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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 we are going to duplicate that freeform shape that's serving as the facade over onto the right-hand side of the building, and we'll see how tragically things can go wrong and what solutions are available to us. I have saved my progress as Sunroom facade.ai, and I am going to go ahead for the moment and turn off my bounding box by pressing Ctrl+Shift+B or Command+Shift+B on the Mac, and then I am going to go ahead and grab that shape. And notice that as I drag it, this is with the Perspective Selection tool by the way, very important. Notice that it gets bigger and bigger as I drag it over to the right-hand side; it also gets smaller and smaller as a drag it to the left.
So it gets smaller as I move it toward the vanishing point, it gets larger as I move it away from the vanishing point. So as I'm dragging, I will press the 3 key. And now I have this shape over on the right pane, which is great. I need to do one more thing, and it's easy to forget the step. Press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and release, and that way you get a clone. Because if you don't press Alt or Option as you release then you are just going to move the shape. I'm going to drag by the bottom left corner of the shape in order to align it in its proper position. It also needs to go on a different layer, so I will go ahead and drag this purple square down from Perspective 2 and drop it on the Perspective 1, like so.
And then, I once again need the bounding box, so I will press Ctrl+Shift+B or Command+Shift+B on the Mac. Incidentally, if as you press the Shift key, if you are working along with me and you have pressed the Shift key and something just goes haywire on-screen, that's this feature. Although I am not finding it to be the most terribly reliable function, but what it is supposed to do, is it's supposed to target the pane that's associated with the selected object, so you may see just the right pane appear on-screen and nothing more. Anyway, in my case I am still seeing everything so fine. And by the way, if you just see the right pane, just sway it out; after you get done scaling your shape, it will switch back.
All right, so I will go ahead and scale the shape using the bounding box by dragging over to the right,, like so. And I might drag upward as well in order to expand the height of this shape here, and then I will release at some point. I'm trying to get some kind of alignment going, but that's about the best I am going to do right now, and I get this hideous effect here. That's no good. Well, what is the solution? There are two solutions available to you. One is to use a symbol and that way you can modify the contents of that symbol and then have Illustrator properly match it in the perspective, and the other way is to just forget about perspective and just manually adjust the shape.
So we are going to see both, because I actually, believe or not, prefer the second approach and I will show you why. But for now, let's just go ahead and hide this path. By going up to the Object menu and choosing Hide and then Selection, or you can press Ctrl+3, Command+3 on the Mac. And I am going to bring up my Symbols panel, and if you're working along with me, you will see that I created a symbol for you in advance that's called facade. Go ahead and drag it and drop at someplace inside the illustration, then hide the Symbols panel from view. Let's go ahead and drag this guide down.
And notice as soon as I start dragging it, because I'm using the Perspective Selection tool, which I didn't quite expect, I map it to the right side of the building. All right, so fine! And I will go ahead and scale it to fit the right side of the building once again, even though it won't match with beams, but that's okay. And I'll go ahead and make it roughly as tall as it needs to be, which is about here and is wide as it needs to be as well, that looks like a pretty good match. It's obviously not matching at all, so I will press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac in order to hide the selection all.
So press Ctrl+Shift+B or Command+ Shif+B on the Mac, so I get rid of the bounding box, because otherwise I am going to see things on-screen that are getting in my way. I want to take these corners down, but I want to leave that apex where it is and the bottom of the shape is fine too. It's a wrong color, so few switches are necessary. To edit this symbol, just double-click on it and that'll take you to the symbol isolation mode, although it's anyone's guess where the symbol is? There it is. Now it's very important by the way that you don't move this symbol around, because if you move it here, even though it doesn't make any sense, if you move it to a different location, the shape is going to move on the grid as well.
So just leave it where it is. You don't see a preview on the fly, which is way too bad, that would actually be super duper useful, but instead, you just see that symbol by itself and it disappears in the background. And so you are working blind, but here's some suggestions. I am going to go ahead and switch back to the Black Selection tool and I'm going to click on the shape to make it active. I guess it already was selected; the problem is I am not seeing the selection edges. That's right. I will press Ctrl+H or Comamnd+H on the Mac in order to see those edges. Unfortunately they are black, so I will double-click on this item right here and change it from black to some other color, that's a first and then I will click OK.
Now I can see those selection handles, which is very important. All right, now I am going to grab my Pen tool, and this is the approach I decided to take. Because I have these extra anchor points that I got when I chose the Add Anchor Points command, I am going to go ahead and get rid of these. So click right there to subtract an anchor point and I will click on this anchor point to select it as well. But my guess is that's going to be too steep of an incline, so I am going to grab my White Arrow tool. And I am going to marquee these two points and I am going to drag them upwards while pressing the Shift key. And I am totally making it up.
I have no idea this is going to work out or not, hey, but I know that this is wrong color, so I will change the Cyan value to 25% and I will change the K value here to 30%. That's the color I want to work with. Great! Now, let's go ahead and press the Escape key in order to escape from that isolation mode and see what we've done. And that's pretty interesting. Notice that it has gone ahead and automatically expanded that shape inside of the perspective grid, but my sides are too high. I will press the V key to switch to the Black Arrow tool. I'll double-click on the shape once again in order to enter that Symbol Isolation mode.
Then I will press the A key to switch back to the White Arrow tool. Let's go ahead and select those points there, which are black. Thank you very much, strange feature. I will go ahead and change that color back to light blue. Click OK. Excellent! And then I will drag these points down while pressing the Shift key. And just a little bit, I think it's going to do the trick and I don't want to go too far. And then I will press the Escape key in order to switch back. That still wasn't far enough, so I will press the V key; double-click on that shape once again to switch back to this Symbol Isolation view.
Press the A key to switch to the White Arrow tool. Go ahead and marquee these points which are black. I don't care anymore about these black points, hang it, I am just going to press Shift+Down Arrow a couple of times, maybe three times, in order to move these points down. Bear in mind that my keyboard increments are just 0.2 points. Then I am going to press the Escape key in order to get back out again and so forth. Now you can see how this is a frustrating experience. It's a good experience in a way, because it does provide you with a kind of solution. You can modify the shape and yet keep it in the true perspective mode, and that's great.
However, figuring out how far you need to move those points require some guesswork, and here's larger problem, I want you to see something. Notice that the stroke is not uniform, so the stroke is thicker over here on the left inside than it is on right-hand side, it's getting very thin indeed over on that right-hand side. And that's because Illustrator is scaling the entire shape, Fill and Stroke all at once in perspective. You might find that useful, if you blocked out your entire building that way. But if you have just one shape that appears non uniform, that's a problem.
So what I'm going to tell you to do is go ahead and grab your Black Arrow tool, click on that shape in order to select it. Let's go ahead and twirl open. What is that, that Perspective 1 layer right there? And I'll hide that prospective symbol item right there and I'll go ahead and turn on that original path outline. And I'll click on it to make it active, and I am just changing its color for now. I will change it to 25% cyan and of course 30% black, and then I need to drag it down. Now for this, I need the grid, and so I will move down here onto the bottom of this orange pane and I will go ahead and switch back over to my Perspective Grid tool, Shift+P and I will Alt+Click on that little orange control a couple of times, until I can see the grid once again.
And then I will go ahead and zoom on in. And you know what I am going to do? I am going to get my White Arrow tool and I am going to select this point and I'm going to select this point by Shift clicking, so that they're both selected. Now I could drag them down, but if I do, notice what I get here. I get this effect right there, which is -- and I am pressing the Shift key to ensure that at least I have vertical alignment. Notice that this guy is aligned properly, but this guy over here is a full grid increment down, and it's not right at all and we have some very strange perspective going on, on this side of the roof.
Well, actually I have a solution. I am going to press Ctrl+Z key, Command +Z key on the Mac to undo that change. And I'll show you my isometric solution that happens to work brilliantly in perspective, in the very next exercise.
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