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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, I am going to show you how to draw a freeform shape in perspective. And I am going to go ahead and scroll over to the left-hand side of the illustration. Press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y on the Mac to switch to the Outline mode, so that we can see our tracing template in the background. Notice that I'm not all that scrupulously following the contours of this building. This right-hand wall is way too large. However, that's artistic line since for you of course, but I would like to match this wedge shape front to this entry way, and I suppose, I could draw it as the rectangle and the triangle, and I will start that way just so we can see how that works, but there is a better way of approaching this shape, as we'll see.
So I am going to press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y to switch back to the Preview mode. And then I am going to go ahead and grab my Rectangle tool. Now notice, when I have one of the perspective savvy tool selected, that the cursor updates to show me which pane is active. So if I see that little down pointing arrowhead next to the cursor that means that the ground level is active. If I press the 1 key, I get the left pointing arrowhead that shows me that the left pane is active. If I press the 3 key, I get the right pointing arrowhead that shows me that the right pane is active. Now of course, I want the left pane in this case.
Another way to switch panes is to go ahead and select an object that's on that pane. So, if I press the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac to temporarily switch to my Perspective Selection tool, and we'll see more of that in the future, and then I go ahead and click on a shape on this big rectangle that we do a couple of exercises ago, with the Ctrl or Command key down, then notice that a couple of things happen. One, I go ahead and switch to the left pane which is handy. I also go ahead and lift the desired Fill and Stroke attributes, which saves me a little bit of time as well.
So I am going to go ahead and drag from the bottom right corner, I think it's what I want this time around, up and to the left like so in order to roughly get that shape in a place. I don't have Smart Guides on this time around, so I am not getting exact alignment, but that's fine. I am actually not going to keep this shape ultimately. I went ahead and drew it on the perspective 1 layer for some reason. I needed to be in a perspective 2 layer. So, I will go ahead and drag that orange square on to that layer. All right! The next thing I want to do is switch over to the Polygon tool, which allows me to draw triangles. And at first as I am drawing with the tool, I will get a hexagon in my case anyway.
Then I will go ahead and press the Down Arrow key until I get a triangle and I'll go ahead and press the Spacebar key in order to get it in the place. And I will press the Shift key, so that I'm constraining the angle of this triangle. But notice that it's an equilateral triangle, which doesn't work out for us at all, and even if I get this shape aligned properly, which I'm not going to; it's still going to be a big mess. It's going to look like that, which is not a particularly good match. I just want you to see that the Polygon tool and the Star tool, all those guys do work in perspective, but the Pen tool as it turns out, does not.
And we are going to need to take advantage of the Pen tool to get the right shape here. So, I am going to press Ctrl+Z a few times in a row there that will be Command+Z on the Mac, three times in a row in my case. Switch back to the perspective 2 layer, press Ctrl+Shift+A or Command+Shift+A on the Mac to deselect everything, so I don't go drawing on the wrong layer again. And now I am going to go back to my Rectangle tool. And I don't want to draw on any pane this time, so I am going to press the 4 key or I could click outside of the cube here inside the widget, and then I'm just going to go ahead and zoom out actually, so I have a little more room to work.
And I am going to draw a shape, and I know it's like in the middle of nowhere, that doesn't really matter. We are just trying to get a shape roughed in the place. I grab my Black Arrow tool and move it up a little bit. Now I want to create a point at the top of this shape, and I want it to be exactly center. So as opposed to clicking to add a point with the Pen tool, I'm going to do this. I am going to go up to the Object menu, choose the Path command and choose Add Anchor Points, which is going to double the number of the anchor points inside the shape. If you've loaded Deke keys, you have got a keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Alt+Backslash or Command+Option+Backslash on the Mac, and now we have a point right there at the apex.
Now I will go ahead and grab my White Arrow tool and I will click off the shape for a moment, click back on that anchor point in order to select it and then I will drag while pressing the Shift key upward in order to raise that point. And pressing the Shift key of course constrains the angle of the drag, so that their point remains exactly centered. I don't know if this is really the shape I want or not. I won't know until I drag it into the Perspective Grid, but this looks like it might be serviceable. And by the way, I didn't use the Pen tool this time around but I could have drawn any shape with any tool out of perspective and then you move it into perspective by going down here to the Perspective Grid tool, click and hold on it and switch in the flyout menu to the Perspective Selection tool which has a keyboard shortcut of Shift+V. That's very meaningful by the way because V is your keyboard shortcut for the Black Arrow tool and the equivalent of the Black Arrow tool when working in the Perspective Grid is this guy right here, the Perspective Selection tool, so it's Shift+V.Now with that tool selected, make sure that you have the right pane active.
So I am going to click on the left pane to make it blue here inside the widget and notice that I get a cursor that has a left-pointing arrowhead and I will go ahead and drag this entire shape. So I will click on it, just to make sure I have the entire thing, and they'll drag it into place, like so. And it automatically moves into perspective as you can see. All right! Now I am going to go ahead and zoom in. Now you'll notice that this shape is too darn small and so we have to scale it. And I was telling you that these transformation tools are of no use to you, so don't use them because you'll scale outside of perspective that's no good.
You could go to the Transform panel and try to increase the size of this object and that would mean potentially entering some percentage values and you would have to make sure that you have the right reference point selected, and you might want to go ahead and lock down the proportions, you might not, who knows. There's an easier way to work. Go ahead and hide that Transform panel. What you have got to do though is turn on the dreaded Bounding Box which I hate because it takes up so much room on-screen, but it's the only way to scale on a fly in perspective. So you go up to the View menu and you choose Show Bounding Box or you press Ctrl+Shift+B, Command+Shift+B on the Mac.
And then you can see you are not terribly precise bounding box there. And to make things more precise, go to the View menu, turn on Smart Guides or press Ctrl+U, Command+U on the Mac. And now let's go ahead and drag this guy and see what kind of alignment we get. We are not seeing any kind of alignment happening down here at the bottom, at the molding for example, but I can't believe it. Look at that that is such good alignment. I didn't intend for this to line so well people. I wanted to show you what you do when things don't align properly but I lucked out here. So what would you do if things didn't work out so well? You would go ahead and switch to the White Arrow tool.
And of course the White Arrow tool does not work in perspective as we all know, but sometimes you just got to fudge it because what you are really looking for is good-looking illustration. Who cares if you subscribed absolutely to the rigors of perspective drawing in Illustrator, the final result is what matters. And you know what? To give you an even clearer idea of what I'm talking about, I'm going to show you a legitimate problem when we take this path outline and move it over onto the right-hand side of the building in the very next exercise.
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