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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 Illustrator's 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.
The Perspective Grid feature inside of Illustrator CS5 is fantastic for defining grids and for drawing artwork directly in Perspective. But perhaps one of the most powerful aspects of this Perspective Grid is your ability to take two-dimensional artwork, or artwork that is not attached to any specific plane, and manually attach that artwork to a plane, in other words, create art as you normally would and then snap it into the right perspective when required. In addition, you'll find this tremendous amount of functionality built-in into Illustrator's Perspective Grid for editing artwork that already exists inside of a Perspective.
Let's take a look. In this case, I already have a file that has a Perspective Grid defined and some artwork already drawn. But let's say I want to put some text along the side of this building, maybe like a sign, for example. Well, let's start on a very basic level by just creating some text inside of Illustrator. I use my Type tool to simply click on the artboard here and notice, by the way, that when you are using the Type tool inside of Illustrator, it does not put that type in Perspective. The actual live-type editing mode inside of Illustrator does not work inside of a Perspective mode. This is true, even though you can see over here that I currently have the right plane active.
But I will type in the word, for example, like FLOWERS. Let me choose a typeface that may be little bit more floral than Myriad. I will choose Papyrus for this example. I'll change the point size something more significant like maybe 60 point. Now say I want the word FLOWERS to appear across the top part of the building over here in Perspective. Rather than using Drawing tools to actually create artwork in Perspective already, I can take regular plane 2D art like I have right here and place it on to a grid, where we call that attaching this artwork to a Perspective Grid.
To do so, I will need to perform two steps. First, I will come over to the Tools panel and underneath the Perspective Grid tool, if I click and hold my mouse button down, you will see another tool called the Perspective Selection tool. We are going to spend a lot of time in this movie using this tool because it allows us to work in Perspective with any kind of object. Next, I want to make sure that I am telling Illustrator which plane I want to attach this artwork to. Currently, if you take a look at my active plane widget, I have the right grid selected, which is really where I want this to go. But keep in mind the keyboard shortcuts.
Tapping the 1, 2 or 3 key on my keyboard will allow me to toggle between those different planes. Now that I have the right plane chosen, all I need to do is simply click and drag on the artwork, and Illustrator automatically snaps it to the active plane. While it appears that Illustrator converted this text to outlines, it does so purely to put this onto the grid, but the text is still editable. In order for me to change the type, all I need to do is simply double-click on it, and I go into Isolation mode. This allows me to change the text as I need to, and then when I am ready to exit Isolation mode, simply tap twice on the Escape key to get me back to my regular Editing mode.
It is important to realize that there's a difference between the regular Selection tool inside of Illustrator and the Perspective Selection tool. If you want to work in Perspective, you will always have to use the Perspective Selection tool. Otherwise, you may be moving your artwork without being tied to the grid. Let me give you an example of what I mean. If I take the regular Selection tool and I click on this rectangle right here, which is currently attached to this right grid, I'll see that moving this artwork does not do so in any perspective. Let me Undo that, and I will now switch to the Perspective Selection tool.
Now when I move the shape, I can see that it does move in Perspective. So you just want to make sure that when you are working inside of Illustrator and you're dealing with perspective that you're using the Perspective Selection tool. When you are using the Perspective Selection tool, you can also click on the handles of any shape that's attached to grid and resize them according to the Perspective. Let's say you want to take a piece of artwork that is currently attached to one perspective plane and move it onto another perspective plane. You can do that using the Perspective Selection tool in tandem with the active plane widget.
Let's see how that works. When I use my Perspective Selection tool to click and drag on this rectangle, because it is attached to this grid right now, it is actually moving in perspective as I move it around. If I'd like to attach this object to a different plane, what I can do is I can use the keyboard shortcuts to toggle between different planes in my document. For example, if I tap the 1 key while still clicking and dragging with the mouse, you can see that right now that shape has been changed to be attached to the left grid of my document. In this way, I was able to move a piece of artwork from one plane directly onto a different plane and automatically adjust its perspective.
For example, let me show you that again with the word FLOWERS. I am using the Perspective Selection tool. I will click on the word FLOWERS to select it. I will start dragging. I'll type in the 1 key on my keyboard to toggle to the left plane and put the word FLOWERS right in this part of the building. Now that we understand these techniques, let's actually complete this building. Let's add some more artwork and make it more detailed. I am going to start by going to the File menu here and just choosing Revert to go back to the original version of this document. You'll notice that there is a window here, and this window has a kind of a rounded top, and it has got some lines that run through it.
Well, I could possibly sit down and start drawing in some perspective, it is a lot easy for me to actually draw this head on and then map it or attach it to the Perspective Grid. I will go to my Symbols panel, and I've already created a symbol with the art that I need. I am going to drag that out onto my artboard. I now want to attach this symbol to my Perspective Grid. I'll make sure I have my Perspective Selection tool selected, I will make the right grid active, and then I will simply move this piece of artwork into position. While I am still using the Perspective Selection tool, I can hold down the Shift key and scale this just as if I would scale any other piece of artwork.
Working with Symbols is actually a great way to work with Perspective as well, because I can always double-click on the Symbol to edit its appearance. Tapping Escape to exit returns me back to my document and automatically updates that art in Perspective. I have two other elements I want to work on over here, one is this sign in this part of the building, and the other one is this sign that appears in this part of the building. Let's start with the sign. I am actually going to zoom in just a little bit closer here so we could focus on this one area of the building. Next I will drag out a symbol here called the Seeds Sign. Rather than have the word FLOWERS here, my client decided they wanted to actually advertise that this place sells a certain type of seed.
So I need to attach this artwork to the Perspective Grid, but here is the thing. The sign kind of sticks out from this side of the building. So it really needs to be mapped to this grid over here. So let's see how I will do that. I am going to start by selecting the Perspective Selection tool. I will choose the right grid that I want this artwork to be attached to, which in this case is the left grid, and then I will click and drag to add that symbol or to attach that symbol to that grid. Again, because I am using the Perspective Selection tool, as I move this, this piece of artwork adjusts its perspective.
Now I can move the artwork completely way off the grid over here. Remember, that the grid itself is just a way for me to visualize where that is. But the grid, in theory, exists throughout my entire document. It does extend even beyond the visible areas. But there is something a little bit different about this one element that I want to talk about. If move this shape to about right over here, this would mean that the actual sign itself would be sticking out on the corner of the building. But the sign really sticks out a little bit further into the building. So what I need to do is I need to take this piece of art and move it in a perpendicular direction, meaning that it stays right now where it is, but kind of moves further back so that it now looks like it is actually sticking out of this side of the building.
To do so, I am going to click and start dragging this element right now. You'll notice that right now this piece of artwork is being sent back perpendicular, but it is still being attached to the left grid plane. You can see that a line right now appears indicating that. I will move it to right about over here and in this case here, I can see that the sign does appear where it needs to go. One thing I want to point out, many times when working with a Perspective Grid, it may be easier to turn off the Snap to Grid option. To do so, go to the View menu, choose Perspective Grid and make sure that Snap to Grid is turned off.
This way your artwork won't automatically try to snap to these elements here and you get the position just as you need it. Now to complete the true appearance of this sign, I have to give it some kind of thickness. I actually want to create some depth here, so I will need to create some new shapes. I will choose the Rectangle tool, and I will also go ahead and use the keyboard shortcuts so I can draw these elements on the planes where they need to go. For example, if I start drawing right now, because the left grid is currently my active grid, my artwork is not going to appear correct. I want this particular shape to be drawn on this grid here, on the right grid.
So I am going to tap the 3 on my keyboard. Now when I click and drag, you can see that Smart Guides automatically indicate to me where these anchors are, so I can get it to snap just the place that I needed. Let me give some thickness to it, now I will go ahead, and I will bring it just about over there. Next I will hit the 2 key on my keyboard. That will now highlight the ground grid or the horizontal grid, and now I can simply move over here, click and drag and then again connect the anchor point that way. Now with my regular Selection tool, I can select these two elements here and apply a color to them.
As you can see, if I zoom out a little bit, I was now able to create a sign that looks like it is actually protruding out from the building with the right perspective. So there you have it: a nice way to actually work in Perspective inside of Illustrator, but more importantly, the ability to combine both the two dimensional worlds and also the perspective worlds and getting your artwork to look exactly that you want it to without having to work too hard to get it.
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