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Covering a wide range of topics, from advanced masking to chart creation, Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics reveals a whole new level of power, creativity, and efficiency with Illustrator. Instructor Mordy Golding explores how to work with Live Paint groups, get the most out of the Live Trace feature, and take advantage of Illustrator’s wide range of effects. He also discusses advanced transformation techniques, powerful 3D functionality, and important color concepts. Exercise files accompany the course.
Illustrator supports three different types of 3D effects. If I select an object and I go to the Effect menu, I'll see underneath 3D there at list Extrude & Bevel, Revolve and Rotate. In this movie, we are going to explore the Extrude & Bevel option. Now Illustrator itself is a 2D program. So what I'm seeing right now on my artboard is a two-dimensional object, two dimensions meaning it has an X and a Y value, which if you think about it on the terms of an object itself, you can think of them as width and height. Working with Extrude gives you a third option or what we call now the third dimension, and that's the depth of an object. That's also referred to as the Z axis.
So you would have X, Y and Z. So the Extrude object right here, it takes this regular plain flat object and extends it back into space giving it some depth. Notice that right over here it says Extrude Depth, which is set to 50 points. So I click on the Preview button so we can actually see that. Notice that now the object has not just a front basically, but it also has some depth to it as well. Now we are also not looking at this object head-on, because if we were, we wouldn't be able to see the actual depth of the object, we would just see the front face of it. So what Illustrator has done here is it's actually rotated the object just a little bit. That's what we refer to as Off-Axis Front and in fact, this cube that appears right here is representative of the way that this object appears on the screen.
Now we can control the depth of that extrusion how far back into space it actually goes, by changing this value right here. For example, if I type in 200 points right over here, I notice that my object has a far larger depth than it did before. A little keyboard shortcut, if you hold down the Shift key while you click on this little slider that appears right over here, you will actually see that depth changing in real time. In fact, just about any of the settings inside of the 3D dialog box are applied in real time if you hold down the Shift key at the same time. For now, just to explore these options, I'm actually just going to set this Extrude Depth to about 100 point. So again, we are looking at this object right now, this object is living now in this 3D world and that's because we have the 3D Extrude & Bevel Options dialog box open and I'm looking at it Off-Axis Front.
So again, in Illustrator it's important to realize that I don't have like a camera that's looking at the object what I might have in other 3D applications. Instead, the object itself is now living in that 3D space. So think of that right now as that badge that exists in my artboard right now is kind of just rotated just a little bit so I can see some of the depth. But you notice that there is a Position popup over here where it says Off-Axis Front and I can actually change that to some other options. For example, let's look at it straight from the front. Now as I said before, since I'm looking straight at it right now, I don't see any of the depth. And again, this square or this cube that appears right here is giving me a representation of that. So let's change the position to something else. For example, let's look at Off-Axis Left. So now I'm looking at the left side of the object which is a little bit off axis so that I also see the 3D dimensions of the object.
There are also some Isometric settings down here on the bottom as well. But let me go back over here to the Off-Axis Front because I want to talk more about what this cube represents right over here. Now imagine this object really existed and you are able to basically hold it in your hand and you are able to kind of rotate it or look at it from all different sides. Well, this cube allows you to do just that with the object. In fact, we refer to this as the track cube, it's really supposed to be a trackball, but it turns out that with a sphere, it's very difficult to identify the front or backsides of an object. So a cube metaphor works much better right here.
What I can do is I can simply click on the cube, click anywhere on it, let's say over here on this particular face right here and then drag. As I do so, I actually see that I'm changing the way that I look at that object on the artboard. So again, if I can imagine myself holding that piece of art in my hand right now and rotating it around in my hand, I'm doing the same thing by moving this track cube around. Now you will notice that I can easily identify the front face of the object by over here at this blue area. In fact, if I click and I drag to view the back of the object, you will see that the back of the object is shaded with a much darker gray. Light gray areas identify the sides and the top and bottom.
Let me position it just so like this right over here and I want to show you that once you went ahead and you actually got a nice position of your artwork, you will notice that if you mouse over just the edges of the cube over here, they highlight. Clicking and dragging on the edge of a cube when these edges are highlighted will allow you to constrain the rotation of the object just on that axis. So if I got the right position of it, I just want to rotate it just a little bit, I can click over here and I can rotate it just on that axis alone. Now I also have the ability to come right over here to the actual edge of the circle itself and then click-and-drag and rotate the entire object as a whole. At any time I can go back to the Custom Rotation popup over here and to go back Off-Axis Front or any of the other presets as well.
There were two other important settings when working with Extrudes as well. Come down over here where it says Cap. Cap simply refers to the fact that whether I want a solid appearance of my object or a hollow appearance, which is almost as same as applying a stroke to an object without a fill and then simply applying a 3D effect to that stroked object. But I'll go back and choose this option here. You also have the ability to apply a Perspective to your object. Now this is the same thing as if you have an actual object in front of you and if you would, for example, take a look at it through the lens of a camera. As we get closer and closer to the object, you would start to see some natural distortion applied to that particular object.
Think of it like a lens perspective or a lens distortion. When it comes to perspective, you can click on this little button over here and actually get a slider and go all the way up to 160 degrees. Again, holding down the Shift key while you are holding the slider will allow you see that in real time. Now you'll notice by the way that the actual artwork is changing in color as you're applying a perspective to that. See how it gets darker as I add my perspective here. Well, the reason why that's happening here inside of Illustrator is because, remember this is real 3D rendering that's happening inside of Illustrator, and the way that Illustrator defines the actual shade in the object is by actually shining a light on that object. In fact, in a future movie we'll talk more about the actual lighting options of how you can shade your object.
But for now imagine that you actually had a light shine on the object from let's say on the upper right-hand edge. In that way you see highlights that over here but you see shadows in this area over here. Now as I'm adding perspective, like I said before, it's almost like taking a camera lens and bringing it closer and closer to the object. Well, as you bring that camera close to the object you are eclipsing the light source and hence the actual artwork gets darker. You can, of course, correct this by adding additional lights by moving a light source around which we'll get to in a later movie. But for now I'll go ahead and I'll change the Perspective back to zero and I'll click OK to apply the 3D effect inside of Illustrator. You may find at times, by the way, that Illustrator 3D effect leaves some kind of artifacts on the screen, which are simply removed by using a refresh or by zooming into a different level.
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