Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery
Illustration by John Hersey

Perspective Grid tips and tricks


Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

with Deke McClelland

Video: Perspective Grid tips and tricks

I've saved my progress as Initial house and in this exercise I am going to pass along a few tips and tricks for working with perspective grids, because there is a heck of a lot of bells and whistles going on here and there is a few top secret hidden tricks as well. Now I have set up my grid. It's visible on-screen and I've selected the Perspective Grid tool. Now note that you can hide the grid at any point in time when one of the grid savvy tools is selected. So that is to say, if the Selection tool is active, which is not a grid savvy tool, and you try to click on that little close box above the widget, nothing happens.
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  1. 37m 22s
    1. Welcome
    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
    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
    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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Watch the Online Video Course Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery
13h 5m Advanced Jan 28, 2011

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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.

Topics include:
  • Working with dynamic effects
  • Placing artwork as a Photoshop Smart Object
  • Creating and editing a Gradient Mesh
  • Distorting artwork with an Envelope Mesh
  • Using the Calligraphic, Art, and Scatter Brushes
  • Creating an intricate Pattern Brush
  • Importing and graphing data
  • Creating a complex pictograph
  • Drawing and editing a perspective shape
  • Working with the new Perspective Grid tool
  • Using the 3D Revolve effect
  • Creating 3D type with Extrude & Bevel
  • Recording and playing automated actions
Deke McClelland

Perspective Grid tips and tricks

I've saved my progress as Initial house and in this exercise I am going to pass along a few tips and tricks for working with perspective grids, because there is a heck of a lot of bells and whistles going on here and there is a few top secret hidden tricks as well. Now I have set up my grid. It's visible on-screen and I've selected the Perspective Grid tool. Now note that you can hide the grid at any point in time when one of the grid savvy tools is selected. So that is to say, if the Selection tool is active, which is not a grid savvy tool, and you try to click on that little close box above the widget, nothing happens.

It just ignores you and that's ridiculous in my opinion, but that's the way it works. However, if you switch to one of the grid savvy tools like the Rectangle tool and then you click on the little close box, then the grid goes away. As soon as you click on the Perspective Grid tool which is also of course grid savvy, so you can click the close box with it as well. But as soon as you switch back to the Perspective Grid tool, the perspective grid comes back up on-screen. I was telling you can also go to the View menu, choose Perspective Grid, and choose this command to hide the grid or show the grid. Normally, it has a keyboard shortcut and I apologize for this.

I stepped all over it with Deke keys. By default, it's Ctrl+Shift+I or Command+Shift+I on a Mac. But I went ahead and reassigned that keyboard shortcut without really thinking to the Inverse command. So if you don't like that then you can go over here to the Edit menu choose keyboard Shortcuts, dig your way to that hide or show Perspective Grid command and go ahead and reassign the keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+Shift+I, Command+Shift+I on the Mac to it. Anyway, I really don't find this shortcut to be necessary, because after all, all you have to do is click this close box in order to hide the grid, switch to a different tool, switch back to the Perspective Grid tool, and then it comes back up on-screen.

The other thing to bear in mind is that you have one and only one perspective grid per document. So I don't care if you've got 15 artboards all over the place. You've got one perspective grid. If you need a different perspective grid for each of your artboards, guess what? You're going to have to put them in separate documents. That's just the way it is. Also, the perspective grid is not like a guideline. It doesn't exist on a specific layer. You can't hide it and show it and lock from the layers panel. So basically you've got this one grid that exists independently of all of your layers.

I was telling you about how these panes right here can end up getting foreshortened. What we're seeing is a very long left-hand pane and a very short right-hand pane. Even though I've dragged this knob way out here, I'm just not getting anymore grid action. That's because Illustrator is unable the render the grid at this resolution. The idea is that if Illustrator had to pack into many trajectory lines, the ones that are extending to the vanishing point and the vertical gridlines, then a grid would end up being opaque at a certain point and you won't be able to see your artwork.

It doesn't matter whether you can see much of this pane or not, you can draw on the pane all the way to the vanishing point and way beyond in front of the pane as well. So it's just a visual guideline, but you may feel like you want more of a pane and I will come back to that in a moment. But first let's say that the gird is too opaque for your taste. You want to make it more translucent. Well, in that case you go up to the View menu, you choose the Perspective Grid command, and then you choose this command right there, Define Grid, a hard command to get to but pretty useful when you're setting up the grid in the first place.

At that point you can change that Opacity value. I'll go ahead and take it down to 35% let's say. You can change the colors of your various panes to your heart's content. That's about all I do inside of this dialog box other than save a preset, which we will do in a moment. You can also change your grid resolution here if you want to numerically as opposed to just dragging that little diamond shaped gadget on-screen. If you're Mr. Science then you can work with these values right there, but I just go ahead and adjust the grid manually on-screen. At any rate I am going to click OK in order to make those gridlines more translucent as you're seeing them there.

But let's say you don't want any gridlines. You just don't want to see them at all. Well, check this out. This is the wackiest technique. Notice that we've got these little knobs right here and there's three of them altogether and they look like little circles inside of circles, perhaps wheels. One of them this guy right here controls the ground plane. So you can drag that plane up or down if you so desire. Then the other two allow you to swing those left-hand and right-hand panes. But notice that they are not color-coded, which I think is really odd. I would like to see this one be green and this one be orange and this one be blue, for example.

Well, you can do that plus more my Alt+Clicking or Option+Clicking on the Mac. So if I Alt+Click or Option+Click on that little control right there, then I end up switching from the grid to a translucent pane, and I also get a color-coded marker. Why isn't that the default, at least for the marker? Then if you Alt+Click or Option+Click again and you'll totally get rid of that pane and all you've got is this line just one line extending back to the vanishing point. If you want to restore your grid you Alt+Click or Option+Click again and then if you want to go back to the translucent overlay you Alt+Click or Option+Click once again, the third time in my case.

Now I am going to do the same thing for the other ones. I am going to Alt+Click or Option+Click on this guy in order to create a translucent right-hand pane as well as an orange marker, very handy. Then I will Alt+Click or Option+Click on this one in order to establish a translucent green ground plane and create a green marker. Having done that, let's say that this is my ideal perspective grid, and then you want to go and save it by going up to the View menu, choosing Perspective Grid once again, and then choosing Define Grid. Notice that I am not showing you any right- clicking techniques, because they don't exist.

Anyway, I am going to go ahead and choose Define Grid. I'll click on Save Preset and I'm going to call this Favorite house grid let's say, because I've got a couple of other set up. Then I'll click OK. Now I have this house grid and I can come back to it anytime I like. I will click OK in order to hide the dialog box and now you'll notice here in the View menu if you go down a perspective grid, you'll see Two Point Perspective and there's Favorite house grid. Now another thing to note is that these settings are not saved along with your document. Rather they're saved as global preference settings, which mean it's easy to lose them.

If Illustrator crashes, which happened to me before this exercise actually, then you will lose any grids you've saved during that session. So it's one of those things if you really want to preserve that grid setting, then you want to go ahead and save your changes of course, but then go ahead and quit the program and restart it. That is my random collection of tips and tricks for working with the perspective grid here inside Illustrator.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery .

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Q: The instructions for installing the dekeKeys don't work on my computer (which is running Mac OS X Lion). Is there an update to these?
A: The dekeKeys distributed with this course will still work for Lion. You just need to add them to a slightly different folder than in previous versions of OS X.

Open a new Finder window and choose Go > Go to Folder. Type the following file path exactly as written below. Copying and pasting may result in an error.

~/Library/Preferences/Adobe Illustrator CS5 Settings/en_US

Move and/or copy/paste the dekeKeys to this folder and follow the rest of the instructions as outlined in the video, "Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts."
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