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Drawing a basic perspective cube

From: Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

Video: Drawing a basic perspective cube

Now that you have a rudimentary idea of what's going on with the perspective grid here inside Illustrator, we are going to create a very basic perspective drawing. You should see the perspective grid on-screen if you're working along with me, if you can't see it, go to the View menu, choose Perspective Grid and then choose Show Grid, and then the grid will leap to life. One of the great things about the grid is that it works in harmony with a geometric shape tools. So armed with any of these tools, rectangle through star, you can draw directly in perspective onto the grid.

Drawing a basic perspective cube

Now that you have a rudimentary idea of what's going on with the perspective grid here inside Illustrator, we are going to create a very basic perspective drawing. You should see the perspective grid on-screen if you're working along with me, if you can't see it, go to the View menu, choose Perspective Grid and then choose Show Grid, and then the grid will leap to life. One of the great things about the grid is that it works in harmony with a geometric shape tools. So armed with any of these tools, rectangle through star, you can draw directly in perspective onto the grid.

The most obvious tool to work with of course is a Rectangle tool. So I will go ahead and select it or press the M key. Then I want you to notice this widget, which is by default located in the upper left corner of the Illustration window. And it is showing you exactly which pane is active, so by default the left grid is active, and notice, it has a keyboard of 1. So you have got keyboard shortcuts of 1 through 4. You don't have to press Ctrl or Command or anything else. And the reason I mention this; right now we don't need the shortcut. Later on it'll become extremely useful when we start moving path outlines between panes.

But anyway, right now the left-hand grid is active. The bottom of this cube takes you to the horizontal grip, which is the ground pane, and then the right side of the cube takes you to the right grid, and then finally if you click outside the cube but inside this circle, then you deactivate the grid so that you can draw normally. In our case we want to draw on the left grid, so go ahead and make sure that's selected, and then draw a rectangle like so, and notice that it comes in perspective just totally awesome. Now I am going to go ahead and change the Fill to Transparent up here in the Control panel.

So I will click that Fill Swatch and I will select None, in order to get rid of the fill, just so I can see what I am doing here. And then I am going to draw shape over here on the right-hand grid, but notice as I draw, I am continuing to draw on the left-hand pane. Why in the world is that? Well, that's because that's what I told Illustrator I wanted to do, which is actually really great. Because you can to extend your artwork in any direction you want regardless of which pane you think you're drawing on. So, I don't want that obviously. I will press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac to undo it, and I am going to switch here inside the Widget.

I am going to click on the Right Gird to make it active, it appears orange, because that's the default color for that pane, and then I will drag from here to here like so, and I am trying to make sure I am aligning this intersection point. If you're having a problem making things align properly, then just try dragging farther to the right or taking it in a little bit or what have you, basically what's happening is Illustrator is snapping to the Perspective Grid. Now I want to draw a shape across the top of the steps, and to do that I have to select a pane on the cube, but there is no top edge in the cube.

There is just a bottom edge, well same difference. So the Horizontal Grid, the ground level whatever you want to call it, it's all the same. It affects the bottom, the top of objects as well. Go ahead and click on it to make it active, it turns green, because that's the default color of the ground panes, and then drag from here to here in order to complete your cube. All right, so that's a basic cube for you, that's all it takes. Now let's say that I wanted to appear as a kind of glass box that's holding my stairs. I want to get rid of some stuff on-screen.

I don't want all this folderol, especially the Perspective Grid. It gets on your face pretty quick. So there's a couple ways to hide the grid. One is to go the View menu and choose Perspective Grid and choose Hide Grid, and of course, that's a lot of work to get to that command. Here is an easier way ostensibly, I will escape that here. You're supposed to be able to just click the Close Box to close that widget, just by clicking on Hide Grid and that worked. Sometimes it doesn't work, in which case you have got to switch to the Perspective Grid tool and close it that way. All right, and then go ahead and grab the Selection tool.

You can drag these paths around with a Black Arrow tool if you want to, but notice that they will not be in proper perspective anymore. Whether the grid is visible or not, it doesn't matter. It is just that the Standard Arrow tools do not respect the grid. So don't be doing that, instead, I will press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to undo that change, and I will go ahead and Shift+Click on these other sides in order to select them. And I am going to press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac to hide those edges, so again, I can better see what I am doing. And I believe my Fill is currently active, but I will go ahead and click the Fill in the Appearance panel just to make sure, and then I am going to select Fade to Black from the Swatches panel, which is one of the default Gradient Swatches.

And I am going to expand the Gradient panel, make a few changes here. I am going to double-click on this final color stop, and I am going to change that color to white and I am going to increase its Opacity to 100%. Then after pressing the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac, notice we now have an opaque box, so I can't see the stair thing inside. I am going to go ahead and click at the midway point in this gradient in order to add a color stop to that location. I wanted to have a Location of exactly 50%, so I will change that Location value, double-click on the Color Swatch in order to bring up the Color panel.

I am going to change the k value to 50 %, just so that it's parallel and I am going to change the Opacity to 0%, and then press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to get this affect. I don't want a Stroke, so I am going to change this stroke here in the Appearance panel from Black to None, and also I am going to click on the Fill once again to make it active and I should see an Opacity value, if not go ahead and twirl open fill. Click in Opacity and change that Opacity value to 65% in order to achieve this effect.

I want an overall stroke that resembles the big strokes that we have around the isometric and perspective objects, and I'm going to achieved that by first grouping these objects together so I will go to the Object menu, choose a Group command, or I can press Ctrl+G, Command+G on the Mac, and with my group selected here in the Appearance panel, I will go ahead and add a new stroke by clicking this bottom left icon and I want that stroke to be 3 points thick and I am going to move it down below contents, but that's not really going to make any difference, notice that, because we have these translucent fills, they are not adequately covering up those strokes.

So I'm going to have to reconcile that, but first of all I am going to click on Stroke and get rid of those strange minor joints by changing the corner to round joint, and we get that affect. Now I am going to zoom in here, because I think we've got some hairline gaps going between these objects here, and I don't think they reconcile quite properly. With this stroke active, very important, I will go up to the Effect menu and I'll choose Pathfinder and I will choose Add, which should do a virtual add, so that we don't see any of the interior lines, and that actually worked. Oh, great! That's awesome.

Everything is working up better than I anticipated, but if you've got some gaps going on. Then what you, is just switch back to your layers panel, twirl open the perspective layer and go ahead and lock down this item that's called Group that looks like the perspective stairs, so that you don't end up hurting it. And then with the other group active, press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac in order to bring back your selection edges, and I am going to press the A key to switch to my White Arrow tool, and I am going to click off the object to deselect it and then marquee these three intersecting points right there.

And then I will go up to the Object menu, choose Path and choose Average, and once that dialog box comes up, I will just go ahead and make sure both is active and click OK, and then I will go ahead and average the location of those points so that we get a nice seam, and actually that looks pretty darn good, just one more change I want to make. I am going to switch back to my Appearance panel and I'm going to double-click on Group to make the make the group active. Once again, that selects the entire group as well, notice that. Click on Stroke, because I want to move the stroke out just a little bit.

I will go up to the Effect menu, I will choose Path and I'll choose Off Set path, and I'm going to enter a value of 1.5 points and turn on Preview to make sure it's what I want, it is indeed, and I will click OK. Click off the object to deselect it. We have got a stair gadget rendered in perspective, inside of the translucent perspective box, that was drawn using the Perspective Grid tool, here inside Illustrator CS5.

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This video is part of

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

134 video lessons · 28441 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  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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