AI - Breaking a mesh into a grid of vector shapes
I've researched for what seems forever, and I cannot find anything explaining how to break a mesh into a (distorted) grid of vector shapes. I don't need to preserve any kind of gradient or coloring; I just, at least, need to keep the shape of the outline of the figure and convert it into a basic shape.
The concept is, I've used a mesh to distort a figure, but I now need to restore it back into a vector shape. If I can at least break the mesh into a grid of vector shapes, I can join them with the 'Pathfinder > Shape Modes > Unite'.
Without seeing the art, it's a bit difficult to give exact direction. However you should be able to do the following:
Select the Mesh.
Object > Path > Offset Path and insert a value of 0.
This will create a new object which matches the outline of the mesh shape exactly.
If you need objects for each internal part of the mesh, John's suggestion to expand may help. Sometimes a combination of expanding and pathfinder can be helpful.
Another possible option is the select the mesh and use
Object > Rasterize. Then use Image Trace to trace the shape.