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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.
I've saved the results of the previous exercise as The glass box.ai and in this exercise, I am going to give you a sense of what's meant by the 1-point, 2-point or 3-point perspective grid. Now this is not Illustrator's nomenclature by the way. This is standard perspective drawing. You can have one vanishing point, or two vanishing points, or three vanishing points. Now that doesn't necessarily mean that a perspective drawing created with one vanishing point is somehow not going to look as good as one rendered with three vanishing point.
However, three vanishing points is a heck of a lot more complicated. So let me show you what's going on there. I've got this other illustration that I've credit for you, that's called Perspective varieties.ai and it contains three different photographs that are rendered with different levels of perspective. These are real-world photographs from the Fotolia Image Library. Right now, here inside the layers panel, I have all three of the layers turned on. I am going to twirl open the 1-point layer which is at top here. This is 1-point perspective that is everything is declining toward a single common vanishing point and to give you a sense of what that looks like, I've got this grid object right there.
Go ahead and turn it on and you'll see this mesmerizing bunch of junk here, that's explaining how a 1-point perspective scene works. So what we are seeing here is a green Horizon Line and that Horizon Line is cutting through the horizon of the scene. So this is a way photographs work. So real-world photographs are real-world sightlines as well. The biggest difference between the way that we see a scene and a standard camera sees a scene is that we have binocular vision, so that we can actually perceive depth by reconciling the vision of the world from our two eyes.
However, otherwise depth is imparted to us as a functional perspective. So we've got this Horizon Line and that's really it in this scene. And then we have got these Trajectory Lines that are declining toward this Single Vanishing Point. And you might think of the Trajectory Lines as representing a left-hand plane and a right-hand plane but as we'll see in Illustrator you've just got one plane that you can flop back and forth like a door on a hinge. However, you can draw in both directions just like we are seeing here. The effect that you get when you're working with a Single Vanishing Point is that everything is flat on.
So in other words everything along the ground level here is going to be completely represented as horizontal, and all of the vertical elements are going to be exactly vertical as well, and that's represented by these gridlines. So these purple lines are evenly spaced grid increments. Now, as you gosh! And you are, oh this is drawn by hands, these were not created using the Perspective tool inside of Illustrator, but they are representative of how this scene works. I am going to go ahead and twirl close 1-point and turn int off to reveal in the background the 2-point layer, and this is an example of a scene that's rendered in 2-point perspective.
If I twirl this layer open, it has a grid as well. I will go ahead and turn on that grid and now I have added another color here so that we are seeing the left pane represented in orange with its left-hand trajectory lines, and we are seeing the right pane represented in red with its right trajectory lines. Now the reason I'm not absorbing Illustrator's coloring, which is blue for the left pane and orange for the right pane. It's just because I want these lines to standout from the background photograph. There is the Horizon Line down here at the bottom of this building, so we have a pretty low angle view of this scene and then we have these gridlines as well.
So the gridlines are absolutely vertical in this case, because we have just got two vanishing points and that's it, but we did lose the horizontal gridlines. So we are left with vertical no horizontal this time. We have also got a Left Vanishing Point and a Right Vanishing Point. Notice that they are shown as being off- screen and that's because their way out there. I am going to have to zoom out in order to take in those points. There is the right-hand vanishing point right there, so it's that point at which the trajectory lines converge at the Horizon Line.
By the way if I turn on one point again, that goes for the 1-point perspective scene as well. The vanishing point is that point at which the trajectory lines intersect the Horizon Line, that's always the way it is. All right! I am going to turn off that 1-point layer, so we can see what's going on inside this 2-point scene. Way over here on the left-hand side is the Left Vanishing Point, so that's where the Left Trajectory Lines converge with that Horizon Line and basically, anything at that point, it vanishes into nothingness because it goes beyond our ability to see it, and really that might be a function of it escapes me on the curvature of the earth or what have you but it evaporates into nothingness.
I am going to press Ctrl+1 or Command+1 in order to zoom back into the 100% view here. I'll collapse my 2-point layer and turn it off. Now we can see in the background, the scene rendered in 3-point perspective. In this case, we have Trajectory Lines going every which way. There are no horizontal or vertical gridlines left anymore, everything is on a trajectory. So we have got a left pane, and we have got a right pane and then we have got another pane that's disappearing into the sky. So to see what that looks like, I am going to twirl open the 3-point layer and I am going to turn on its grid and things are quite complicated at this point.
Now we are not going to create a scene using 3-point perspective in the Illustrator and I am going to tell you why because it makes you want to claw your eyes out. I mean it's just not a pleasant thing I have to tell you. So you can try it out and all you have to do to set up a 3-point Perspective Grid is go ahead and select a Perspective Grid tool and then once you have done that, once you have your basic grid on scene, you go up to the View menu, you choose Perspective Grid and you choose Three Point Perspective and then you choose this [3P-Normal View] command right there which represents the default setting.
However, it's going to be quite a bit different than the scene that we're seeing here. You will be looking down on the buildings from a great height, as oppose to up at the buildings from ground level. That's up to you, you can try it out, but I do want you to understand how Three Point Perspective works, if only for your edification. Notice here we've got the left-hand trajectory lines once again that a left-hand pane represented as orange lines. We've got the right-hand pane represented as red lines and they are overlapping each other. These panes are intersecting each other at this point, so that the left-hand trajectory lines are really defining the right-hand building and the right trajectory lines are defining the left hand building.
That's totally okay, that's great for interior scene as opposed at exterior as well, and then we have these yellow lines that are representing the Zenith Trajectory Lines. What that means is that the vanishing point is located at the top of the scene. If the vanishing point is underneath the scene, it's called Nadir. All right! so I am going to go ahead and zoom out here because notice we have got a left-hand vanishing point and a right- hand vanishing point and the Horizon Line is also off-screen. So in order to find those, we are going to have to zoom way out.
They are way down there as you can see. I am zoomed quite of ways out from my illustration. But just projecting the scene, the Horizon Line must be here. So this would be basically where we're standing looking up at the scene. And then the right-hand vanishing point is located at this convergence, where the red Trajectory Lines intersect with the green Horizon Line and then the left-hand Vanishing Point is over here where the orange Trajectory Lines intersect the green Horizon Line. So way, way out there and that's part of the problem with representing a Three-Point Perspective Grid.
You have to zoom way the heck out in order to set up the grid in the first place. I will press Ctrl+1, Command+1 on the Mac in order to zoom back in. that's how these various vanishing point scenarios work out. Regardless of whether you set up a 1-point grid a 2-point grid, or a 3-point grid it's still a three-dimensional scene. I want you to bear in mind, its not like a 1-point grid is a 1D scene and a 2-point grid is a 2D scene, that's nonsense. They're all three-dimensional scenes. It just depends on what your view of that scene is and you can see here, if I go ahead and turn back on the 1-point perspective view, that that is still a very compelling scene.
Some of the most amazing high renaissance paintings were created using 1-point perspective and they look absolutely great. So what I caution you to do is try to work in 1-point or 2-point perspective for all of your perspective needs, that's just going to keep things that much simpler in a long run.
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