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Gradient 1
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5.1 Add a Mesh Background

Use the Gradient Mesh Tool and create a backdrop for the cake with shadows.

5.1 Add a Mesh Background

Hello again. I am Simona and welcome back to the course Advanced Gradient Mesh in Adobe Illustrator here on tuts+. We're about to start the lesson Add Mesh Background. Now since we've created everything for our cake icon, let's add a mesh background as well. So right away, let's open up Adobe Illustrator. Here's everything we've created so far. You can see our fruits, the leaves, blueberries, the glaze, the cake, cream and filling. Now without further notice, let's just create a background as well. This will be really simple. And of course, you can create any kind of background. Gradients, shadows, whatever you like to add. But I thought it would be really cool to use again, a mesh object. So first let's create a rectangle. So here I have a rectangle. Since we're going to create an icon for the web. I'll try to keep it pretty square. So i'm not going to fill the whole background. Just this approximate size. As you can see here, in my layers, I've created a background layer, underneath everything. Now you see I have a color already picked for my background, for the fill. And when you open up the swatches, I've created a group with colors that I have picked from our icon, and just changed the opacity a little bit, or made them stronger or lighter in color. Of course feel free to pick any color of your liking. What we want to create for our background here, is a slight shadow underneath our cake. So we need to create some mesh points. And since you already have a color, let's change the color. But make sure that you do not have anything selected. So I picked this dark brown here. Then I'm going to choose the mesh tool. And then I'm going to pick approximately in the middle of our cake bottom here, and I click on the background. So now I've created one gigantic, brown spot. Of course this doesn't look very good. So let's again add more mesh points. But this time, we're going to choose our regular color again from our shape. If you don't know which one that was, you can simply click one of the endpoints here and the field gets selected. So after that, again with the mesh tool, we're going to add another mesh point. So maybe one up here. And as you can see, we're already getting a lighter color again. One down here. Another one here. And then one more. Now let me zoom in. I think we might have to create one in the background here as well. Approximately here, and I add it. And as you can see now, if I deselect and zoom out, it looks like we have a shadow now. But of course this shadow doesn't really work with our cake icon. Our cake icon looks like it's floating now. So we have to adjust some of the points. But let's study the shape first before we change any of the handles and see if you need to add more mesh points. In order to round it off, you need to add some mesh points on the side of our cake. So again just to make sure I have the right color, I click one of the endpoints. After that I'll choose the mesh tool. And then I'm going to add a mesh here on the left side, and then another one on the other side. Now you can see that we're already controlling the fall off of our shadow much better. Now let's tweak it a little bit. Since we have the darkest point here, I think we need to move those points on the left and the right upwards. So all I'm going to do is I'm going to pull it up. Then I'm grabbing the handle. And I'm trying to make the line follow along of our cake. As you can see now, I'm trying to control the shadow here on the right side. Again I want to do the same on the other side. So I pull it up. I'll grab the handle. And I'm trying to align it along with my cake object. Now since I don't want the color to be spread on the left and right so much, I'm just going to select this point here. I'm using the eyedropper tool and I'm sampling my background color from up here. The same I'm going to do on the other side. Now you can see that the shadow just falls on the body. Of course now we lost too much. So let's grab one of those points, and pull it out a little bit more. And you can see that the color of our shadow is getting pushed to the outside. So let's repeat this on the other side as well. And again we can play with the handles. And this is how we can add a shadow on the bottom of our cake. On second thought I think, I want this point to be dark as well. So if I selected and added, of course this is way too much now. So we want to control this a little bit better as well. So I'll select the point, I'll pull it up. So he gets closer to our cake. And then I will grab those points as well and trying to pull them outwards. Grab the handles and move this up a little bit more and a little bit closer. Of course the same I'm going to do on the other side. And I'm trying to mirror it. And sometimes I just have to tweak it a little bit. But this time, I actually want to move this point as well. There's too much shadow now, so I'm going to move it up. And as you can see, nothing is really happening because I have to actually focus on this point here. So let me zoom in. We need to see what the handles are doing. And if I select one of the handles here, you can see if you can pull them closer to our point, the fall off is going to get shorter. And of course I want to do this with this point as well. So if I zoom out now, I can see that my shadow is a little bit closer to our cake. But I still want to have it a tad closer. So I'm moving it closer. And as you can see now we're getting a much better shadow. The cake still looks like a little bit is floating. But we can fix this easily. We just have to play with the points and with the handles. And then we can morph it into place. Always play with the handles. You can really make the color spread really nicely. The same way I'm going to do here. I'm pulling it up a little bit. Maybe actually I have to select the bottom point here again. And pull the handle a little bit back. Now while we're at it, let's add some highlights. I think this point here should be really light. Like as if we had light behind. Then we select the other two. And add a light highlight as well. Maybe we want to pull it outwards a little bit, make it a little bit more dynamic looking. And maybe we want to grab the handles here, and play with those as well. Now if I zoom out, I think we're on a good way here. Now one more thing I would like to add for the bottom here. Let's add another mesh point so to speak and let's select those points and let's give them a darker gray. And after that I want to actually tweak them a little bit. I want to pull this one higher, I want to grab the handles here. And I want to make it look like as if it was actual cloth. So if I pull this one up and move it around a little bit. I will play with the handles here and I want to make like a wavy line. I want to make it look like as if it was actual cloth and this is what I'm talking about. You could add more. You could add some highlights. You could add more of a wavy point here, so it looks like it's actually some cloth. This is really up to you. But I just wanted to show you a quick way, how you can create a background with gradient mesh objects. And this is it for this lesson. Now let's head right over to the next lesson, which will be the last. And let's tweak some things. And maybe add an opacity mask for our fruits.

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