Does anyone know if it is possible to remove a gradient mesh from an object in Illustrator without producing a distorted/inaccurate outline? Adobe documentation as well as most online resources I found only suggest using
Object > Path > Offset Path... (with offset set to
0px), however I find that for any object I try this on, the resulting outline does not precisely align with the object I start with.
There's no way to "undo" a mesh once you've moved past the undo limit or don't want to "undo" other changes you've made since creating a mesh.
As a standard practice, what I do is select the original object, copy, paste in front, then create the mesh on the front object. Refine the mesh and then group it with the back object. This way there is always the original path behind the mesh object.
I'm not certain why Object > Path > Offset Path with a value on 0 is not working for you. Both Const and I have asked to see a sample image. The only thing I can think of is that you want the exact original path back with the exact same anchors in the exact same positions. That's not possible.
Mesh edges are indeed vector shapes. I think you may be experiencing something entirely different, but without more explanation of your workflow anything would merely be a guess.