How to remove a gradient mesh and regain your (good) shape

There’s a high probability that everyone who worked or played with gradient meshes in Illustrator hit this dilemma.

Let’s say you start from this…

And you get to this…

Then at some point you want to go back to the original artwork.

But maybe the initial file was overwritten, maybe you ran out of undos (200, last time I checked) or for any other reason you’re stuck into this situation. So you start trying to release or remove the mesh, you look through all the menus, but there’s nothing that seems to work and give you back the original shape.

This is where the following trick comes into action.

Select the object containing the mesh with the Selection tool and choose Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter 0 in the Offset text box and click OK to exit the dialog box. You’ll see the same mesh, and think that nothing has changed, but select the object and move it aside and you’ll find a thin black outline of the original path underneath.

Like this…

There you have it… magic simply delivered. 🙂

And the best part is this technique it’s working for versions dating back to Illustrator CS2 up to now.


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