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Rotating objects in 3D space

From: Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Rotating objects in 3D space

In this exercise, I am going to show you something that is completely unrelated to Blends and Masks inside of Illustrator. So feel free to skip this exercise if you want to. However, I am here to tell you this is really cool. What we are going to do is we are going to rotate a couple of objects in 3D space, so that we match the perspective of our scene. I have gone ahead and saved my progress as Blended groups.ai, and I'm zoomed in on this fence right here. And I don't know how this slipped my notice, but this sort of back edge has gotten wedged in back of the face of the sarcophagus, and that's a real problem.

Rotating objects in 3D space

In this exercise, I am going to show you something that is completely unrelated to Blends and Masks inside of Illustrator. So feel free to skip this exercise if you want to. However, I am here to tell you this is really cool. What we are going to do is we are going to rotate a couple of objects in 3D space, so that we match the perspective of our scene. I have gone ahead and saved my progress as Blended groups.ai, and I'm zoomed in on this fence right here. And I don't know how this slipped my notice, but this sort of back edge has gotten wedged in back of the face of the sarcophagus, and that's a real problem.

This guy right there, in other words, he should be in front. And the reason he's where he is at, he used to be in the right position, but I had to bring the face of the sarcophagus up front in order to make it a clipping mask and it ended up covering up this shape. So this is really easy Illustrator stuff. It's just that we need to take care of the problem. So I will go ahead and select it with my Black Arrow tool, I will press Ctrl+X, Cmd+X on the Mac in order to cut it. Click on the face of the sarcophagus and then I will press Ctrl+F or Cmd+F on the Mac in order to paste it in front. So that's done, that was easy.

All right, now if you're working along with me, I want you to go to your Layers panel, and notice that there is a layer that's currently turned off right now, called Type & Crest. I want you to turn it on, and you'll see some type that could be live text. This would work with live text inside of Illustrator. I've turned it into path outlines just to sort of simplify things and to keep the live text from getting in our way when we are working on other objects. And then I've also got this crest up here at the top. I went ahead and drew this crest using several passes of the ellipse tool, so I drew a bunch of circles and then I assigned some strokes and I outlined the strokes, and I combined them all together using a pathfinder operation.

And that was too complicated to do in perspective. So after creating the shape and after creating the text, I then need to place them in perspective, so I want to match the perspective of the scene. So we will start with the text down here. I will go ahead and click on it to make it selected, and if I press Ctrl+H or Cmd+H, so that I hide the selection outlines for a moment. And this is a good idea when you're rotating things in 3D space, because you can better see what's going on without the selection edges in your way. Now I am going to go ahead and zoom-in. You can see that I've created a kind of embedded effect here, that is, the letters look like they're carved out of something, out of thin air in our case, because the letters are just floating on top of the scene.

If you go over to the Appearance panel, you'll see that I have two different gradient Fills set up here in the Stroke, and I have set up the Fills so that they are offset with respect to each other. I have got an Offset Path effect assigned and I have got a Transform effect. Now coming up, we have got a chapter on Advanced Type in which I'm going to tell you about how to create cool type of effects and how to create logos and all that stuff. So just stay tuned for that. In the meantime, rather than walk you through everything that's going on here, and of course, you can explore it on your own just by clicking on any one of these links, and you'll see the effects that I have applied.

But so far you don't really have the information you need to process what's going on inside these dialog boxes. So, like I say, stay tuned for the full story later. In the meantime we are just going to rotate this text in 3D space using a fairly complicated, but really super cool command that I usually don't document inside of Illustrator, and it's up here under the Effect menu. You go to 3D, and then you choose this command right there, Rotate. Now in the mastery portion of this series, I have an entire chapter devoted to the topic of 3D; however, I focus on these commands, Extrude & Bevel.

Extrude creates a 3-D effect by extruding something into space, so you take a square, make it a cube. You take a circle, make it a cylinder, you'll see. And Revolve, you take a shape and revolve it around an axis to create a different kind of 3D shape. So basically you can take half a lamp, and revolve it around an axis and you have a whole 3-D lamp. Rotate is the simplest of the commands, what it does, it just rotates a 2-D object in 3-D space, kind of like you printed it on a piece of paper and you're just rotating the piece of paper around in space, and that's what we are going to do here.

So go ahead and choose the Rotate command and you get this cube, which may seem fairly daunting at first that you are supposed to use a cube in order to rotate this guy. First thing I want you to do is turn on the Preview check box, so you can see what you're doing and you'll immediately rotate the text to some degree that's already specified here inside the dialog box. The position is Off-Axis Front, for what it's worth, and you have these other options you can choose from, these Presets, but we're going to give them the slip, because none of them are going to do us any good. Instead, we are going to start just dragging this guy around, and for starters here, I want you to find the blue edges.

So notice we've got this red option right there, and we have got a green option, and we have got a blue option. And what we are doing here is we are doing an X axis rotation, which is as we'll see, either moves the edge forward or backward, like so. So that's an X axis rotation, and the reason I mentioned the colors is because they correspond to the colors of the edges, notice that. So if I drag that top edge, that's a red edge, so that performs an X axis rotation, then we've got a Y axis rotation and you drag one of these side edges to perform that.

And you'll see this wireframe preview in the background as you drag around and then you release and you let the preview update onscreen. It will take just a moment, because we do have two different gradient fills and a stroke assigned to this shape. And then finally if you drag on this edge over here, so the depth edge, you get that blue line, that is to say, it corresponds to the Z axis rotation, and then you can drag, like so. Now if you know anything about aviation, I don't expect that you do, but just to give you a sense if you know basically how the plane shifts in space as it's flying or how your car shifts as it's driving on the road, you've got pitch, which is your X axis rotation, you've got yaw, which is your Y axis rotation, and you've got roll, which is your Z axis rotation.

So anyway, I am going to go ahead and drag this blue edge like so until I get the text more or less at the angle I want it to be, along the top of the post. And then I also want to shift the text back, that is, I want to pitch it back, I want to lean it back by dragging one of these red edges, and I'll drag up like so in order to lean that text back. And no matter what I do though, it's still just straight-on text, we don't have any perspective. And that's because my perspective value is set to 0 degrees. I want you just to go ahead and raise that value, you can experiment if you want to.

You can go ahead and grab the slider right there and do this number in order to introduce or get rid of perspective. But the value that we are looking for is 100 degrees, just go ahead and enter 100 degrees into that option, and then that will give you a better sense of what's going on. Now you can continue to drag this text round in any way that you see fit. I am going to go ahead and move this guy down forward, I am going to pitch the text forward a little bit, I might go ahead and drag this Z axis edge right there, the blue edge, down like so in order to achieve this effect.

So what you basically do is you whittle your way to finally getting the effect you are looking for. Now I've done this work in advance, so I will just tell you the values that I came up with. For the X axis value, I came up with 20 degrees, so go ahead and enter that if you want to work along with me, press the Tab Key. And for Y, I came up with -29; this is all trial and error by the way. I can't just look at a scene and know these numbers off the top of my head. I have to just sort of mess around with this box until I get it right, so I am just trying to simplify things for you.

I will enter 29 degree and press the Tab Key. And now it's almost where it needs to be, I could just go ahead and drag this blue edge down a little bit, but I am going too far with my modifications. About there is right, actually, -6 degrees ends up working out pretty well, you can try -7, press the Down Arrow key to reduce it a little if I wanted to. But I think given the nature of my posts that -6 degrees looks better. So again, everything got goofed up, because I dragged that edge right there. What I want is 20 degrees for the X value.

And what you would end up doing is after you get things more or less right, you would sort of up and down arrow these values until you got things exactly right. So I press the Down Arrow Key in the case of the yaw value here, the Y axis value, to take it down to -29 degrees and then I do think I want to take the Z value down to -7 degrees as well by pressing the Down Arrow key. And unfortunately you can't split the difference; you have to work in whole degree increments. It would be nice to set this guy to like -6.5 degrees, but that's not going to work for you. So anyway, this ends up looking pretty good. I'll click OK.

And then we need to perform a similar modification, though not the same modification, because this crest here is at a different point inside of my perspective scene, but I will go ahead and click on it to select it, and I can't see the selection edges, because I press Ctrl+H, Cmd+H on the Mac. If I want to confirm that this is selected, I'll press Ctrl+H, Cmd+H and I can see my selection edges now. And I might as well leave them visible, because this time I am just going to tell you some values you can experiment as well if you want to, just to get a sense of how things work. However, here is what you do. Go up to the Effect menu and go ahead and choose the second command Rotate... or you can mash your fist down and press the E key for Effect, that's Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E on the PC or Cmd+ Shift+Option+E on the Mac, and that's going to repeat the last effect applied using different settings, that's what that second command in the Effect menu always does.

It will bring back up your last settings that you applied. This time around, I just want you to enter some values before you turn on the Preview check box, because it will make it quicker. Just enter 38 for the red X value, enter -26 for the green Y value, and then enter -15 for the blue Z value. Leave perspective set to 100%, that's very important. Turn on the Preview check box and you end up getting a dead match, like so. Then click OK in order to accept that modification. So I'll click off the shape, and we can see what we have been able to achieve here.

And those are my 3-D effects. We have just rotated 2-D objects in 3-D space in order to simulate the perspective of our environment. As I say, it has nothing whatsoever to do with Blends and Masks inside of Illustrator, but it's still extremely useful information. We will be covering 3-D in a great deal of detail inside of a chapter in the Mastery series. In the next exercise, I am going to show you how to create a poor man's perspective grid.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced
Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

153 video lessons · 28117 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 38m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 48s
    2. Linking AI and EPS files to Illustrator
      6m 48s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      7m 43s
    4. Remapping Mac OS shortcuts
      6m 56s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 54s
    6. The color settings explained
      7m 4s
    7. Preserve Numbers vs. embedded profiles
      3m 22s
  2. 1h 40m
    1. Converting pixels to vectors
      1m 2s
    2. Tracing an imported image
      6m 17s
    3. Other ways to trace
      3m 17s
    4. Raster and vector previews
      7m 2s
    5. Threshold, Min Area, and Max Colors
      5m 27s
    6. Tracing options: The raster functions
      8m 2s
    7. Using the Ignore White option
      5m 3s
    8. Tracing options: The vector functions
      6m 40s
    9. Expanding traced artwork
      5m 6s
    10. Sketching and drawing for Illustrator
      6m 24s
    11. Editing scanned line art
      9m 23s
    12. Adding contrast and color
      10m 32s
    13. Live Trace and resolution
      9m 8s
    14. Expanding and separating paths
      8m 43s
    15. Scaling and editing traced art
      8m 4s
  3. 1h 8m
    1. Gradients are good
      1m 15s
    2. Assigning a gradient fill
      6m 9s
    3. Using the gradient annotator
      7m 31s
    4. Editing multiple gradients
      4m 37s
    5. Establishing symmetrical gradients
      5m 28s
    6. Creating a radial gradient
      5m 46s
    7. Adjusting the midpoint skew
      3m 23s
    8. Mixing gradients with blend modes
      6m 11s
    9. Making a transparent gradient
      6m 42s
    10. Drop shadows and dynamic effects
      5m 58s
    11. Assigning a gradient to editable text
      5m 42s
    12. Editing text that includes dynamic effects
      2m 56s
    13. Assigning a gradient to a stroke
      6m 46s
  4. 1h 37m
    1. The earliest dynamic functions
      1m 10s
    2. The gradient-intensive illustration
      5m 26s
    3. Creating a multi-color blend
      7m 39s
    4. Establishing a clipping mask
      3m 34s
    5. Reinstating the mask colors
      9m 7s
    6. Editing blended paths
      6m 50s
    7. Adjusting the number of blended steps
      6m 49s
    8. Using the Blend tool
      4m 33s
    9. Blending between levels of opacity
      7m 32s
    10. Editing the path of the blend
      6m 22s
    11. Adding a custom path of the blend
      5m 4s
    12. Placing one mask inside another
      8m 33s
    13. Blending groups and adjusting the speed
      6m 1s
    14. Rotating objects in 3D space
      10m 21s
    15. Creating custom perspective guides
      8m 31s
  5. 1h 37m
    1. What was old is new again
      39s
    2. Introducing tile patterns
      6m 11s
    3. Determining the points of intersection
      6m 51s
    4. Extending paths from the intersections
      5m 40s
    5. Crafting symmetrical subpaths
      5m 38s
    6. The final flawed subpaths
      5m 52s
    7. Reconciling misaligned paths
      5m 34s
    8. Completing the core path outline
      6m 14s
    9. Making a symmetrical modification
      6m 47s
    10. Adjusting the interior elements
      8m 26s
    11. Coloring paths and testing the interlock
      9m 29s
    12. Establishing a rectangular tile
      6m 22s
    13. Defining a tile pattern
      3m 43s
    14. Creating a few color variations
      8m 50s
    15. Protecting patterns from transformations
      6m 9s
    16. Transforming patterns without paths
      5m 30s
  6. 1h 12m
    1. Filling and stroking virtual areas
      44s
    2. Introducing Live Paint
      7m 57s
    3. Stroking with the Live Paint Bucket tool
      5m 30s
    4. Using the Live Paint Selection tool
      7m 18s
    5. Adding a path to a Live Paint group
      4m 33s
    6. Building a classic Celtic knot
      8m 28s
    7. Constructing the base objects
      5m 31s
    8. Weaving one object into another
      6m 13s
    9. Creating a path that overlaps itself
      7m 15s
    10. Painting a path that overlaps itself
      5m 34s
    11. Creating knots inside knots
      5m 2s
    12. Adding gradients and depth
      8m 22s
  7. 1h 4m
    1. Dynamic effects and OpenType
      1m 12s
    2. Applying a dynamic effect to type
      5m 43s
    3. Creating a basic bevel effect
      4m 12s
    4. Building up a multi-stroke effect
      4m 49s
    5. Best practices for 3D type
      6m 34s
    6. Applying a "path wiggler" to type
      6m 14s
    7. Drop shadows and Raster Effects settings
      4m 52s
    8. Duplicating attributes and effects
      7m 8s
    9. Editing type with dynamic effects
      7m 27s
    10. Ligatures, swashes, ordinals, and fractions
      5m 45s
    11. Small caps and the Glyphs panel
      4m 25s
    12. Warping text and increasing resolution
      6m 9s
  8. 1h 44m
    1. A world of colors at your beck and call
      1m 32s
    2. Customizing a letterform to make a logo
      8m 37s
    3. Creating a custom drop shadow effect
      6m 26s
    4. Introducing the Color Guide panel
      9m 3s
    5. Harmonies and Color Guide settings
      5m 39s
    6. Lifting harmony rules from color groups
      7m 21s
    7. Harmony layouts and the Lab color wheel
      8m 15s
    8. Working inside the Edit Color dialog box
      6m 36s
    9. Limiting a color group to spot colors
      5m 47s
    10. Recoloring selected artwork
      5m 50s
    11. Recoloring with custom color groups
      6m 1s
    12. Swapping colors with the Color Bars feature
      5m 18s
    13. Using the options in the Assign panel
      8m 41s
    14. Moving color groups between documents
      7m 17s
    15. Distilling your artwork to one spot-color ink
      7m 45s
    16. Recoloring artwork that contains gradients
      4m 17s
  9. 1h 21m
    1. How symbols work
      1m 2s
    2. The power of symbols
      5m 1s
    3. Creating new symbols
      6m 0s
    4. Enabling the new 9-slice scaling
      4m 24s
    5. Adjusting your 9-slice scaling guides
      6m 54s
    6. Previewing and acquiring symbols
      4m 12s
    7. Finding a symbol and creating an instance
      4m 13s
    8. Duplicating and replacing instances
      4m 19s
    9. Breaking a symbol link and envelope fidelity
      5m 26s
    10. Distorting and expanding a symbol
      4m 54s
    11. Updating an existing symbol definition
      3m 40s
    12. Recoloring a symbol definition
      4m 13s
    13. Applying a basic "local" color adjustment
      5m 20s
    14. Applying a more elaborate local color adjustment
      5m 4s
    15. Laying down a random symbol set
      5m 35s
    16. The eight symbolism tools
      6m 55s
    17. Editing selected instances
      4m 11s
  10. 1h 32m
    1. Illustrator needs Photoshop
      1m 1s
    2. Two ways to place a pixel-based image
      6m 6s
    3. Working with linked images
      6m 6s
    4. Linking versus embedding
      9m 38s
    5. Stroking and blending an image
      6m 16s
    6. Adding a clipping mask and page curl
      6m 51s
    7. Creating a blended border effect
      7m 10s
    8. Rasterizing your artwork in Photoshop
      8m 0s
    9. Saving a flat raster file from Photoshop
      4m 58s
    10. Restoring cropped border elements
      5m 39s
    11. Copying and pasting into Photoshop
      6m 27s
    12. Working with Photoshop Smart Objects
      5m 26s
    13. Adding a pixel-based layer effect
      4m 12s
    14. Editing a Vector Smart Object in Illustrator
      7m 20s
    15. Creating and placing a transparent image
      7m 1s
  11. 1h 15m
    1. The many forms of transparency
      1m 29s
    2. Real-world blending modes
      7m 57s
    3. Exporting transparency from Illustrator
      6m 24s
    4. Opacity and blending modes
      6m 18s
    5. The Darken and Lighten modes
      7m 17s
    6. The Contrast, Inversion, and HSL modes
      6m 12s
    7. Blending modes in action
      5m 11s
    8. Creating a knockout group
      6m 14s
    9. Confirming the viability of your artwork
      6m 8s
    10. Introducing the opacity mask
      4m 6s
    11. Making an opacity mask
      5m 25s
    12. Drawing inside an opacity mask
      3m 34s
    13. Creating a gradient opacity mask
      5m 29s
    14. Adding an opacity mask to a single object
      3m 22s
  12. 1m 13s
    1. Until next time
      1m 13s

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