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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.
In this exercise I am going to show you how to rework a couple of tricky paths so that they obey the strict perspective of our scene. I have saved my progress as Bad right side.ai, and you may recall that even though this right-hand wall is the right height, granted it has a little bit of a gap at the bottom, well that's covered up by the baseboard, and it's the right width as well. However, these corner points up here are at entirely the wrong position. So what I want to do is move them into the proper position, so that they are aligned the end perspective.
I can't do that just by dragging with a tool. I showed you that in the previous exercise. Instead, I'm going to take advantage of the Shear tool and if you're not seeing the Shear tool in the toolbox, you select it from the Scale tool flyout menu. Now the Shear tool, just like all of the standard transformation tools, is not perspective savvy. So it has no idea what's going on with the perspective grid. However, you can make it work exactly with the grid just by properly setting the transformation origin. What you need to do is click on the vanishing point that's associated with the active plane.
So in our case, the shape is on the right plane. So I'll click here on right vanishing point and you can see if you look closely here, you can see a little cyan target that's the transformation origin. Next, make sure just the points that you want to move are selected. So I've gone ahead and selected those two offending anchor points with the White Arrow tool, then you want to drag directly on one of those anchor points with your Smart Guides on, by the way. Go ahead and drag it down. Press the Shift key as you drag, so you are constraining yourself to a vertical skew, and then once you snap into alignment, release, and notice that that gives you an exact perspective match.
So if you check out the placement of the points and you can see your grid inside of the right-hand pane, then you'll notice that the points are equidistant in perspective from those gridlines. That's exactly what we want. So the tool that's so essential for creating isometric projections is also very useful for matching the perspective of the scene. Next thing I want to do is draw the roof, and the roof doesn't really have a pane associated with it. Bear in mind, we have got left-hand vertical pane. Now we've got a right-hand vertical pane, and then we have got what we might call the horizontal ground plane, but we have nothing that slants like the roof.
And Illustrator has no automated method for dealing with objects that are not on the strict planes. So here's what you have to do. Grab your Rectangle tool in order to select it and then switch to the left pane up here in the widget, and then I am going to go ahead and drag from this point, because I have Smart Guides turned on, I will get exact alignment. So I will go ahead and drag all the way over, so that my rectangle is essentially perpendicular to the roofline, like so, and this is where I want to put the shape believe it or not, even though it's getting covered up by the right-hand wall, we'll take care of that in the moment.
But I don't want it to be this color. I'm going to go ahead and change the Fill to 50% for all values, except for black, and for black I am going to change the value to 25%, and we'll get this color right there. What do I do? Do I rotate this item into alignment? No, because a Rotate tool is really not savvy to the perspective of the scene. You could try to make the Shear tool work, but you would have to know the exact angle of that bottom edge to make it pay off. What's easier is to just grab your White Arrow tool, which of course has no idea what's going on in perspective.
Go ahead and click on that top-right point to make it active. Shift+Click on the top left point to make it active as well. Now I'll press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y on a Mac to switch to the Outline mode, so I can see the background image, and I'll go ahead and drag this point until it snaps into alignment with the apex there of my roof, and that goes and moves both the points, which is a great thing, and that ensures that this point; the right-hand point is in strict alignment with the scene. The left hand point is not however. So I am going to click off of it, click on it again in order to select it, and then drag it over like so, until it roughly blocks into alignment there.
And I want to go ahead and match the angle of that existing roofline. That is not the one necessarily in a photograph, but rather the one I just drew. So I just want to drag along that roofline and then when I snap into alignment with that other path, that's just fine. Actually that works out beautifully and you end up getting this effect here. Now I'll press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y in a Mac in order to switch back to the Preview mode. It looks like we're not entirely in alignment down in this lower right region of the roof. I'll press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y on a Mac again, in order to go ahead and switch to the Outline mode and it looks like none of those points are really aligned properly.
So I am going to do a little marquee right there in order to select them, and thank goodness, there are all kinds of different layers. We have got one that's yellow, one that's orange, and one that's blue, so they must be part of the perspective one middle stuff and front stuff layers. Meanwhile, I have gone ahead and selected a few segments that I am not interested in modifying, but let's see how this works. With these three-point selected, I'm going to go up to the Object menu, choose Path and choose Average. We'll press Ctrl+Alt+J, Command+Option+J on a Mac, select both, click OK and see how that reconciles.
It worked out beautifully. Go ahead and click off the shapes in order to deselect them. Finally, I was telling you, if we switch back to the Preview mode, yet again, by pressing Ctrl+Y, Command+Y on a Mac; we do have a problem path outlined. The sky is sticking up too high. Well, there's not really a way to put them in the right place, so if we go and select the path with the Black Arrow tool by clicking on it, and then press Ctrl+X in order to cut it and then click on the roof in order to select it and press Ctrl+B in order to paste it back, then you have this weird little bit of roof, that's covering up that path outline.
So that's not what we want. I'll press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z a couple of times in a row, to put that wall back where it was, and I am going to do this instead. This is a poor man's perspective technique right here. I am going to go ahead and grab the Pen tool and I am going to press Ctrl+U or Command+U on a Mac to get rid of all that Smart Guides folderol, and let's see, which layers should I be working on? I should be working on the Perspective 2 layer. So I will go ahead and click, like so, in order to draw a path outline that's going to carve away this section right there of that portion of the wall, and then I will get my Black Arrow tool, click on the shape to select it.
Shift+Click on this background shape to select it as well, and just to avoid any color problems, I am going to press the I key to get my Eyedropper, and I am going to click inside of this red shape in order to lift its color. So this way I am just ensured that once I get done applying a Pathfinder operation, I don't switch the color of the shape. Now I am going to bring up my Pathfinder panel and I am going to click on this second icon Minus Front. in order to subtract that top shape from the bottom shape and we end up carving away that offending information.
And then I'll go ahead and hide the Pathfinder panel. Now you may say to me, Hey Deke! You are just ruining that path. It's no longer a perspective rectangle. Well, it's no longer a rectangle, that's for sure, but it is the perspective freeform shape, and that's just fine. In the next exercise I am going to show you how to add some perspective windows as symbols.
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