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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.
Alight, in this exercise, I am going to show you that strange trick, which can be very useful sometimes absolutely necessary, where you can move an object in a perpendicular direction by pressing and holding the 5 key of all keys, and the only way I can defend this operation is that it was going to be the Tilde key but the Tilde key doesn't exist on a lot of European keyboards, so they went with 5 instead. And the reason is that 1, 2, 3 and 4 were taken up, switching between panes and between no pane of course; no perspective whatsoever and then the 5 key comes next in the sequence.
But how in the world does it work? Well, in order to show you what's up here, I have created another document and this time we are going to build the step object in perspective. So I am going to switch over to the layers panel and meatball the perspective layer, just so that we can use it as a kind of tracing template, and I'm going to reduce the Opacity value to 35% and then I am going to go ahead and lockdown this layer. So we don't end up modifying it. Now you should see the Perspective Grid on-screen. I have already created that in advance for you. If you're not seeing the Perspective Grid, then just go ahead and switch to the Perspective Grid tool and it will pop up on-screen.
Then turn on that core objects layer, and you will see the side-view; the side elevation of this object. You'll also see one of the steps from the top view and one of the steps from the front view as well and these steps are set up exactly the way that they need to be as you will see in a moment. All right, so if you've got your little widget up on-screen, make sure that the left grid is active. I have also got my Smart Guides working. So if you don't, press Ctrl+U or Command +U on a Mac to turn them on and then go ahead and grab that side-view right there and I'm trying to select it, however I've got the wrong tool selected, that's my problem.
So I will go ahead and switch from the Perspective Grid tool to the Perspective Selection tool and then I will click on that side elevation and I'll drag it. It's important that your Bounding Box is not visible at this point. So go ahead and drag it by the bottom-right corner so that you snap into alignment or at least align with that intersection of the panes down there at the bottom of the grid. Next, I want you to press Ctrl+Shift+B and we are going to be switching back and forth a lot, by the way, in order to pull this effect off because it's a combination of tedium and automation, as you are about to see.
So press Ctrl+Shift+B or Command+Shift+B in order to turn on the Bounding Box, and then I'm going to drag the upper- left corner like so in order to scale the elevation like this, that's about right. Next, I want you to go ahead and grab the front-view of this orange step here, and I am going to go ahead and drag it by its bottom-left corner, but if I do that now, of course, I'll scale the shape. So I'll press Ctrl+Shift+B again or Command+Shift+B once again in order to turn off the Bounding Box, and then I will go ahead and drag the shape down; it's aligning to the left-hand grid, that's not what I want.
So I'll press the 3 key to align it to the right grid, and drag it into position and it would be nice if we were snapping into alignment but it doesn't seem to be doing that for me. So I'll just have to eyeball it here and try to get it as exact as possible, and I might want to go ahead and zoom in as well. So I can see what I'm doing. Now press Ctrl+Shif+B again or Command+Shift+B in order to bring back the Bounding Box, and go ahead and scale that shape up into the right like so, so that it matches essentially the template in the background.
Okay, here is the amazing thing. We are going to go ahead and grab this top-view and it doesn't really make sense that it's coming in as a vertical element, but as soon as you press the 2 key in order to switch to the ground level, it goes ahead and amazingly snaps to the grid exactly as it should. So those of you, who are familiar with creating these kinds of elevations, the Perspective Grid is set up to work along with you. All right, I am going to go ahead and drag this bottom-right corner, because I still have my Bounding Box turned on, in order to scale that step and then I will drag up into the right in order to scale outward like so, so that I am more or less once again matching the scene, and I'm trying to get it exactly right.
And the reason it's so important to get the alignment on as much as you can to the degree that you can, is that every little weirdness, every little nonalignment is going to be accentuated as we continue to work. All right! So that looks like a pretty good match to me. Now what I'd love to do? Wouldn't this would be great, is to grab both the top-view and the side-view here and replicate them over and over again. Problem is when you're working in Perspective; you can only select objects on one pane at a time, which I don't understand at all.
I don't now why that's an issue but we are going to have to replicate these steps independently; the fronts and the top views of the steps that is. All right, so having selected this front -view, I am going to go ahead and press Ctrl+Shift+B or Command+Shift+B on a Mac in order to turn off my Bounding Box and I'm going to drag this corner right there, and what I would like to do is just drag it up to this location, but it doesn't scale properly. Now I have no idea why this is. Why is that that it doesn't scale properly? It seems like it would automatically, but it doesn't.
So I'll go ahead and undo that maneuver there. What you have to do is move this object in a perpendicular direction and you do that, I'll go ahead and drag the top corner although I think that's going to go ahead and select the top step. So I'm going to move this orange object to the top of the stack by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Left Bracket or Command+Shift+Left Bracket on the Mac, and I apologize that I'm just using keyboard shortcuts here but this is when you need keyboard shortcuts is when you're having two tediously manipulate a bunch of objects one after another.
So I'll go ahead and drag this top-left point and I'm given drag it back to this location there, and I am going to press and hold the 5 key as I'm working in. Notice now it scales exactly into place. I still have the 5 key down and I am going to add the Alt key or the Option key on a Mac, in order to go ahead and clone that shape as well. And now I will go ahead, and drag it up to the desired location and I think that's a match, although I'm not sure if we have things dead on right there. We may have a little bit of misalignment, but it looks pretty good.
All right, so I'll go ahead and zoom out some more and then I'll drag this guy, and I got to do the exact same thing. So let's go ahead and move him to the top of the stack by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Right Bracket or Command+Shift+Right Bracket on the Mac, and this time and this is where it gets kind of confusing. You don't drag this step shape over to the left, you are going to drag it upward. So go ahead and drag by the far left point, if you're working along with me and drag it up, like so. Notice that it's not scaling properly at all, until you press and hold the 5 key and then it does.
And with the 5 key down, go ahead and add Alt or Option on the Mac and then release, and you end up getting this step there, and now you need to drag it into the proper position which should be right about there I figure. All right, so the good news is we've got two steps down. The bad news is we still have two steps to go and we have this rear step thing as well, and we are going to create that and you will see that we have a higher degree of automation. Now that we have multiple shapes on the same pane, we can go ahead and duplicate those shapes in pairs, which will save us some time in the next exercise.
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