrap set to ON. Ignore, does just that, and ignores the original mesh colors.
'Points' screen This screen modifies the points (or nodes) related to the mesh, to create subtle mesh modification or extreme mesh effects 'Jitter': Shifts the point (or related segments, depending on the apply pattern). The shift is right or left (first column) and up or down (second column). Shift is measured in points by default. The shift depends on the shift dropdown (below) and can be either an actual shift of points or just a jitter setting (generally 0 to shift value or anything randomly in between but it can also be randomly in either direction as well). The points are shifted based on the node position such as alternate rows or columns and only move those (leaving the others alone) or node shift based on color (the color setting such as a grid or row etc. setting) and others. If set to 0 0 then basically everything below can be ignored (though some of the apply patterns override this and set the node related points to the bottom of the document or the center of the mesh for zoom effects).
'Jitter / shift to apply': If set to a jitter then randomization is involved (in either direction or a single direction depending on the shift settings) but if set as a 'shift' then no randomization is involved. The jitter can be re-jittered by the shuffle button. There are many settings such as jitter only alternate columns or rows or a combination of these or jitter based on the color or the position and others. The mesh node shift can be extreme or create wow bursts of points. The combination of color shifts and points shifts can be used to create some truly stunning meshes.
'Pattern to apply': By default, the actual node is moved. The other settings allow for the node to remain in the same position and modify the various segments, or smooth, or set the opposite segments in different directions and others (the reason why I have just called them 'pattern 1 2 3' ... ) Different apply patterns can create different shifts of points/mesh to create wavy meshes or crunched meshes and more. Some of the apply modes (12 and 13) set the shift based on setting the segments to the corner of the document or the middle of the path and this can be used to create a zoom effect as well as interesting illustrations.
'Interpolation': A dropdown list of interpolation center points such as the center of the mesh point, random centers, bottom of the mesh, right side of the mesh, etc
'Interpolation percentage': If set to 100, then the interpolation is ignored. If 50% then the mesh point is re-positioned half way between the calculated point and the interpolation center. Use it to create unusual pattern designs as well as zooms and other designs
Nodefactor: The first screen modifies the color, the node factors on the second panel modify the shift / jitter. If the shift and jitter settings are zero, then nothing will change and the node factor is ignored. The first field modifies the horizontal shift and the second, the vertical node shift. If the first field is set to 120 and the shift is set to 10, then first node horizontal is shifted the 10pts, the second node 10pts * 1.2, the third node 10pts x 1.2 * 1.2 and so on. The one difference with the node factor for the shift / jitter is that the factor is applied to the jitter in the up and across components. If the up component is zero then the node factor is ignored for the up, but the factor will still be applied to the across (if not zero)
'Size' screen More a transformation screen and features size / angle / and shift (referring to the entire mesh) 'Scale': Scales the mesh, creating thinner or wider meshes.
'Angle': This is an odd one. Sometimes (and this depends on the mesh), the mesh is rotated and the path itself remains as is. Sometimes the path rotates, and the mesh stays the same relative to the path. Not sure at this stage, why. Anyway, can be useful for some interesting mesh effects. Good with multiple meshes (as well as randomization of the angle) MoveMesh: Moves the entire paths from the default start position. Not so useful if the randomization is set off or there is just one mesh
'Xtra' screen / panel Additional settings Isolate: Instead of applying the current settings to all the nodes, just apply to a particular node. If set to -1 -1 then all the nodes are modified according to the current settings. If the first field is set to a value greater than -1 (say 2 or 3) and other field is left to -1, an entire column is modified; if the second field is altered and the first field is left at -1, an entire row is altered. If both fields are set to a particular node, only that node is altered. Some of the settings will not work well with this as they rely on the other nodes being modified but most of the dropdowns should be fine.
Plug-ins notes The isolate feature works on the shift/jitter as well as color of the node.
'Settings' screen Various checkbox settings relating to the mesh color or path. 'Wrap[R]': The mesh color can only be a valid color, the plugin doesn't perform magic and create unique colors. If the internal calculation for the color is set to say 200 and CMYK is limited to 100 (and 0 for the minimum) then the plugin will fail if it sets the mesh to 200, so it sets it to the maximum value of 100. You might not want this, you might want the color to wrap back to a valid value, setting the wrap checkbox to ON wraps the color.
Some of the dropdown options like accumulate definitely need this as the color can rapidly reach into the 1000s and totally out of range
'Colors[R]': Randomizes the color between 0 and the current color setting. Creates patchy color overlays on top of the dominant pattern
'Opacity[R]': Randomizes the opacity between 0 and 100% (the entire mesh, not mesh points) 'Blend[R]': Randomizes the blend mode, setting the blend to difference or multiply. More useful if the mesh is actually overlapping another path or mesh. Using blend modes and multiple meshes can be a useful way of creating some truly extreme mesh effects. Copy a mesh, creating three meshes and totally overlap them. Set the blend mode (or the randomization blend mode) in the transparency palette to difference or lighten and then apply the mesh plugin with random color or random shifts to create wonderful combinations of color ''Apply Color [R]': Randomly applies the color setting or not. There are two checkboxes for random based on the column/row and random based on all the points. Depends on the colors set and the color modes in place, a wide variety of different randomized mesh patterns can be created
ColorCombo [R]: Randomizes the selection of the color combo
'Angle[R]': Randomizes the angle setting. If set to 0, nothing will happen. The randomization of the angle of the mesh is 0 to the current value, so for full randomization, set the angle to 360. This is an odd one, in some cases, the mesh points are rotated and others, the path is rotated: yet, to work that one out. Still, can be useful for some interesting illustration effects 'Scale [R]': Random scales the meshes. This creates thin or wider meshes. Works best with multiple meshes. Works from 0 to the current value. 'Shift[R]': Shifts the mesh randomly (based on 0 to the current setting of moveMesh) ''Apply Jitter [R]': Randomly applies the jitter setting or not. Needs a jitter setting to be in place. If no jitter, this is just ignored. Does depend on the jitter dropdown options selected as well, some work better than others There are two checkboxes for random based on the column/rows and random based on all the points
Even if you ignore the jitter, the interpolation is also modified by the apply / randomization and this can be used to create some truly wow designs as well.
Plug-ins notes Jitter combo [R]: Randomizes the jitter combo to be used (many different combinations). Does rely on the jitter / shift having an actual value. Swap Nodes: Swaps the application of the nodes settings (horizontal settings change to vertical and vica versa)
View / zoom (this appears on all panels): Modifies the view / zoom of Illustrator. By default this is set to 100% but until changed, it will have no actual effect on the zoom level (so the actual zoom could be 200%.. click on the view and the zoom level view will be set to the modified value)
Shuffle button / randomization The shuffle button is useful only if there is randomization involved (jitter has been set or the color mode is set to random or the random settings have been set)
Presets The plug-in also comes with a selection of presets such as 'reset' and others, simply select and the settings will be set as required. Some of the settings do require a certain configuration of points or colors, so the description might not match the end result. In some cases, a minor tweak such as changing the dropdown from horizontal to vertical will modify the preset.
Plug-ins notes Randomizes the settings of many of the fields (not all), a great way to tryout 100s of different mesh settings and seeing the full capabilities of the plug-in. The tumble button can set the mesh to extremes and some mesh settings can really grind the system resource and slow response down. Before using the tumble button, I would always recommend saving your work. The tumble button only randomizes between the ranges of the plug-in fields but some combinations such as interpolation mixed with extreme jitter can create truly unusual mesh designs (especially slow with a mesh warp on say an image)
Drag buttons Some of the fields have a button beside them (not all). Click this and hold the shift down and drag across the document to modify the color and jitter and interpolation. Release the shift (for better control in randomized actions) to stop the interactive modification of settings.
Warping As mentioned, the mesh plugin can also be used on an envelope mesh. The various color aspects have no meaning (unless the shift etc is worked out on the basis of the internal color calculations). The envelope mesh / mesh plugin can be used to create truly extreme mesh distortions of paths / symbols / images
Example 1 Mesh interpolation value: 50 / applyjitter2: ON
Example 2 Depends on color mode (if RGB etc) and color of original mesh c1: 100 c2: 100 c3: 100 (colors dialog) and color dropdown set to 'Not on boundary'
Example 3 Depends on color mode. Color dropdown set to 'Grid' and c1: 100 c2: 100 c3: 100 and colors [R] set to ON
Example 4 Set the color dropdown to 'Vertical lines' and the type to 'Ignore'. This means the original color settings of the mesh are ignored and the value comes purely from the color dropdown and color settings. c1: 123 c2: 123 C3: 123
Example 5 Set the jitter h: 30 jitter v: 30 and jitter dropdown to 'shift grid' (this means the jitter is ignored and it is a pure shift of mesh nodes) and pattern to 'pattern 8'