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Assembling an isometric projection

From: Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

Video: Assembling an isometric projection

Ultimately, the topic of this chapter is this tool right here, it's new to Illustrator CS5, and it's called the Perspective Grid tool. And it does quite a good job of simplifying the process of creating a perspective drawing. It allows you to draw simple shapes in perspective; you can drag objects into a perspective grid as well. But before we go there, I want you to have a sense of what it means to create a perspective drawing. So we're going to start off with the kind of primmer, and specifically in this exercise I'm going to compare two different ways of rendering a 3D object.

Assembling an isometric projection

Ultimately, the topic of this chapter is this tool right here, it's new to Illustrator CS5, and it's called the Perspective Grid tool. And it does quite a good job of simplifying the process of creating a perspective drawing. It allows you to draw simple shapes in perspective; you can drag objects into a perspective grid as well. But before we go there, I want you to have a sense of what it means to create a perspective drawing. So we're going to start off with the kind of primmer, and specifically in this exercise I'm going to compare two different ways of rendering a 3D object.

One is an Isometric Projection and the other is a Perspective Projection. So I've got open this document called Technical illustration.ai and we're seeing here a handful of elevations. That's what these are called, which are various front on views of this object that we're trying to create. And perhaps the best elevation, the most representative is the Side view right here. So imagine you're looking directly sideways at this object, it's a kind of stair step gadget lets say, with a notch cut out of the back of it.

Now, if you're looking directly down on this object, it would look like the Top elevation, also known as the Plan View. And so the tops of the steps are rendered out in different shades of brown. If you were to look directly at the Front of these steps, you would see this colorful pattern here, and then if you were to turn the steps around, so you could see the back of the steps. You would see this pink and the notch is rendered in purple. Now, I just show you these, so that you can get a sense of how this object is put together, but also this is the way the pros work. If you're actually creating a technical documentation of a product, then you start off with these elevations and then you build either an isometric or a perspective version of that object.

So I'm going to go ahead and turn on, here inside the layers panel, I'm going to turn on the isometric layer. And this is the object rendered out, so, we're seeing the top of the stairs, we're seeing the front of the stairs; we're also seeing the side of this thing. However, we're not seeing the Rear, and you can actually see that rear. You don't necessarily need to create that elevation, although it can be helpful, and in our case, we're communicating here that we're using different colors. However, it's no more absolutely necessary then say the bottom of the object or the other side.

So those faces are not visible in these projections here. Now when you're creating an isometric projection, you're creating a kind of SimCity view of the object, that is, there is no perspective. The sites do not get smaller as they decline into the distance; instead, this edge of the stair and this edge of the stair are exactly the same size. So ultimately, each one of the path outlines is skewed into alignment. Now, an isometric projection is a very specific standard. Notice that every single one of these straight segments intersects each other at a 120? angle.

So we're starting off with a vertical segment, then we have one that's rotated 120?, another 120?, and then we're back. And that's a very specific discipline. Before we see a perspective version of this object, I'd like to show you how you assemble an isometric projection in the first place. So I'm going to go ahead and turn on my core objects layer right here, again, inside the layers panel. And this is all we need, the side view, and then one of the tops of the steps and one at the fronts as well. And I'm going to go ahead and select the side view, and I'm going to grab a tool that we haven't spent much time within the series, it's available from the Scale tool flyout menu and it's the Shear tool right here.

And what it allows you to do is slant objects. So I'm going to go ahead and grab that shear tool and I'm going to Alt+Click, or Option+Click at this corner. And I'm going to set the Axis to Vertical, so that we're skewing along a vertical axis up and down that is to say. And I'm going to set that Shear Angle to 30?, which allows us to get this exact object right there. So having done that I'll go ahead and click OK. And now I'll go ahead and press the V key to switch back to my Black Arrow tool and select this object here, the orange object the front of the step.

And I'll drag it down so that it snaps into alignment with the bottom of the side view there, and I'll switch back to my Shear tool and then I'll Alt+Click, or Option+Click at this bottom left corner once again. And it's going to go completely the wrong direction, because it's following my last maneuver. What I need to do though, is just change that Shear Angle from 30? to -30?, and I'll press the Tab key, and we end up getting that affect. Of course, I have the Preview check box turned on as by default. I'll go ahead and click OK, and now it's a matter of taking this object right there.

I'll switch back to my Black Arrow tool and I'll go ahead and drag it into alignment with the next step up, so that I get a snap. You can see that my cursor is changing to the white arrowhead, and then I'll press the Alt key, or the Option key on a Mac in order to duplicate the face of the step. Then I'll just press Ctrl+D, or Command+ D on the Mac a couple of times in a row, in order to complete the face of the steps. So that's all there is to that. Now this guy is a little more complicated, the top of the step, I'm going to go ahead and grab it and snap it into alignment with this intersection right there.

And then I'll go back to my Shear tool and I'll Alt+Click, or Option+Click on that snapped point, and I'll set the Shear Angle once again to 30?, like so. Make sure that the Axis is still set to Vertical. Press the Tab key, and you end up getting this affect right there, click OK. Now, I suppose at this point there is a way to shear this into alignment with the other objects, but the easiest thing to do is just grab your White Arrow tool and I'm going to click off of the path outline in order to deselect it, and then I'll select both of those top points.

So, click on one, Shift+Click on the other. If you're having a problem selecting the object, you can go ahead and lock down your elevations layer if you like, and then, I just went and deselected a point. So I'll Shift+Click on the other point to select it as well, and then just drag it down and snap it into alignment. That's all there is to that one. Now I'll go back to your Black Arrow tool, which you can get by pressing the V key of course, and I'm going to go ahead and click on this object to select it, drag it down like so, so it snaps into alignment. Press the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac and drop it in order to clone it, and then press Ctrl+D, or Command+D on the Mac a couple of times in a row, in order to finish out the top of the steps.

And then finally I'm going to go ahead and grab this point here, snap it into alignment with the back of the steps, and press the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac in order to clone it and I need to send that object to the back of the stack. So I'll just right-click inside my illustration window, choose Arrange, and then choose Send to Back, or I could press that keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+Shift+Left Bracket, Command+Shift+Left Bracket on the Mac. All right, now let's go ahead and finish things off. I believe my stroke is currently active, so I'm going to press the X key to make my fill active, and then I'll go ahead and select these two top steps right there and fill them with the next darker shade of Brown.

And I'll go ahead and grab this step face and fill it with Blue and the top step face and I'll fill it with Yellow. And all I'm doing is just matching my elevations, so that I get the right effect. And now I'm going to select everything by marqueeing them with the Black Arrow tool. And I'll go ahead and group them together by going out to the Object menu choosing the Group command, or you can press Ctrl+G, Command+G on the Mac. Then go over to your Appearance panel, because you'll notice that my isometric projection has a thicker outline around the entire thing, which is something of a standard by the way. You don't have to do that, but it's a very common practice.

So I'll go to the Appearance panel and we'll Add a Stroke by clicking this bottom left icon. I could also press Ctrl+Alt+Slash, or Command+Option+Slash on the Mac. I'll go ahead and increase that Stroke value to 6 points and that covers up everything, it looks terrible. So I'll go ahead and drag it below Contents like so, and then finally I'll click on Stroke, because if you take a close look here, we're getting all these miter joints which is completely ruining the effect. So I'll click on the word Stroke there in the Appearance panel and I'll set the Corner to Round Join and that completes the effect, and that's all there is to it.

So that's how you create an Isometric Projection in Illustrator. In the next exercise I'll introduce you to a Perspective Projection.

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This video is part of

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Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

134 video lessons · 28436 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
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  1. 37m 22s
    1. Welcome
      45s
    2. Linking AI and EPS files to Illustrator
      6m 34s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      7m 43s
    4. Remapping Mac OS shortcuts
      6m 56s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 56s
    6. The color settings explained
      7m 4s
    7. Preserve Numbers vs. embedded profiles
      3m 24s
  2. 1h 35m
    1. My favorite features in all of Illustrator
      1m 21s
    2. Introducing the Transform effect
      5m 30s
    3. Repeating the last effect you applied
      4m 52s
    4. Applying multiple passes of a single effect
      5m 21s
    5. The wonders of editing dynamic artwork
      7m 13s
    6. Applying effects inside effects
      5m 11s
    7. Assigning an effect to an entire layer
      5m 42s
    8. Building a complex bevel effect
      5m 44s
    9. Placing artwork as a Photoshop Smart Object
      4m 55s
    10. Editing that Smart Object in Illustrator
      4m 21s
    11. Rotating continuously overlapping objects
      5m 34s
    12. Adjusting a dynamic transformation origin
      6m 22s
    13. Vector vs. raster effects
      5m 46s
    14. Introducing the Scribble effect
      5m 23s
    15. Copying effects between layers
      4m 20s
    16. Introducing Graphic Styles
      6m 50s
    17. Controlling the Filter Gallery preview
      2m 28s
    18. Document Raster Effects Settings
      4m 31s
    19. Combining and saving styles
      4m 32s
  3. 1h 25m
    1. Airbrushing with points and handles
      1m 45s
    2. Introducing the gradient mesh
      6m 10s
    3. Working with the Mesh tool
      6m 12s
    4. Lifting colors from a tracing template
      5m 47s
    5. Finessing the colors of mesh points
      4m 17s
    6. Creating a mesh with the Mesh tool
      7m 19s
    7. Adding a gradient mesh to a circle
      4m 37s
    8. Adding a gradient mesh to a slender shape
      8m 7s
    9. Creating soft and sharp transitions
      6m 56s
    10. Converting a linear gradient to a mesh
      7m 29s
    11. Editing a linear gradient mesh
      5m 6s
    12. Converting a radial gradient to a mesh
      8m 19s
    13. Editing a radial gradient mesh
      8m 15s
    14. Creating credible cast shadows
      5m 32s
  4. 1h 15m
    1. The best of static and dynamic adjustments
      58s
    2. Adding wings to a horse in Photoshop
      6m 52s
    3. Introducing the Warp tool
      6m 29s
    4. Brush size, Detail, and Simplify
      8m 24s
    5. The Twirl, Pucker, and Bloat tools
      6m 13s
    6. The Scallop, Crystallize, and Wrinkle tools
      5m 55s
    7. Creating a mind-blowing custom starburst
      4m 29s
    8. Introducing Envelope Distort
      5m 21s
    9. Editing the contents of an envelope
      5m 20s
    10. Warping an envelope mesh
      5m 20s
    11. Liquifying the contents of an envelope
      7m 7s
    12. Creating and editing an envelope mesh
      7m 59s
    13. Blending an envelope into a background
      4m 35s
  5. 2h 1m
    1. Outlines along a path
      1m 13s
    2. Weaving a pattern throughout an illustration
      6m 24s
    3. Introducing the Brushes panel
      4m 21s
    4. Applying and editing a calligraphic brush
      8m 28s
    5. Applying and scaling art brushes
      6m 6s
    6. Applying and editing a scatter brush
      5m 29s
    7. Formatting and scaling brushed text
      5m 40s
    8. Editing the path outlines of an art brush
      6m 2s
    9. Replacing an existing art brush
      6m 46s
    10. Creating and refining an art brush
      8m 3s
    11. Tiling pattern vs. pattern brushes
      5m 12s
    12. Creating a pattern brush
      8m 20s
    13. Designing the perfect side pattern
      7m 1s
    14. Start, end, and corner tiles
      8m 58s
    15. Expanding and filling brush outlines
      6m 49s
    16. Text brushes vs. type on a path
      6m 55s
    17. Combining a text brush with the Width tool
      8m 43s
    18. Introducing the bristle brushes
      5m 43s
    19. Adjusting the hairs in a bristle brush
      5m 24s
  6. 1h 32m
    1. Charts can be beautiful
      1m 17s
    2. Adding a gradient mesh to a complex path
      8m 9s
    3. Importing and graphing data
      5m 22s
    4. Switching between the kinds of graphs
      6m 8s
    5. Changing the Graph Type settings
      8m 7s
    6. Correcting and editing data
      6m 51s
    7. Selecting and coloring graph elements
      6m 29s
    8. Making nuanced changes to a graph
      8m 6s
    9. The pitfalls of manual adjustments
      8m 45s
    10. Creating and applying graph designs
      6m 28s
    11. Making a basic pictograph
      6m 47s
    12. Assembling sliding graph designs
      8m 33s
    13. Making last-minute tweaks and edits
      5m 37s
    14. Composing and customizing a graph
      5m 44s
  7. 2h 6m
    1. Perspective is all about real life
      1m 44s
    2. Assembling an isometric projection
      8m 5s
    3. Introducing Illustrator's Perspective Grid
      6m 8s
    4. Drawing a basic perspective cube
      8m 1s
    5. One-point, two-point, and three-point perspective
      8m 25s
    6. Creating automatically scaling box labels
      4m 41s
    7. Setting up a Perspective Grid
      6m 45s
    8. Perspective Grid tips and tricks
      6m 39s
    9. Drawing and editing a perspective shape
      5m 20s
    10. Shifting between planes on the fly
      5m 24s
    11. Creating a freeform shape in perspective
      7m 8s
    12. Working with perspective symbols
      8m 57s
    13. Matching perspective with the Shear tool
      2m 50s
    14. Rendering an off-plane path in perspective
      5m 7s
    15. Replicating symbols in perspective
      8m 12s
    16. Mass-modifying perspective instances
      2m 56s
    17. Adding and editing perspective text
      5m 37s
    18. Duplicating perpendicular shapes
      7m 17s
    19. Adjusting multiple shapes on a single plane
      4m 48s
    20. Creating a perspective column
      9m 23s
    21. Duplicating a series of perspective paths
      3m 20s
  8. 1h 25m
    1. Just another dynamic effect
      1m 10s
    2. Introducing the 3D Revolve effect
      5m 1s
    3. The 3D Revolve settings
      7m 24s
    4. Fixing 3D rendering problems
      6m 32s
    5. Establishing symbols for 3D art
      6m 50s
    6. Mapping symbols onto 3D surfaces
      6m 14s
    7. Adjusting shading and light
      6m 25s
    8. Toning down 3D art in Photoshop
      5m 43s
    9. Adding a photographic texture
      7m 36s
    10. Converting from Illustrator paths to Photoshop masks
      4m 50s
    11. Making 3D droplets in Photoshop
      5m 58s
    12. Unifying textures with Smart Filters
      5m 48s
    13. Creating 3D type with Extrude & Bevel
      6m 44s
    14. Coloring and correcting extruded edges
      9m 15s
  9. 1h 3m
    1. Take action today, save effort tomorrow
      33s
    2. Introducing the Actions panel
      4m 16s
    3. Initiating a new action
      5m 33s
    4. Recording a practical action
      4m 56s
    5. Four ways to play an action
      4m 27s
    6. Streamlining by disabling dialog boxes
      5m 48s
    7. Editing an action set in a text editor
      7m 20s
    8. Inserting an unresponsive menu item
      6m 16s
    9. Match-processing a folder of files
      5m 42s
    10. Recording a transformation sequence
      6m 11s
    11. Editing and troubleshooting an action
      5m 6s
    12. Recording actions within actions
      7m 21s
  10. 1m 36s
    1. See Ya
      1m 36s

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