Illustrator perspective

by Design Workshop Sydney

Illustrator’s Perspective Grid tool was introduced in version CS5 for perspective drawing or mapping 2d artwork to planes. We show you how to use this versatile tool in our Adobe Illustrator coursesIllustrator-perspective
First create a new file in Illustrator: File > New > A4 > Landscape (for example). Then File > Place > and browse to a photograph or a scanned sketch which shows the angles of a set of buildings, like the example on the right.
Next click on the Perspective Grid tool in the Toolbox, and go to View > Perspective Grid. Note you can have 1, 2 or 3 point grids. If at any point you lose the widgets on the grid, just press Shift + P. The two most important settings are the Ground line and the Horizon line, so adjust these till they match the lines on your sketch, especially that of the horizon line – this is equivalent to the viewer’s eye level. Adjust these by moving the diamond widgets up & down. Then move the circular anchor points to the left & right to adjust the Vanishing Points and the size of the Grid – note the VPs are always on the horizon line.
Next note the colours of the grid: Blue on left, Red on right, Green on the bottom ground or horizontal plane – note also how this corresponds to the planes on the Active Plane gizmo top left. Go to View > Perspective Grid > Define Grid > Opacity: change to 25% – there’s no preview button. Also Lock & Hide Grid, etc, or Define Presets for future. Note: 1-point perspective [1P-Normal View] is the default. Make sure the grid matches your sketch or photo, then simply use the shape & line tools, (Rectangular, etc) to create the shapes of the buildings. Note the Active Plane gizmo (top left) – you can control which plane you’re working on – you select the plane first then draw with your tools.
To create a shape not on the grid, click in the circular area. Shortcuts for planesare: 1 = left; 2 = horizontal; 3 = right plane; 4 = reselects all active planes. View > Snap to Grid o is also an option. To move an object to another plane: click & drag with the PG tool and whilst dragging, hit 1,2,3 or 4, or on the cube. For an arched window, draw it face on then attach it to a plane. You can also drag symbols onto planes. Creating text: this does not work on the grid – you have to create it then select & drag onto a plane like moving an object above. The shortcut for grid visibility is: CTRL + Shift + I.
In this way you can gradually build up your scene in Illustrator. Whether you’re a complete beginner or self-taught, our courses will help you gain self-confidence in your Illustrator workflow, as well as adding to your professional skill-set. See many examples of our Illustrator clients’ work on our Facebook page.
Other related Illustrator Blog Posts:
Illustrator workspace
Illustrator basics
Illustrator clipping masks
Illustrator live trace
Illustrator brushes