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How to Create a Radial Mesh in Illustrator and Make a Vector CD

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Ever wonder about creating Radial Mesh in Illustrator? Yes, now you can and it will reveal more possibilities to you in Illustrator. In the first part of this tutorial you'll learn how to create a Radial Mesh in Illustrator (without using any 3rd party plugin), and in second part we'll create a Vector CD using that radial mesh method. So let’s do it!

Final Image Preview

Below is the final image we will be working towards. Want access to the full Vector Source files and downloadable copies of every tutorial, including this one? Join Vector Plus for just 9$ a month.

Step 1

Make a circle in Illustrator using the Ellipse Tool, then fill that circle with simple radial gradient.

Step 2

Now keep this circle selected and click on top menu Object > Expand.

Step 3

You will see the Expand Dialogue Box, just Select Fill and Gradient Mesh and then click OK.

Step 4

Now your circle should look like this. There is a Clipping mask on it, which we have to remove.

Step 5

Keeping your Circle selected, from the top menu click Object > Clipping Mask > Release (Command + Alt + 7) to release the clipping mask.

Step 6

Now right-click on your circle and click Ungroup (Command + Shift + G) to ungroup.

Step 7

Now deselect your circle by clicking anywhere on the artboard (white area). Now again select your circle and move it a bit away from its initial position. You will see another path which was actually the path for the clipping mask, just select this path and delete it as we don't need this.

Step 8

Here you go! You have to make the radial, polar mesh in Illustrator. You can create it by adding some mesh points with the help of the Mesh Tool.

This concludes the first part of this tutorial, in which you learned the basic method of making a radial mesh. You can use this radial mesh to create many radial things like a CD, or if you put some more effort in you can create Alloy Rims for a Wheel too. For now I'm showing you how to create a CD out of this radial mesh.

Step 9

Now for making it a CD, select it with Selection Tool (black arrow) and fill it with a gray color.

Step 10

With the help of the Mesh Tool, put 4 mesh points as shown. These point should be exactly in the middle of previous points otherwise direction lines would be little bit twisted and then it will take time to straighten them.

Step 11

With the help of Mesh Tool, put some more mesh points as shown below. These points might not be straight as shown in the image, You have to straighten them with the help of the Mesh Tool. Using the Mesh Tool, click on direction lines and slightly twist them to make them straight.

Step 12

With the help of the Direct Selection Tool (white arrow) select points as shown below.

Step 13

Now press the Shift Key and select lower points as shown (the Shift key helps you to select multiple points at once).

Step 14

As you have four points selected, put a light blue color with the help of the Color Sliders (please don't select some dark colors, as it will not look good).

Step 15

Now select eight points symmetrically and add a light purple color.

Step 16

I put more colors following the same procedure as above; the result will be something like that shown below.

Step 17

Now make a copy of this circle. Just select it with the Selection Tool and drag it while pressing the Alt Key.

Step 18

Now make a circle of exactly the same size and fill it with a dark gray color.

Step 19

From the Transparency palette change the mode to Multiply for that dark gray circle.

Step 20

Now select the first mesh circle and dark gray circle and align them to center (both horizontally and vertically) and Group them by pressing Command + G.

Step 21

Now rotate this group by 90 degrees and scale it a little.

Step 22

Now select this group along with that copy which we took in Step 17, while keeping that copy on the top. You can arrange it and bring it to front.

Step 23

Align them Center horizontally and vertically.

Step 24

Now draw another Circle but small in size, then make a copy of it and resize that copy as shown below.

Step 25

Now select both of these small circles and align them center. Press Command + 8 (Object > Compound Path > Make), to make a Compound path of these two small circles.

Step 26

Now make one more compound path as we made in steps 24 and 25, but this time we need a thin ring. Then make a small circle.

Step 27

Align all of these center (the two rings and small circle), then finally group them by pressing Command + G.

Step 28

Now select all and align them to center.

Step 29

Now make two circles. One should be about the size of our CD and other small one should be about the size of the hole in the CD. Select both of these circles and align them to center.

Step 30

Now press Command + 8 to make it a compound path. We will use it as a clipping mask for our CD.

Step 31

Select all and align everything to Center. Press Command + 7 (Object > Clipping Mask > Make) to make a Clipping Mask.

Step 32

There you go. Our CD is Completed!


Now put some Drop Shadow by going to Effects > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Also, write some text and make a simple background. And our image is complete. Have fun applying radial meshes to other objects!

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