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

Setting up a Perspective Grid


Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

with Deke McClelland

Video: Setting up a Perspective Grid

Over the course of this project we are going to take this photograph from Dark Factor Angel of the Fotolia image library and we are going to convert it into this perspective cartoon. It employs not only rectangles as we've are already seen, but slightly more complicated shapes drawn with a Pen tool as well as texts and symbols. So we will see how all that works but in this exercise we are just going to set up the perspective grid and when I say just this is a very important process and it might take a little bit of work to get it exactly right. So you might want to set aside about 10 to 15 minutes if not more sometimes to set up that initial perspective grid.
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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

Setting up a Perspective Grid

Over the course of this project we are going to take this photograph from Dark Factor Angel of the Fotolia image library and we are going to convert it into this perspective cartoon. It employs not only rectangles as we've are already seen, but slightly more complicated shapes drawn with a Pen tool as well as texts and symbols. So we will see how all that works but in this exercise we are just going to set up the perspective grid and when I say just this is a very important process and it might take a little bit of work to get it exactly right. So you might want to set aside about 10 to 15 minutes if not more sometimes to set up that initial perspective grid.

If I switch back to my initial photograph here notice that it's truly rendered in Three Point Perspective. So we not only have one side of the house declining in one direction and the other side declining toward another vanishing point, but we also have what ought to be straight vertical sides declining toward a very distant zenith point. I say very distant, because notice how slightly this right side and the far left side are leaning, just a little bit. You're going to see that in a lot of photographs.

Most photographs are going to appear in some degree of Three Point Perspective. However, as I mentioned earlier you're going to do yourself a tremendous favor if you can stick with two-point or even One Point Perspective, and we are going to go with Two Point Perspective where this project is concerned. So I invite you to go ahead and zoom out, because you're going to need to be pretty far away from your photograph in order to get this right. Then go ahead and switch to the Perspective Grid tool which you can get by pressing Shift+P and right now we're seeing our default Two Point Perspective which is altogether wrong for the scene, although it's nice that it's two-point; that's a good thing.

Now if you do decide you need to switch to one-point or three-point, you go up to the View menu you go down here to Perspective Grid and then you either choose One Point Perspective and the default 1P -Normal View or you choose Three Point Perspective and then choose 3P-Normal view. However, if you're working in Two Point Perspective as you most likely will then things are already setup by default that way for you. I am going to go ahead and escape out here. Now the trick at this point is to align our panes the way we need them to be aligned. I typically start off by grabbing that horizon line right there and taking it down to where it belongs.

In our case it should be just under the roof of that gray building in the background there. Notice we are about midway between the awning and the top of the car. So, that's just a general guideline you may want to play around and see what you come up with. I am going to go ahead and scroll over to left a little bit here, because we need to yank this left vanishing point way, way out there and you can keep an eye on your grid in order to get a sense of whether you're matching the lines inside of your photographs. So the whole idea here is that you're trying to match these gridlines to the lines that are already apparent inside of the photo, if you're tracing a photo of course.

So I'm going to go ahead and scroll over a little bit more. Now at this point, I want to play with these two controls. This guy right here is going to swing the left-hand grid as if it's a door on a hinge and the hinge is that left-hand vanishing point in the case of the blue left hand grid. So I am going to go ahead and take it over. Now it's not necessary that you do this. You don't have to swing these grids back and forth. You can leave them where they are. The problem is then you don't know if you're matching the scene properly. So I'm just doing this to get a sense of whether I am matching the scene or not, and it looks to me notice how this gridline starts very close to the roofline over here on the right-hand side and then drifts away as we follow it over to the left-hand side; meaning that my vanishing point still isn't far enough out there.

So you're going to be doing a lot of trial and error with this tool. I'm going to go ahead and drag my vanishing point still farther over to left and this looks like a pretty good match. It's hard to tell when I am zoomed out this far. So I will go ahead and zoom back in and check out what I've done and it looks like my line is following the roofline pretty consistently again not quite far out enough, I fear. So I am going to go ahead and zoom out even farther, drag that guy over a little bit more and when I say that guy I mean the left-hand vanishing point.

I'm going to go ahead and zoom in once again to check out what in the world I've done. It looks good, actually. It looks like I've got a nice line going underneath that roofline and if you need more clarity where this grid is concerned, then you need to locate dead grid control. This is what I just hate about this tool. I will say that it is frustrating. I don't want you to think that this is some sort of wonderful work of perfection, because there are some things that are little sort of wonky about it. But notice that even though I've moved these panes around here that my grid control still exists at the focal point of my ground plane.

So I am going to go ahead and drag it down in order to increase the resolution of the grid or you can drag it up to decrease the resolution if you need fewer lines. As I mentioned earlier when you have fewer gridlines then your panes are going to drift farther out. You're going to see a larger pane. Anyway, the blue pane looks pretty darn good. Now I need to get the orange pane that is the right-hand grid looking the way it ought to and I want to line it up with the balcony. Again, now my vanishing point isn't in the right place. In this case, the vanishing point is too far out.

So I need to tuck it in and what we are seeing here is essentially a fairly radical amount of perspective. So the right-hand vanishing point is declining very quickly where the left-hand vanishing point was declining very slowly. Were we to add a zenith point for Three Point Perspective, it would be way up there. I'm not sure we have enough pasteboard to pull it off. Anyway, let's go ahead and zoom in here and check out whether this is working. This looks pretty good to me. It's not really necessary that these guys are in alignment with each other like this so that one grid is absolutely touching the other grid.

You can have them overlap each other if you want to. If you're drawing an interior scene instead of the exterior, you may find that you want them to all the way overlap so that what is ostensibly the right-hand grid is actually in left-hand side and left-hand grid is on right-hand side. That is totally acceptable. By the way, you can put these things anywhere you like. Do I have this where I want it to be? I feel that I've got this vanishing point too far in and I tucked it in just a little bit too far. So I will go ahead and cheat it out some and you may find that you never get it exactly right.

Don't worry about it too much. This is just a tracing template. The people who ultimately see your artwork are not going to see the template. So it doesn't matter if it's an exact match and after all we are taking a little bit of artistic license, but it looks to me like we have things set up pretty darn well. In the next exercise I will show you a couple of great tips for further refining this grid.

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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