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Defining a perspective grid

From: Illustrator CS5 Essential Training

Video: Defining a perspective grid

One of the exciting new features added to Illustrator CS5 is something called perspective drawing. It basically gives you the ability to define a Perspective Grid in your document and then draw artwork in perspective and also take two-dimensional art and map those to these perspective planes. However, before we start drawing in perspective, let's take a look at how these Perspective Grids work inside of Illustrator CS5. I'll get started by creating a new document. In this case, I'll just choose a Print Document profile. I'll also make sure right now that my Orientation is set to wide, only because it will give us more room to take a look at our Perspective Grid.

Defining a perspective grid

One of the exciting new features added to Illustrator CS5 is something called perspective drawing. It basically gives you the ability to define a Perspective Grid in your document and then draw artwork in perspective and also take two-dimensional art and map those to these perspective planes. However, before we start drawing in perspective, let's take a look at how these Perspective Grids work inside of Illustrator CS5. I'll get started by creating a new document. In this case, I'll just choose a Print Document profile. I'll also make sure right now that my Orientation is set to wide, only because it will give us more room to take a look at our Perspective Grid.

Let me click OK to create this new document. Now every document that you have inside of Illustrator has the capability of containing one, single Perspective Grid. You can't have multiple grids, just one at a time, and the way that you actually create this grid, or should I say actually turn on the grid, is to come over here to your Tool panel and click on the Perspective Grid tool. The keyboard shortcut for that is Shift+P. But I am going to go ahead and click on this, and instantly you'll see now a Perspective Grid appears on my document. Now, what you see here is a standard two-point perspective.

Illustrator actually supports one- point, two-point, or three-point perspectives, but for now the first thing we want to do is make sure that our perspective is set up correctly. In order to do that, there are many settings that are found on the actual grid itself. These appear as little widgets, like little diamond shapes or little circles, and let's take a moment to explore what each of these settings actually do. I am actually going to come down here to the bottom and change my Zoom setting to 90%, which will allow us to get a total look of all the settings available inside of this Perspective Grid.

When defining your Perspective Grid, two of the most important settings are the Ground Line and the Horizon Line. The horizon line is sometimes also referred to as the eye level. You can control the position of these settings by clicking on any of these diamond shapes on those lines and move your grid around. For example, I can reposition the ground line by clicking on this diamond and moving it up and down or left and right. You can adjust the horizon line or the eye level by clicking on these diamonds and moving this up or down.

Notice that as I do so, the Smart Guides, which are currently active in my document, show me HH, which stands for the Horizon Height, the distance between this diamond right here and this diamond right here as I make these adjustments. To give you an example, if I were standing in front of building, the eye level would be how I'd actually be looking at that particular building. A very low eye level would basically have me standing right in front of the building staring up at it. However, should I have a very high eye level, it would be as if I were standing maybe on a building across the street at the roof and staring down towards that building.

I'll bring the Horizon Level back down to where it was around before, and let's take a look at some of the other important parts of a Perspective Grid. You'll notice that certain parts of the grid appear in different colors. For example, the side over here on the left is colored blue, the side on the right here it's colored red, and on the bottom here it's colored green. These colored areas identify the different planes that I'm working with inside of my Perspective Grid. As you'll see when we start drawing in perspective, I will choose which plane I want my artwork to be attached to.

For example, I can have artwork snapped to the left pane, the right pane, or the floor or the ground. You can make adjustments to any of these planes simply by using these widgets, which appear as these little circles with dots inside of them, which appear at the bottom of the grid. For example, this widget over here, which appears on the right side, actually controls the left pane of my grid. As I click and drag on this widget, I can adjust the left pane of the Perspective Grid. Likewise, I can use the other widgets to control the right pane, and also the ground level as well.

Of course, one of the key features found in any Perspective Grid is the vanishing point. In this example, since we are dealing with the two-point perspective, we have two vanishing points, which appear as these little circles on both the left and right sides of my grid. Vanishing points are, of course, always tied to the horizon. So when I click on them, I can drag them left or right to adjust them. With regard to actually defining the perspective for this document, we're already done. However, there are a few additional settings that pertain to the grid itself, in other words the appearance of the grid, and how I might work with that grid here inside of Illustrator.

As we'll soon see, when I'm drawing inside of Illustrator, these actual gridlines here act as guides, meaning that objects will snap to them when I am either drawing or dragging them around on the Perspective Grid. I can use the little diamond widgets that appear on the grid to control the size of the grid, and also the actual appearance of that grid. Let's take a closer look. The diamond that appears here towards the center of the ground here allows me to click and drag upwards, to increase the size of the grid, or downwards to make the grid much, much smaller.

The widgets that appear towards the top of the grid allow me to determine how high or how low that grid appears. The widgets that appear towards the bottom over here, allow me to define how far back that particular grid goes and how shallow it will be, the same thing applies in the right side as well. It's important to realize that we're just dealing right now with the visibility of the grid itself. But in reality, as I am working inside of Illustrator, since I've defined this perspective, my entire document lives in this world of perspective, meaning that if I start dragging a shape even somewhere over here, but I mapped over here towards the plane on the right side, that object will still snap and live in that world of perspective.

Speaking of the appearance of the grid, it's important to realize that we are inside of Illustrator and while we've been eyeballing all these settings here for the Perspective Grid, we can handle all these numerically through some of the settings for the Perspective Grid. In fact, almost all the settings for the grid itself can be found by going to the View menu, scrolling over here to the bottom where it says Perspective Grid, then choosing this option called Define Grid. In doing so, the Define Perspective Grid dialog box appears where you can see all the settings for the grid itself. Unfortunately, there is no Preview button.

So when you make these changes, you are going to have to click OK and see how those changes have been applied to your grid. But one of the settings that I use most often is the Opacity setting because as I'm drawing inside of Illustrator, I really don't want the grid itself to get in the way of my artwork. In fact, I prefer an Opacity level somewhere in the area of 25% instead of 50%. Notice when I click OK right now, the grid itself is not as prominent in my document, so I can focus more on the artwork that I am dealing with. Let's take a closer look at some of the other settings that appear inside of this View menu. I am going to go to View > Perspective Grid.

You can see that I have the option to hide my grid. I can Show Rulers, which display values that appear next to each of the lines inside of the grid. To make sure that I don't mess up any settings that I've worked very hard to put in place, I can go back to the View menu, choose Perspective Grid, and choose to lock my grid. In this menu, you'll also find one of the most powerful aspects of working with Perspective Grids, which is the ability to define grids as a preset. That means if you actually get a particular perspective that you like, and you want to use that for many different projects, you can save or capture the settings for that grid and then easily apply those to other documents as well.

In fact, you'll see here that I have some already defined inside of Illustrator where it says One Point Perspective, Illustrator ships with a default setting for One Point Perspective normal view. There is also a default view for Two Point and Three Point Perspective as well. You can also right now save this grid as a preset, and give it a name and then apply it to any another document as well. For now though, I'll choose to set my grid back to the default Two Point Perspective grid, and now that you're familiar with setting up the grid itself, you're ready to start drawing art in perspective.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS5 Essential Training
Illustrator CS5 Essential Training

126 video lessons · 82065 viewers

Mordy Golding
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 3m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 18s
    2. What is Illustrator CS5?
      1m 46s
    3. Using the exercise files
      31s
  2. 12m 37s
    1. What are vector graphics?
      6m 3s
    2. Path and appearance
      3m 42s
    3. Stacking
      2m 52s
  3. 32m 6s
    1. The Welcome screen
      2m 23s
    2. Creating files for print
      6m 7s
    3. Creating files for the screen
      2m 55s
    4. Using prebuilt templates
      2m 40s
    5. Adding XMP metadata
      4m 18s
    6. Exploring the panels
      6m 33s
    7. Using the Control panel
      3m 11s
    8. Using workspaces
      3m 59s
  4. 43m 44s
    1. Navigating within a document
      9m 15s
    2. Using rulers and guides
      7m 26s
    3. Using grids
      3m 6s
    4. Using the bounding box
      3m 37s
    5. Using Smart Guides
      5m 56s
    6. The Hide Edges command
      3m 22s
    7. Various preview modes
      3m 47s
    8. Creating custom views
      4m 3s
    9. Locking and hiding artwork
      3m 12s
  5. 28m 46s
    1. Using the basic selection tools
      8m 50s
    2. Using the Magic Wand tool
      5m 22s
    3. Using the Lasso tool
      2m 28s
    4. Selecting objects by attribute or type
      3m 37s
    5. Saving and reusing selections
      2m 15s
    6. Selecting artwork beneath other objects
      2m 13s
    7. Exploring selection preferences
      4m 1s
  6. 1h 16m
    1. The importance of modifier keys
      1m 52s
    2. Drawing closed path primitives
      11m 38s
    3. Drawing open path primitives
      5m 47s
    4. Understanding anchor points
      3m 43s
    5. Drawing straight paths with the Pen tool
      7m 37s
    6. Drawing curved paths with the Pen tool
      9m 47s
    7. Drawing freeform paths with the Pencil tool
      5m 33s
    8. Smoothing and erasing paths
      3m 8s
    9. Editing anchor points
      7m 21s
    10. Joining and averaging paths
      10m 9s
    11. Simplifying paths
      4m 55s
    12. Using Offset Path
      2m 17s
    13. Cleaning up errant paths
      2m 32s
  7. 48m 26s
    1. The Draw Inside and Draw Behind modes
      7m 34s
    2. Creating compound paths
      5m 56s
    3. Creating compound shapes
      8m 0s
    4. Using the Shape Builder tool
      10m 28s
    5. Using Pathfinder functions
      8m 6s
    6. Splitting an object into a grid
      1m 16s
    7. Using the Blob Brush and Eraser tools
      7m 6s
  8. 49m 5s
    1. Creating point text
      4m 2s
    2. Creating area text
      8m 13s
    3. Applying basic character settings
      7m 44s
    4. Applying basic paragraph settings
      4m 28s
    5. Creating text threads
      8m 25s
    6. Setting text along an open path
      6m 29s
    7. Setting text along a closed path
      6m 24s
    8. Converting text into paths
      3m 20s
  9. 18m 55s
    1. Create a logo mark
      11m 26s
    2. Add type to your logo
      7m 29s
  10. 42m 42s
    1. Using the Appearance panel
      8m 21s
    2. Targeting object attributes
      4m 42s
    3. Adding multiple attributes
      4m 25s
    4. Applying Live Effects
      5m 18s
    5. Expanding appearances
      4m 42s
    6. Appearance panel settings
      4m 33s
    7. Copying appearances
      4m 51s
    8. Saving appearances as graphic styles
      5m 50s
  11. 34m 0s
    1. Applying color to artwork
      5m 57s
    2. Creating process and global process swatches
      8m 54s
    3. Creating spot color swatches
      3m 19s
    4. Loading PANTONE and other custom color libraries
      4m 49s
    5. Organizing colors with Swatch Groups
      3m 31s
    6. Finding color suggestions with the Color Guide panel
      4m 24s
    7. Loading the Color Guide with user-defined colors
      3m 6s
  12. 50m 23s
    1. Creating gradients with the Gradient panel
      8m 12s
    2. Modifying gradients with the Gradient Annotator
      4m 37s
    3. Applying and manipulating pattern fills
      5m 33s
    4. Defining your own custom pattern fills
      9m 13s
    5. Applying basic stroke settings
      5m 22s
    6. Creating strokes with dashed lines
      3m 41s
    7. Adding arrowheads to strokes
      2m 45s
    8. Creating variable-width strokes
      4m 35s
    9. Working with width profiles
      2m 36s
    10. Turning strokes into filled paths
      3m 49s
  13. 32m 46s
    1. Creating and editing groups
      8m 18s
    2. Adding attributes to groups
      12m 17s
    3. The importance of using layers
      5m 9s
    4. Using and "reading" the Layers panel
      7m 2s
  14. 12m 13s
    1. Creating and using multiple artboards
      7m 52s
    2. Modifying artboards with the Artboards panel
      2m 2s
    3. Copy and paste options with Artboards
      2m 19s
  15. 31m 10s
    1. Moving and copying artwork
      3m 55s
    2. Scaling or resizing artwork
      6m 47s
    3. Rotating artwork
      2m 44s
    4. Reflecting and skewing artwork
      2m 34s
    5. Using the Free Transform tool
      2m 15s
    6. Repeating transformations
      3m 39s
    7. Performing individual transforms across multiple objects
      2m 10s
    8. Aligning objects and groups precisely
      4m 27s
    9. Distributing objects and spaces between objects
      2m 39s
  16. 35m 40s
    1. Placing pixel-based content into Illustrator
      5m 14s
    2. Managing images with the Links panel
      4m 49s
    3. Converting pixels to paths with Live Trace
      8m 44s
    4. Making Live Trace adjustments
      6m 9s
    5. Controlling colors in Live Trace
      6m 4s
    6. Using Photoshop and Live Trace together
      4m 40s
  17. 14m 42s
    1. Managing repeating artwork with symbols
      4m 38s
    2. Modifying and replacing symbol instances
      3m 8s
    3. Using the Symbol Sprayer tool
      6m 56s
  18. 16m 57s
    1. Cropping photographs
      1m 59s
    2. Clipping artwork with masks
      3m 22s
    3. Clipping the contents of a layer
      3m 31s
    4. Defining masks with soft edges
      8m 5s
  19. 26m 2s
    1. Defining a perspective grid
      7m 48s
    2. Drawing artwork in perspective
      8m 46s
    3. Moving flat art onto the perspective grid
      9m 28s
  20. 25m 8s
    1. Printing your Illustrator document
      3m 26s
    2. Saving your Illustrator document
      6m 39s
    3. Creating PDF files for clients and printers
      7m 30s
    4. Exporting Illustrator files for use in Microsoft Office
      1m 4s
    5. Exporting Illustrator files for use in Photoshop
      2m 31s
    6. Exporting artwork for use on the web
      3m 3s
    7. Exporting high-resolution raster files
      55s
  21. 2m 18s
    1. Additional Illustrator learning resources
      1m 36s
    2. Goodbye
      42s

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