Illustrator - Perspective Grid Tool
perspective_grid.ai - Illustrator document
The Perspective Grid Tool was introduces in Illustrator CS5, and allows you to draw things in a 3D perspective with up to 3 vanishing points.
In this tutorial you get a short introduction by creating a dimensional product packaging and a we finally draw a MacBook Air style notebook.
Table of Contents
Activate the grid by clicking on the Perspective Grid Tool in your tools pallet. Some key points to keep in mind when working with perspective Grids:
- Only one perspective grid can be active in a document.
- Make sure you adjust the perspective on your grid before you throw objects on it; They don't get adjusted if you change the perspective in your grid!
- If you are happy with your grid lock it (*View* -> *Perspective Grid* -> *Lock Grid*)
- Here you can also change the amount of vanishing points, adjust additional details, and SAVE your grid as a preset for other projects of if you mess things up with your original Grid!
- To get objects with onto one of the 3 sides of your Grid, use the *Select Objects on Grid* tool and select the plane with the keys 1-3.
- You can change the plain of an object by dragging it and pressing the keys 1-3.
- To move an object around in the additional 3rd dimension, hold key 5 and move the object (you will see a line connecting your plain and object as a guide).
Figure 1: Overview of a perspective Grid with 2 Vanishing Points. The Lock Symbols indicate variables that will get locked with "Lock Grid". This way you don't mess things up once your grid is as you wish.
Those are the basics. To get your started you find a ready to use template for a product packaging as an Illustrator file to try out what we learned above.
To start drawing our MacBook Air, draw the screen and the keyboard from top down view, as shown in Figure 2A. Next adjust the perspective grid in a way that you want your laptop to look. Finally bring the Objects together on your grid (Figure 2B). You might want to group them first and keep a copy of the original drawing.
Finally you can add details with the pen tool (Grid turned of, Figure 2C).
Figure 2: A Template plains, B Template parts in perspective, C Added details with the pen tool.