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Creating custom perspective guides

From: Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Creating custom perspective guides

In this final exercise I am going to show you how to create your own poor man's perspective grid. Now this is going to be of use to those of you who know a thing or two about perspective drawing. You're going to find this terribly helpful, I should think, I do, on a regular basis. Those of you who don't like perspective drawing or don't understand it, feel free to skip this exercise, although it's very easy to perform, the steps I'm about to show you. So you might want to hang in there, I'm going to go ahead and zoom out of my illustration. And by the way, I have saved my modifications as 3D rotations.ai.

Creating custom perspective guides

In this final exercise I am going to show you how to create your own poor man's perspective grid. Now this is going to be of use to those of you who know a thing or two about perspective drawing. You're going to find this terribly helpful, I should think, I do, on a regular basis. Those of you who don't like perspective drawing or don't understand it, feel free to skip this exercise, although it's very easy to perform, the steps I'm about to show you. So you might want to hang in there, I'm going to go ahead and zoom out of my illustration. And by the way, I have saved my modifications as 3D rotations.ai.

Now Illustrator CS5 includes a perspective grid tool that automates the process, and I've actually drawn a grid in advance, and you can check it out if you like by dropping down to this new tool here in side of Illustrator CS5. The perspective grid tool, which has a keyboard shortcut of Shift+P, and if you just click on that tool you'll see the perspective grid that I've set up for you. I'm going to zoom out a little bit here. This is what's known as a two-point perspective grid, that is, we have an X-face over here on the right-hand side, and we have a Z-face, this depth face, over here on the left-hand side, where this illustration is concerned.

That means that the right-hand side of the sarcophagus can decline toward a horizon just as in real 3D. And the left-hand side declines toward the horizon as well, but I want my sarcophagus to decline upward, as if I had this sort of low angle shot and this ginormous like 50 foot sarcophagus was in front of me with this cartoon bat on top of it. That means I need what's known as three-point distortion. Well, three-point distortion is awfully hard to create inside of Illustrator.

I will show you how to do it. I devote an entire chapter, once again, to the perspective grid feature here inside of Illustrator in the Mastery portion of this series. But it's too early for that now, and it does require a fair amount of work. So instead I decided to create my own perspective grid, and I'll show you how that works. First of all, assuming that you still have your perspective grid tool selected, then you can hide your perspective grid, get it offscreen, because we don't want it up here any more, it will just clutter up everything, by clicking on this tiny little close box right there, that's associated with this perspective grid annotator.

So that's one way to get rid of it. Another way, if some other tool is selected, because if I have the Black Arrow tool selected, and I try to click on this close box, it doesn't work. Anyway, I'll go up to the view menu, and I'll choose perspective grid. Here's how to get rid of it regardless of what tool is selected. And then you choose the Hide Grid command and it goes away. Now when I've got setup instead, my own little custom grid, is down here at the very bottom of the Layers panel. There is a layer called Guides. And if you turn it on and you're seeing the guides, which you can see of course by going to the View menu, choosing Guides, and then choosing Show Guides, if they're hidden.

Anyway, I'll go ahead and the Escape out of there, because mine are visible. Then you'll see the custom guides that I set up. Now, this may be terrifying to you. If you don't know what's going on with perspective drawing then you may look at this and say, no, thank you at all, I don't want to have anything to do with this. However, again, if you like perspective, if you rock it, if you generally understand what's going on, then this kind of thing may help you out. And notice that I have these lines that are defining the X-face over here; I have these lines that are defining the Z-face. And then I have these vertical lines that are tapering upward, and they are defining the Y axis.

And all of my lines are ultimately either parallel to those lines, or directly on top of them. And because these are snapping guides then I'm ensured a high degree of control, so it's really great. Anyway, what if you want to create such a thing? Here I am assuming that you like this so far, if you do, how do you create such guides. Well, let's go ahead and turn off the guides as they exist right now, so I'll turn off that guides layer. I'm going to scroll to the very top of the layers panel. And I've got this yellow layer called Perspective, go ahead and turn it on, and those are my original perspective lines.

All right, I'll zoom out another click, so we can see them here. What we've got is these green lines defining the Y axis, these orange lines defining the X axis, and these blue lines defining the Z axis. I just created them using the line tool by the way, and I'm the one who color-coded them. So these are completely manual modifications to my illustration. Now what I'm going to do, is I'm going to click one of the blue lines, I can start anywhere. And then Shift+Click on the other blue line, so here's my two blue lines, the Z axis. And I'll go ahead and blend those by pressing Ctrl+Alt+B or Cmd+Option+B on the Mac, and Illustrator creates X number of steps.

I don't really care how many so far. Then I'll click one of the orange lines, Shift+Click on the other orange line to select it. So I need to make sure I select lines of the same color. Press Ctrl+Alt+B or Cmd+Option+B on the Mac in order to blend between those two lines. And then, because I want both the X axis and the Z axis to have the same number of intermediate guidelines between them, then I'll go ahead and click on one, Shift+Click on the other, so I've got both my orange lines and my blue lines selected. And I'll double-click on my Blend tool, here inside the toolbox to bring up the blending options dialog box.

And I'll switch my spacing option from Smooth Color to Specified Steps, and I'll change the number of steps to 24. Completely an arbitrary decision on my part, I just decided 24 is probably going to work good. And then I clicked OK to accept that modification. Looks great! Now I'll click with my Black Arrow tool, so I'll press the V key, and then click on one of the green lines, Shift+ Click on the other green line, and then I'll press Ctrl+Alt+B or Cmd+ Option+B to blend between them. And now I'll double-click on the Blend tool once again to bring up the blending options dialog box, switch to Specified Steps, and change the value this time to 14.

And I'm just looking for guidelines that are more or less equally spaced with respect to each other, and I don't things to get too confusing, even though this is already fairly Byzantine, but I didn't want it to get so bad I couldn't tell what I was doing. And then I click OK in order to accept that modification. All right, now these are just static path outlines. That is, I'll snap to their anchor points, but I won't snap to the intermediate segments. If I want to snap to the segments, these angled segments, then I need to convert them to the Guides. And here is how I did that. I went ahead and took my perspective layer and I duplicated it, because that way I can go back and modify my settings later on if I want to.

So I went ahead and grabbed the perspective layer, dragged it down to the bottom of the layers panel onto the little page icon, dropped, and then I created this layer called Perspective Copy. I'll turnoff the original perspective layer. I'll double-click on this one and rename it something like 3D Guides, and I can change the color as well to - I don't know, light gray let's say, just something unobtrusive, click OK. And now that I have that layer active, I'll click on that little wedge in the upper right-hand corner to select the contents of the layer, so everything is now selected.

And I'll go up to the view menu, because we're going to convert these to guides, and I'll choose guides, and I'll choose make guides or press Ctrl+5, Cmd+5 on the Mac, and Illustrator gets mad at me. And it says, hey, you can't do this, because you've got some weird thing selected that can't be converted to guides. Well, the weird thing is Blends. You can't convert blends directly to guides, you have to expand them first. Here's how you do it. Click OK, because you can't do anything else inside that alert. You go up to the object menu. Anytime you want to convert automated things inside of Illustrator to static path outlines, you go to the object menu and you choose whichever expand command is available.

You never know which one it is going to be, it might be Expand Appearance if it is, choose it. If it's Expand instead, go ahead and choose it. I've given you keyboard shortcut for Expand if you loaded dekeKeys, of Ctrl+M and Cmd+M on the Mac, it is just there in case you want it. Go ahead and choose the command, you get this dialog box; you pretty much ignore it, because there is not anything to do here. You just say sure, whatever you're talking about, dialog box, that's fine. Click OK, in order to do it, and that goes and converts all these lines to static path outlines. We don't care about the Strokes or the Fills or any of that stuff. Then go up to the view menu, choose guides and choose make guides and once again you can press Ctrl+5, Cmd+5 on the Mac and you've made your snapping guidelines here inside of Illustrator. Perhaps that's a little overwhelming.

In which case go ahead and turn them off, and we are done, folks, we have done everything we possibly could to this illustration. I'm going to go ahead and zoom it by pressing Ctrl+1, Cmd+1 on the Ma,c to 100%. And then I'm going to change my zoom ratio to 82%, because that way the illustration fits on my screen. And that is the final version of our illustration, created thanks to the ancient, but altogether prodigious power of Blends and Masks inside Illustrator.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced
Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

153 video lessons · 28099 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 38m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 48s
    2. Linking AI and EPS files to Illustrator
      6m 48s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      7m 43s
    4. Remapping Mac OS shortcuts
      6m 56s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 54s
    6. The color settings explained
      7m 4s
    7. Preserve Numbers vs. embedded profiles
      3m 22s
  2. 1h 40m
    1. Converting pixels to vectors
      1m 2s
    2. Tracing an imported image
      6m 17s
    3. Other ways to trace
      3m 17s
    4. Raster and vector previews
      7m 2s
    5. Threshold, Min Area, and Max Colors
      5m 27s
    6. Tracing options: The raster functions
      8m 2s
    7. Using the Ignore White option
      5m 3s
    8. Tracing options: The vector functions
      6m 40s
    9. Expanding traced artwork
      5m 6s
    10. Sketching and drawing for Illustrator
      6m 24s
    11. Editing scanned line art
      9m 23s
    12. Adding contrast and color
      10m 32s
    13. Live Trace and resolution
      9m 8s
    14. Expanding and separating paths
      8m 43s
    15. Scaling and editing traced art
      8m 4s
  3. 1h 8m
    1. Gradients are good
      1m 15s
    2. Assigning a gradient fill
      6m 9s
    3. Using the gradient annotator
      7m 31s
    4. Editing multiple gradients
      4m 37s
    5. Establishing symmetrical gradients
      5m 28s
    6. Creating a radial gradient
      5m 46s
    7. Adjusting the midpoint skew
      3m 23s
    8. Mixing gradients with blend modes
      6m 11s
    9. Making a transparent gradient
      6m 42s
    10. Drop shadows and dynamic effects
      5m 58s
    11. Assigning a gradient to editable text
      5m 42s
    12. Editing text that includes dynamic effects
      2m 56s
    13. Assigning a gradient to a stroke
      6m 46s
  4. 1h 37m
    1. The earliest dynamic functions
      1m 10s
    2. The gradient-intensive illustration
      5m 26s
    3. Creating a multi-color blend
      7m 39s
    4. Establishing a clipping mask
      3m 34s
    5. Reinstating the mask colors
      9m 7s
    6. Editing blended paths
      6m 50s
    7. Adjusting the number of blended steps
      6m 49s
    8. Using the Blend tool
      4m 33s
    9. Blending between levels of opacity
      7m 32s
    10. Editing the path of the blend
      6m 22s
    11. Adding a custom path of the blend
      5m 4s
    12. Placing one mask inside another
      8m 33s
    13. Blending groups and adjusting the speed
      6m 1s
    14. Rotating objects in 3D space
      10m 21s
    15. Creating custom perspective guides
      8m 31s
  5. 1h 37m
    1. What was old is new again
      39s
    2. Introducing tile patterns
      6m 11s
    3. Determining the points of intersection
      6m 51s
    4. Extending paths from the intersections
      5m 40s
    5. Crafting symmetrical subpaths
      5m 38s
    6. The final flawed subpaths
      5m 52s
    7. Reconciling misaligned paths
      5m 34s
    8. Completing the core path outline
      6m 14s
    9. Making a symmetrical modification
      6m 47s
    10. Adjusting the interior elements
      8m 26s
    11. Coloring paths and testing the interlock
      9m 29s
    12. Establishing a rectangular tile
      6m 22s
    13. Defining a tile pattern
      3m 43s
    14. Creating a few color variations
      8m 50s
    15. Protecting patterns from transformations
      6m 9s
    16. Transforming patterns without paths
      5m 30s
  6. 1h 12m
    1. Filling and stroking virtual areas
      44s
    2. Introducing Live Paint
      7m 57s
    3. Stroking with the Live Paint Bucket tool
      5m 30s
    4. Using the Live Paint Selection tool
      7m 18s
    5. Adding a path to a Live Paint group
      4m 33s
    6. Building a classic Celtic knot
      8m 28s
    7. Constructing the base objects
      5m 31s
    8. Weaving one object into another
      6m 13s
    9. Creating a path that overlaps itself
      7m 15s
    10. Painting a path that overlaps itself
      5m 34s
    11. Creating knots inside knots
      5m 2s
    12. Adding gradients and depth
      8m 22s
  7. 1h 4m
    1. Dynamic effects and OpenType
      1m 12s
    2. Applying a dynamic effect to type
      5m 43s
    3. Creating a basic bevel effect
      4m 12s
    4. Building up a multi-stroke effect
      4m 49s
    5. Best practices for 3D type
      6m 34s
    6. Applying a "path wiggler" to type
      6m 14s
    7. Drop shadows and Raster Effects settings
      4m 52s
    8. Duplicating attributes and effects
      7m 8s
    9. Editing type with dynamic effects
      7m 27s
    10. Ligatures, swashes, ordinals, and fractions
      5m 45s
    11. Small caps and the Glyphs panel
      4m 25s
    12. Warping text and increasing resolution
      6m 9s
  8. 1h 44m
    1. A world of colors at your beck and call
      1m 32s
    2. Customizing a letterform to make a logo
      8m 37s
    3. Creating a custom drop shadow effect
      6m 26s
    4. Introducing the Color Guide panel
      9m 3s
    5. Harmonies and Color Guide settings
      5m 39s
    6. Lifting harmony rules from color groups
      7m 21s
    7. Harmony layouts and the Lab color wheel
      8m 15s
    8. Working inside the Edit Color dialog box
      6m 36s
    9. Limiting a color group to spot colors
      5m 47s
    10. Recoloring selected artwork
      5m 50s
    11. Recoloring with custom color groups
      6m 1s
    12. Swapping colors with the Color Bars feature
      5m 18s
    13. Using the options in the Assign panel
      8m 41s
    14. Moving color groups between documents
      7m 17s
    15. Distilling your artwork to one spot-color ink
      7m 45s
    16. Recoloring artwork that contains gradients
      4m 17s
  9. 1h 21m
    1. How symbols work
      1m 2s
    2. The power of symbols
      5m 1s
    3. Creating new symbols
      6m 0s
    4. Enabling the new 9-slice scaling
      4m 24s
    5. Adjusting your 9-slice scaling guides
      6m 54s
    6. Previewing and acquiring symbols
      4m 12s
    7. Finding a symbol and creating an instance
      4m 13s
    8. Duplicating and replacing instances
      4m 19s
    9. Breaking a symbol link and envelope fidelity
      5m 26s
    10. Distorting and expanding a symbol
      4m 54s
    11. Updating an existing symbol definition
      3m 40s
    12. Recoloring a symbol definition
      4m 13s
    13. Applying a basic "local" color adjustment
      5m 20s
    14. Applying a more elaborate local color adjustment
      5m 4s
    15. Laying down a random symbol set
      5m 35s
    16. The eight symbolism tools
      6m 55s
    17. Editing selected instances
      4m 11s
  10. 1h 32m
    1. Illustrator needs Photoshop
      1m 1s
    2. Two ways to place a pixel-based image
      6m 6s
    3. Working with linked images
      6m 6s
    4. Linking versus embedding
      9m 38s
    5. Stroking and blending an image
      6m 16s
    6. Adding a clipping mask and page curl
      6m 51s
    7. Creating a blended border effect
      7m 10s
    8. Rasterizing your artwork in Photoshop
      8m 0s
    9. Saving a flat raster file from Photoshop
      4m 58s
    10. Restoring cropped border elements
      5m 39s
    11. Copying and pasting into Photoshop
      6m 27s
    12. Working with Photoshop Smart Objects
      5m 26s
    13. Adding a pixel-based layer effect
      4m 12s
    14. Editing a Vector Smart Object in Illustrator
      7m 20s
    15. Creating and placing a transparent image
      7m 1s
  11. 1h 15m
    1. The many forms of transparency
      1m 29s
    2. Real-world blending modes
      7m 57s
    3. Exporting transparency from Illustrator
      6m 24s
    4. Opacity and blending modes
      6m 18s
    5. The Darken and Lighten modes
      7m 17s
    6. The Contrast, Inversion, and HSL modes
      6m 12s
    7. Blending modes in action
      5m 11s
    8. Creating a knockout group
      6m 14s
    9. Confirming the viability of your artwork
      6m 8s
    10. Introducing the opacity mask
      4m 6s
    11. Making an opacity mask
      5m 25s
    12. Drawing inside an opacity mask
      3m 34s
    13. Creating a gradient opacity mask
      5m 29s
    14. Adding an opacity mask to a single object
      3m 22s
  12. 1m 13s
    1. Until next time
      1m 13s

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