Perspective - Part 2

(Illustrator CS required for this tutorial)

Remember what I said about Illustrator CS having this great feature called “Extrude and Bevel?” It does! We’ll take the first path we made for our server object (or make it again if you’re like me and didn’t save a copy) and I’ll show you how you can make the 3D perspective in 2 minutes flat. Once you have your shape, fill it and then go to Effect – 3D – Extrude and Bevel.
In the window you get, input the following values:

First rotation value (x axis): 3
Second rotation value (y axis): minus 26
Third rotation value )z axis): minus 3
Perspective: 142
Extrude depth: 250 pt
Cap: turned on (default)
Bevel: none

Now click on the “More options” tab and play with the lightsources – add some more – I have 4 of them of which one is in the back of the object. Make sure you have the “Preview” tab ticked so that you can see what you’re doing. If all went well you should have something like I do.

perspective

Now you’ll see the awesomeness of it. Even though it’s now 3D, our shape is still editable. Each anchorpoint is still draggable and you can curve it… chisel off a piece. ..whatever you want. What I did to my shape: I pushed in 2 anchorpoints from one side while adding another two. And then I made a separate shape – the “hole” then I selected both of my shapes – right clicked and I picked “make compound path” from the context menu. And this is what I came up with. Cool huh? You can of course change the 3D values too. In your appearance palette double click on the “3D Extrude and Bevel” and edit away…add lightsources, change perspective, rotation… whatever pleases you.

perspective

I know this can’t compare to any respectable 3D application. But as I said, it keeps things vector and it helps a lot. Now you may be wondering why I put you though all the tortures of making perspective lines in the first part of the tutorial if we could have done it so easily… While I’d like to blame it on my sadistic nature the truth is that even though Illustrator CS has some mapping rudiments that allow you to add stuff to the faces of the 3D object, it’s awkward and unsatisfactory. So you’ll still need perspective lines to help you add features to the faces of the object and of course.. when you have multiple objects on your canvas it’s a drag on your processor and your brain to keep everything aligned without them. That’s why sliding rulers will never go out of style no matter what.

There are however a lot of things you can do easily with this feature. We’re going to make one such thing: a 3D map. Say you want to show clients how to get to your office and you want a nice 3D area map to put on your site. We’ll do that next.

I am going to draw a mockup map which we’ll then make 3D. What I did I made a rather dull looking map. It looks (I hope) like any other from the thousands on the web… I’m going to change that and make it nice and appealing… hopefully. One thing you need to do is keep the elements separate. I made 3 groups – one for the streets, one for the buildings, one with the round buildings in the middle and one separate path for the grass. To groups several objects you need to select them all and press Ctrl+G. It’s very important – you’ll see why in a moment.

perspective

All right – now it’s magic time! Select everything on your canvas (all your groups) with the selection tool (V), go to Effects – 3D – Extrude and Bevel and put in the following values:

First rotation value (x axis): 68
Second rotation value (y axis): minus 8
Third rotation value )z axis): 0
Perspective: 123
Extrude depth: 20 pt
Cap: turned on (default)
Bevel: none
For the lights – see the picture

perspective

Wee, looks like 3D! but the crappy thing (for now) is that everything has the same height…we can’t have that. This is why I had you make separate groups. We’ll select just the “grass” for now. Click on the little circle in the layers palette to select the grass shape and then – in the appearance palette – double click on the “3D Extrude and Bevel” you should now get the window with the 3D stuff. On that window – put “0” as the value for extrude depth. Ahh – nice. The grass is now as it should be… Next select the “streets” group and do the same – only input “1” in the extrusion depth field. That is it - nice and clean!

perspective

You can of course modify the lighting and very important - highlight your most important building (your office or whatever) by changing the color of its shape. To do this – pick the Direct Selection Tool (A) and click on the appropriate shape. Then choose a different color from your swatches – I made mine a nice custard yellow. And look what a nice thing it turned out to be.. Hope you guys learned stuff from my tuts…

perspective

More nice things made with the same technique:

perspective