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In Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final part of the comprehensive Illustrator One-on-One series, author and industry expert Deke McClelland shows how to take advantage of the wide array of dynamic effects in Illustrator CS5. Deke explores Illustrator’s powerful Gradient Mesh feature, great for creating photorealistic airbrushing effects. He also covers graphic styles, the liquify tools, envelope-style distortions, the new Bristle Brushes, 3D text, and perspective drawing. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this exercise, we're going to introduce some text into our perspective scene. I have saved my progress as Ready for text.ai and it's found inside the 28_perspective folder. Now you can't create text in perspective, so that Type tool is not one of the perspective savvy tools in the program. However, after having created some text, you can drag it into the scene, just as you can drag a standard path outlined into a scene. And I will do that by the way by grabbing my Perspective Selection tool, which you can get by pressing Shift+V of course, and then make sure that your left-hand pane is selected here inside the widget, should appear blue.
Then go ahead and click on the text to select it, and I must have my selection edges still hidden. So I will press Ctrl+H, Command+H on a Mac to bring it back, and just go ahead and drag that text into the scene, like so. Now, it's going to look pretty scrawny at first, as you can see here and that's because it's getting a little bit lost in the shuffle. Also, we have all these anchor points over the place, which may lead you to believe and I would not blame you, that Illustrator has automatically without your permission converted the text to path outlines, and it's no longer editable text.
That's actually not the case, I don't know why Illustrator does this, I don't know why it freaks you out like this, but it does choose to, so fair enough. I am going to go ahead and nudge that text over a little bit, and tell you what, here is how we are going to edit the text, because it needs to be bigger I think and it needs to be meatier and we need to tighten the leading. Just go ahead and double-click on that text, in order to enter yet another isolation mode, and notice that your text appears selected and what's interesting here is your text still appears in perspective. So, unlike when you're editing a symbol, and you have no idea what you're doing and you are working totally blind, when you're modifying text in the isolation mode, you actually have a sense of what you're doing.
Isn't that awesome? It's like we're living in a 21st century or something. Anyway, I am going to bring up my Character panel, which I can get to by pressing Ctrl+C, Comamand+C on the Mac, I am working in Myriad Pro right now. I'm going to switch to Bold Condensed in order to get this effect here, and I am going to increase the Type size value to let's say 47. I could play around with the values if I wanted to, but I just happen to know 47 works. Now you may not believe me, because it doesn't seem to work very well out there in the Illustration window, but that's because our leading is way too big.
So I am going to take the Leading value down from Auto to 38, so that we are packing our text closer together, and then I will go ahead and hide the Character panel and press the Escape key a couple of times in order to leave the isolation mode. Now I've got to nudge my text over to the left, however, I just press the Left Arrow key a couple of times and I get this very disturbing warning. It says, the perspective object will be expanded in order to perform this operation. I'm so glad this alert message finally came up, because it's a zinger.
If you're trying to move scale or copy a perspective object, which I am, I am trying to nudge it actually. Please use the Perspective Selection tool if you would. Now what's happening here is, I without thinking, I don't know when I did this, but I switched to the Black Arrow tool. How did that happen? I don't know. I think Illustrator did it for me, because last I knew, I had the Perspective Selection tool active, but what it means is you're actually nudging the text out of the perspective grid. You're not really expanding it so this is not a traditional use of that term for Illustrator.
Expanding means that you're converting it to path outlines or possibly that you're removing it from the grid entirely which would make you think that you're restoring just flat text, but that's not what's happening at all. All you're doing is just nudging it out of perspective. Now what would be really super useful inside of this alert message here is a Cancel button, so that you could say, I didn't mean to do that, but instead, it's just okay. Thank you for letting me mess up my document. Now I'll go up to the Edit menu and choose Undo Move to put that text back and I press the Arrow key twice, so I just want to make sure I didn't goof up too much, and now it's just Undo.
So I think that's fine. That means that I would undo something that's not a move. So I'll just go ahead and escape out of there. Now I'll go ahead and grab my Perspective Selection tool, Shift+V of course, and now I'll try pressing the Left Arrow key and this time I don't get in trouble, and I also get some good results. So I nudged the text up a little bit as well, as you saw me do there. All right! You know what we need? We need a drop shadow. So I'm going to press Ctrl+H, Command+H on a Mac to hide the selection edges for a moment, and then I'll go up to the Effect menu and I could just choose the Drop Shadow command, because that's the last effect I applied, or I can mash my fist and press the E key in order to bring up the Drop Shadow dialog box.
In this time around, I want to go ahead and apply an X Offset value of 2 and a Y Offset value of 1 and a Blur of 2, Color should be black, Opacity 100%, mode is Multiply, you can go your own way of course, but this is what I came up with. Turn on the Preview check box, it looks like that. That's awesome! Click OK. So we now have text in perspective, and I can drag it all over the place and it remains in perspective, which I think is cool. You know I have to tell you, that this perspective drawing function inside of Illustrator is once cool and horrible, sometimes it's just rocking away and doing exactly what you want it to do and other times it's making you cry.
So just, you know be prepared for that experience. So there's my final effect. I am really taken in, I am going to go ahead and hide that Perspective Grid by clicking very precisely in that close box inside the widget, and then switching back to my Black Arrow tool and there you have it. In a next exercise, I will show you one of the strangest tricks in all of perspective drawing, and this one allows you to move an object in a perpendicular direction by pressing the 5 key.
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