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Learn what it takes to design your own mind-bending illusion, in this installment of Designs dekeConstructed—the series that breaks down popular graphic designs and show you how to re-create them on your own. Deke starts out by drawing an "impossible" Penrose triangle and a golden ball in Adobe Illustrator. Next, he plots a path for the ball to follow around the triangle. Last, he moves to Photoshop, where he shows you how to animate the ball with a combination of layer masks and the timeline.
Want more dekeConstructed design techniques? Check out the other courses in the series here.
In this movie, we'll duplicate our lone path outline, to create this impossible Penrose triangle. I'm going to start things off, by moving our shape to an independent layer. So, assuming your Layers panel is open in the bottom right corner of the screen. Go ahead and press the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac and click on the little page icon at the bottom of the panel. Because you have the Alt or Option key down that will force the display of the Layer Options dialog box. At which point, just go ahead and call this guy Penrose.
And then, click OK. To move the shape to this layer, make sure it's selected by clicking on it with the black arrow tool and then drag that little blue square, inside the Layers panel up to the new red Penrose layer. And that will go ahead and move the path, to the new layer. All right. Now we need to duplicate it. And we're going to do so using the Rotate tool. And the easiest way to pull this off is to double-click on the Rotate tool. Here inside the toolbox, which will force the display of the rotate dialog box.
Then change the angle to 120 degrees because after all, 360 degrees describes a full circle, so that would rotate the shape back to it's current location. And 360 divided by 3 is 120. And then, assuming that the preview check box is on, you can press the Tab key to preview the effect. And assuming that things look more or less like you see them here, then go ahead and click the Copy button in order to copy that shape. Now, we'll create another copy by going up to the Object menu, choosing Transform, and choosing Transform Again.
Or you can press the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+D or Cmd+D on a Mac, which is short for Duplicate. And you'll create another copy of the path, like so. Now notice if you will, that not only have we rotated the path outlines, but we've also rotated the gradients inside them, which is exactly what we want. Of course, the path outlines aren't in the right locations. So press the V key to switch back to the black arrow tool, and then click on this path right here to select it. Now, drag it by it's bottom right anchor point.
This is why it's so important that the bounding box is turned off. Go ahead and drag it by it's bottom right anchor point until it snaps into alignment at this location right here. Now, go ahead and click on the final path outline, and drag it by one of its anchor points until it snaps into alignment with the guide lines in the background, to produce this final effect. Now, I'll click off the path outline to deselect it. And I'll turn off the hex guides layer, so that I can see that impossible triangle by itself.
And that friends finishes up our creation of the initial Penrose triangle, here inside Adobe Illustrator.
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