Some of you die-hard Photoshop users might be wondering why you should care about gradient meshes in Illustrator. After all, can’t you achieve the exact same effects — with less time and eye-straining work — by using a variety of brushes and colors?
(DaisyChain – that answers your question about gradient meshes in Photoshop, if obliquely… there isn’t a “gradient mesh” tool in Photoshop because Photoshop is primarily a bitmap-art program… so any realistic effects can just be painted in using your choice of airbrush and color.)
To answer that question, I think I just need to post a reminder that Illustrator is a vector graphic program. So UNLIKE a realistic drawing painted in Photoshop, a realistic-looking gradient-meshed object in Illustrator can be resized — smaller OR larger — at will! Try to make a Photoshop-painted object larger, and you start losing image quality.
Even if you don’t have the need to make crazy-realistic 4723849 MB Illustrator files, gradient meshes can still help you to make more-realistic vector-based web graphics, icons, etc.
A few links for those of you interested in this topic:
Illustrator inspiration (in particular, click on the “realistic” link in the left column)
A pretty thorough overview of gradient meshes (if you found my last post’s link good but wanted more detail)
The best super-realism step-by-step example I’ve seen out there. Be sure to click on the screenshots to see the detail!