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

Rendering an off-plane path in perspective


Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

with Deke McClelland

Video: Rendering an off-plane path in perspective

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, 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.
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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

Rendering an off-plane path in perspective

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, 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.

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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