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Drawing artwork in perspective


Illustrator CS5 Essential Training

with Mordy Golding

Video: Drawing artwork in perspective

With the new Perspective Grid feature inside of Illustrator CS5, it's incredibly easy to create artwork that is actually in Perspective. Let's see how that works. I'm going to start here in this document by working with a sketch that I first scanned at the Photoshop, and then place and now embeded into this document here. In fact, if I go to my Layers panel, I can actually double-click on layer 1, and set this layer to be a Template layer. That is actually going to do two things. It's going to lock that particular image on that layer, and it's also going to dim that image back to 50% opacity.
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  1. 3m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 18s
    2. What is Illustrator CS5?
      1m 46s
    3. Using the exercise files
  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 1s
    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 24s
    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. 25m 52s
    1. Defining a perspective grid
      7m 48s
    2. Drawing artwork in perspective
      8m 46s
    3. Moving flat art onto the perspective grid
      9m 18s
  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
  21. 2m 18s
    1. Additional Illustrator learning resources
      1m 36s
    2. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Illustrator CS5 Essential Training
10h 37m Beginner Apr 30, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Illustrator CS5 Essential Training, author Mordy Golding explains the core concepts and techniques that apply to any workflow in Illustrator, whether designing for print, the web, or assets for other applications. This course includes a detailed explanation of the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of the Illustrator drawing tools. Also demonstrated are techniques for combining and cleaning up paths, organizing paths into groups and layers, text editing, working with color, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Setting up a new document based on the output destination
  • Using rules, guides, and grids
  • Making detailed selections
  • Drawing and editing paths with the Pen and Pencil tools
  • Creating compound vector shapes
  • Understanding the difference between point and area text
  • Applying live effects
  • Creating color swatches
  • Transforming artwork with Rotation, Scale, and Transform effects
  • Placing images
  • Working with masks
  • Printing, saving, and exporting artwork
Mordy Golding

Drawing artwork in perspective

With the new Perspective Grid feature inside of Illustrator CS5, it's incredibly easy to create artwork that is actually in Perspective. Let's see how that works. I'm going to start here in this document by working with a sketch that I first scanned at the Photoshop, and then place and now embeded into this document here. In fact, if I go to my Layers panel, I can actually double-click on layer 1, and set this layer to be a Template layer. That is actually going to do two things. It's going to lock that particular image on that layer, and it's also going to dim that image back to 50% opacity.

This means it will kind of act as a guide as I start working on top of it. So I will click OK, and the first thing I'm going to want to do here is actually add a second layer, so I can draw a new artwork on our additional layer, since the one right now that I was working with is locked. So I'm going to go to my Layers panel here, create layer 2, and I'll just close my Layers panel for now. Now, I'm starting off here with the sketch that I first created with pencil and then scanned into Photoshop. You can also, by the way, work in a photograph if you want to map a perspective to a photo, or alternatively, if you're just working with an Illustration, you can just start with the Perspective Grid from Scratch.

In this specific example, I want to take my Perspective Grid inside of Illustrator and map it so that it matches the perspective inside of this image. I'll begin by going over to the Toolbar and clicking on the Perspective Grid tool. This turns the Grid on inside of my document, and now I can move it and adjust it to match the actual artwork itself. Here's a tip. When you're working with Perspective Artwork inside of Illustrator, very often the Vanishing Points can be very far in the distance. So I find that often when I'm trying to match a Perspective Grid to some artwork or a photograph, I zoom out a lot so that I can really see the entire Artboard, and I can position my grid as needed.

I'll start by adjusting my ground line so that it matches up exactly where the bottom of my building is going to be, and I'll try to center it also right where my left and right panes meet. Next, I'll adjust the height line of my grid, so that it kind of comes down right about where the building ends here. I'll move my horizon line down just a bit, and then I'll click on the Vanishing Point and drag that outwards. I'll kind of go pretty far over here so that I can actually match the perspective that appears inside of the artwork. In this example, since this was a sketch that was done by hand, there is no guarantee that the perspective is correct in the drawing.

So I'm not trying to match it perfectly, but I want to use it as a general guide for what I'm doing. I'm pretty happy with the way the perspective looks here on the left pane, so at this point my grid is set up, and I'm ready to start drawing right in perspective with my grid. I'll press Command+0 or Ctrl+0 on my keyboard to return myself back to the Fit in Window view, so that I can get started with my drawing. In fact, because the grid itself is so strong, even though right now the grid itself is set back to 50% opacity, which is the default setting inside of Illustrator, I may want to dim back this a little bit more so it doesn't get in the way of the artwork that I draw.

To do that, I'll go to the View menu, choose Perspective Grid > Define Grid, and I'll change the Opacity value here to 30%. Now comes the fun part: actually creating the artwork in Perspective. Now, when you're working inside of Illustrator, as we see here, the Perspective Grid has three different planes. It has a plane on the left side, it has a plane on the right side, and it has a plane on the ground. Illustrator also refers to this ground plane as the horizontal plane. When I'm drawing in Perspective, Illustrator can only map that artwork to one of these planes.

As such, I need to somehow indicate to Illustrator which plane I want my artwork to be attached to. This plane is called the Active Plane, and it's indicated by this widget that appears in the upper left- hand corner of your screen. In fact, if you don't want the widget to appear in the upper left-hand corner, you can specify other locations for this widget, again based on your own preference. You can do so by double-clicking on the Perspective Grid tool, and then choosing where you want that widget position to be. For now though, I'm going to leave it on the top left and click OK. As you can see here, by moving your cursor over this particular widget called the Active Plane Widget, you can control which of the planes you want to work with.

Right now, you can see that the left grid over here, which is highlighted in blue, which refers to this side of the pane right over here, is currently active. That means if I start drawing artwork right now, it's going to attach itself to this particular grid. When you're working inside of Illustrator, basic drawing tools, such as those found in this grouping over here, for example, the Line Segment tool, the Arc tool, Spiral, Rectangular Grid and Polar Grid tools and also the tools that are found in this grouping here, Rectangle tool, the Rounded Rectangle tool, Ellipse, Polygon Star, are all tools that work in Perspective.

But to get started right now, let's use the Rectangle tool. Again, taking note that the left grid right now is highlighted in my Active Plane widget, I can now move my cursor over here, and you notice that the cursor itself has a little arrow pointing to the left. That indicates that my left grid right now is currently selected. Again, another indicator to let me know, when I'm working with Illustrator, where my artwork is about to go, I'll start to click and drag to draw a rectangle, and you'll notice that my rectangle actually appears in Perspective matching that left grid as I draw.

The Width and Height values that I'm seeing right now with Smart Guides are actually the real dimensions of that shape, had I drawn them not in perspective. I'll release the mouse, and I'll press the D key for the default, then I'll go ahead, and I'll increase the stroke weight over here to something like six-points(6 pt), and you can see that I've now drawn a shape directly in Perspective. Let's say I want to draw some artwork on this side of the Perspective. To do so, I'll start first by selecting this particular part of the grid in the Active Plane Widget. Notice now, the red part is highlighted, which again, maps to this part of the grid right here and notice, again, that the actual arrow that appears on my cursor for my Rectangle tool actually has an arrow pointing to the right.

It's important to remember that in Illustrator, the grid itself is visible in certain areas, but any place that I draw artwork is always going to be mapped towards that Perspective, meaning if I start clicking and dragging over here, this is that rectangle being drawn on this plane of perspective. This is an important concept to understand, because when I'm working inside of Perspective Drawing with Illustrator, everything that I create inside of my document is now being locked to that particular grid. However, I may have some other artwork that I want to create that I don't want to be on this grid. To do so, I would need to use the Active Plane Widget over here to deselect all my planes, so that there is no Active Plane.

You'll notice that when I move my cursor over the widget, I can highlight the left grid, the right grid, the horizontal grid, which is the ground, or if I move my cursor just outside the cube, but within this little circle area, there's an option called No Active Grid. If I click on that, now when I draw a new shape, that new shape is not mapped to any grid at all. Whenever you're using Perspective Drawing inside of Illustrator, you could use the numbers on your keypad to determine which plane you want to work with. For example, the 1 key on your keyboard will highlight the Left Plane.

Tapping 2 on your keyboard will select the ground, or the horizontal plane. Hitting the 3 key will make the right plane active, and tapping the number 4, will deselect all Active Planes. In other words, you'll be able to draw without having artwork locked to any specific perspective plane. So now that we know how to use the Active Plane Widget, or more importantly the keyboard shortcuts, let's take a look at putting some artwork together quickly, in this Perspective Drawing. I'll press Command+A or Ctrl+A, and just delete the artwork on my Artboard. I'll start by drawing the basic outlines of the building.

I'll tap the 1 key on my keyboard to highlight the left plane, and I'll click and drag over here to create the basic outline of that building. I'll tap the D key for default, which will reset this to a white rectangle with a 1-point black stroke. In fact, it's probably going to be easy for me to draw this without any Fill whatsoever, so I'm going to go over here to the Fill Setting and just set it to None. Now that I've done that, I want to start drawing the artwork, or the rectangle, for this side of the building. I'll tap the 3 key on my keyboard to now highlight this actual perspective plane and once again, I'll start clicking and dragging to draw this shape over here.

You can see how quickly and easily you can actually build artwork in Perspective in this way. There's a nice little border here at the top of the building, so I can actually start to draw a rectangle from there as well. I'll tap the 1 key on my keyboard to do the same thing here for this side. Next, I want to add the windows and the doors. So once again, I'll tap 3 to move to that Active Plane, click and drag to draw the window, and then also click and drag to draw the door as well. Once you get the hang of using the keyboard shortcuts, it's really easy to quickly draw artwork in Perspective.

Just remember to tap the 4 key to disable any Active Planes, and that way you can draw artwork without being mapped or attached to any Perspective Plane.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator CS5 Essential Training .

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Q: Despite clicking the rectangle icon on the toolbar, as shown in the video, the other tool shapes are not accessible in Illustrator. The rectangle is usable, but the star, ellipse, etc. are not, and do not appear anywhere in the toolbar. What is causing this problem?
A: These tools are grouped together, so to access them, click and hold the mouse for a second until the other tools appear. If that isn't happening, reset the Illustrator preferences file. To do so, quit Illustrator and then relaunch the application while pressing and holding the Ctrl+Alt+Shift keys. Once the Illustrator splash screen appears, release the keys and that will reset the preferences file.
Q: In the video “What are vector graphics,” the author states that if he creates a 1 inch x 1 inch Photoshop file at 300ppi image, there are 300 pixels in that image. Is that correct?
A: This statement is by the author was not totally correct. If the resolution is 300ppi, it means that there are 300 pixels across one inch, both vertically and horizontally. That would mean you'd have 90,000 pixels in a 1 inch x 1 inch image at 300 ppi.
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