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The Perspective Grid Tool is not widely used by designers. It's a quite powerful tool, though not really a convenient one. Let’s learn how to use it on a simple example of the construction of 3D chart.
- Program: Adobe IllustratorCS5;
- Difficulty: Intermediate;
- Estimated Completion Time: 1 hour;
Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and draw a rectangle 50 x 300 px.
Keep the rectangle selected, go to Object> Transform> Move ... and set the horizontal offset value in the dialog box and click Copy. The offset value equals to twice of the width of the rectangle.
Now click on the key combination Cmd / Ctrl + D 3 times.
With the help of the Direct Selection Tool (V) change the height of the created rectangles and fill them with different colors.
Select and group up all the created objects. Keep the group selected, go to Object> Transform> Reflect ..., choose the Horizontal option in the dialog box and click on Copy.
Now move the created group straight down, holding down the Shift, as it is shown in the figure below.
The lower group is the reflection of the columns of the chart. Usually a reflection has a lower height than the original, so to reduce the height of the lower group with the Direct Selection Tool (V).
Your chart will be three-dimensional, so we'll see two sides of its columns, so we need to duplicate all the objects created by us (Cmd / Ctrl + C; Cmd / Ctrl + F).
Now let's create a sheet with the plots, on which the columns of the chart will be located. Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a rectangle of a neutral gray color, the size of the rectangle should be commensurable with the columns of the chart.
Turn off the visibility of columns in the chart in the layers palette, we will return to them later and proceed to the creation of the elements of the flat chart.
Select gray rectangle and go to Object> Path> Offset Path and set the offset value -15px in the dialog box.
Now turn off the fill of the upper rectangle and set 2px stroke of a dark gray color for it.
Copy the upper rectangle and paste it in front (Cmd / Ctrl + C; Cmd / Ctrl + F), take the Scissors Tool (C) and cut a new rectangle at its points A, B, C and D.
Create a grid mesh on the sheet. Select the right and left side of the cut rectangle and go to Object> Blend> Make.
We did not get what we wanted, because the right and left sides have different directions. Lock the upper and lower sides of the cut rectangle in the Layers palette, take the Pen Tool (P) and click at point A on the right side to change its direction.
Unlock the upper and lower sides, and go to Object> Blend> Make. Correct the opposite directionality the same way as we did in the previous step.
With the Pen Tool (P) create two vertical segments, as it is shown in the figure below, select them and go to Object> Blend> Make.
Duplicate this item (drag, holding down the Opt / Alt and Shift) and place it along the horizontal axis of the chart.
Now take the Text Tool (T) and create a series of numbers along the horizontal and vertical axes of the chart.
Take the Pen Tool (P) and create colorful broken lines of the plots.
Select the lines of the plots and go to Object> Expand.
Now with the help of the Direct Selection Tool (A), edit the ends of the plots so they do not go beyond the vertical axis.
Select all the numbers and go to Object> Expand.
Select the scale and go to Object> Blend> Expand, then Object> Expand.
Do the same actions to the grid mesh.
Select and group up all the elements of the flat chart.
Proceed to the construction of three-dimensional diagram. Hit the Perspective Grid Tool button - this includes a three-dimensional grid.
You can customize the location of the grid mesh planes on your own taste, by moving the horizontal and vertical markers.
Activate the Horizontal Grid, take the Perspective Selection Tool and drag a flat plot in to a horizontal plane, as it is shown in the figure below.
Change the position of the left vertical plane, as shown in the figure below.
Turn on the visibility of columns of the chart in the palette layers, activate Left Grid and using Perspective Selection Tool drag the group into the left vertical plane.
Do the same with the group, which is a reflection of the columns of the chart.
Now proceed to the creation of the front sides of the chart columns. Bring the right coordinate plane to the base of the first column, activate the Right Grid, ungroup all the chart elements created in Step 3, those that have not yet been transformed in the grid and using the Perspective Selection Tool move the front side of the first column on its place.
For clarity, I changed the fill the front side of the column. In the final part of this tutorial, we will change the fill of the elements of the composition.
Do the same with the reflection of the column.
Using this technique, create a front surfaces of the rest of the columns. Do not forget to move the right vertical plane every time.
For convenience, turn off the grid snap View> Perspective Grid> Snap to Grid.
On all the columns except for the first one viewer will see the upper sides of the column. Columns sides have the width of 50px (see step 1), that’s why the upper side of the column will be a square 50 by 50px in size. Turn off the grid, otherwise all the created objects will deform according to the active plane. Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a square, duplicate it three times.
Now for each column, we need to set the lower grid mesh so that it coincides with the plane of the upper side of the column and using the Perspective Selection Tool we will move squares there. And of course, the Horizontal Grid must be active.
Sometimes it happens that the square turns out to be bigger. Where is our mistake? The fact is that we changed the position of the main planes many times, and this actually caused in such mistakes. Do not worry, important is that our figure is in the right plane. With the Perspective Selection Tool resize the square so that its corners coincide with the corners of the sides of the column of the chart.
Turn off the grid mesh – we do not need it any more.
You have probably noticed that in order to work with the Perspective Grid Tool you need to have strong nerves :-) Let's hope that in the next version the Adobe Illustrator team will make this tool more convenient. Of course I’m not satisfied with the quality of elements coupling, so I equip with the Direct Selection Tool and correct all the problem areas.
Getting to the coloring of the columns of the chart. Use linear vertical gradient from the basic color to its dark shade.
Fill the reflections of the columns with the same gradient as the columns, but in the opposite direction.
Group up all the elements of the reflection.
Part of the reflection of the columns is beyond the sheet with a chart, it should be hidden.
Copy the shape of the sheet, paste it in front and place it over the group with the reflection of columns by dragging having moved it in the Layers palette.
Select the group with the reflection and the shape of the sheet, press the keyboard combination Cmd / Ctrl + 7, creating a Clipping Mask.
Reflection has less color intensity than the original, so we need to change its color. Select all the elements of reflection and go to Edit> Edit Color> Recolor Artwork. Manipulating color sliders, reduce the color saturation.
Now move the group with the elements of reflection in the layers palette so that it was below all the elements of the sheet with the charts, but above the sheet itself.
Fill in the shape of a sheet of linear gradient from gray to white.
Select the plots lined and set for them the Overlay Blending Mode in the Transparency palette.
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You can download the source vector file for this tutorial
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