20 Replies Latest reply on Jun 8, 2017 8:28 AM by rcraighead

    How do I fake a perspective with distortion?

    John Stanowski Level 1

      When I was using Corel Draw I was able to grab any of the four corner nodes and drag them anywhere, freely distorting the object.

      I would often use this to make faux perspectives.

      For the life of me I can't find an effective way to do this in Illustrator CS4.

       

      Envelope (with Mesh) doesn't do it.

       

      And Free Distort is kind of a joke. Actually this is exactly what I'm looking for but I'm looking for a way to do it in the drawing and not in a microscopic dialog box. (Even when I tried it, it didn't look like it distorted well.)

       

      Am I missing a tool or effect somewhere?

        • 1. Re: How do I fake a perspective with distortion?
          [scott] Level 6

          I'm a Mac user.. so convert the modifiers keys if you're on a Windows system.

           

          The Free Distort effect is a serious joke. Instead use the Free Transform Tool (hit e to select it).

           

          The order of which you use the following modifiers in conjunction with the Free Transform Tool is important.

          You must click a handle, then hold the modifier keys.

           

          Hold Command and drag a corner... distort that corner

          Hold Command+Option ... distort opposite corners

          Hold Command+Option+Shift.... distort in perspective

           

          Hope that helps.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: How do I fake a perspective with distortion?
            John Stanowski Level 1

            Thanks. When I read your reply it really sounded like that would do it.

             

            But when I tried it I got some really odd behavior. Every time I move a corner the bounding box "reset" and all four corners acted like "corner pins" which gave unwanted additional distortion on the second move. Very strange. I'm sure this way makes sense to the coders but this is only partly useful and clunky. (In Corel Draw the corner of the bounding box would stay put where you left it so that you could move all four points around fluidly.)

             

            Your perspective modifiers for the Free Transform tool kinda do the job (in combination with the Scale tool and then the Shear Tool (!) ) But then Illustrator doesn't distort properly when your subject is actually a few shapes which have been expanded.

             

            Eh, I should be sounding off on this in the Feature Request section.

             

            Thanks for your time, I will get some use out of your suggestion!

            • 3. Re: How do I fake a perspective with distortion?
              [scott] Level 6

              Feature request isn't a bad idea. Illustrator has always needed more perspective tools in my opinion.

               

              Unfortunately, the bounding box "snapping" back to square is just how AI works. I do wish it would stay fixated at the object edges rather than always a rectangle, but it just doesn't, never has.

               

              You don't really need the Scale or Shear tool unless you want to distort by numbers.

               

              Command+Shift+A side handle with the Free Transform Tool = Shear

              (Add Option to shear both sides symmetrically)

               

              Shift+A corner handle with the Free Transform Tool = Scale

              (Add Option to scale from center)

              • 4. Re: How do I fake a perspective with distortion?
                JETalmage Level 6

                Add to the list of "perspective" tools-that-don't-work Illustrator's poor implementation of Envelope distortion. There is no provision for an Envelope to originate with its corner point handles retracted. If there were, one could do the kinds of distortions to which HikaruTV refers in Draw, those which can be done in FreeHand and Photoshop--with a simple 1x1 Mesh Envelope.

                 

                Another example of Illustrator providing a confused and scattered set of tools which do related things, none of which adequately perform the most straighforward and commonly needed operations (much like the various cutting tools).

                 

                JET

                • 5. Re: How do I fake a perspective with distortion?
                  Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

                  One of Illustrator's weakest points. Definitely a feature request and one made many times.

                  • 6. Re: How do I fake a perspective with distortion?
                    hellopaul3 Level 1

                    I'm assuming that the unusably lousy  distort tool has not been fixed in Illustrator CS5 - I cannot get it to behave. It's just doing the same idiotic behaviour outlined in the original post here - ie. distort a corner, blam - all four corner points are a rectangle again, distort it some more.....oh dear - everything's gone all over the place....try to tweak it back to where you want it......swear a lot......wonder why Adobe can't use the same technology they have in Photoshop and After Effects in this lousy piece of software.....curse the demise of FreeHand and lament the fact that Illustrator now has no serious competition and conclude that this is why it has not improved much while other Adobe products have streaked ahead.

                     

                    Hopefully I am mistaken, and there IS a way to do this, anyone? Please?

                     

                    For now I'll do it in properly - in Photoshop.

                    • 7. Re: How do I fake a perspective with distortion?
                      John Stanowski Level 1

                      Don't think there's anything new on this. Unless you want to use that new monster perspective feature which is uber overkill and hard to use.

                      • 8. Re: How do I fake a perspective with distortion?
                        [scott] Level 6

                        If corners "snap back" and don't apply any distortion, your'e attempting to distort an object which can not be distorted (linked raster image, live type object). In that case applying an envelope set to 1 row, 1 column to the object will then allow you to sue Free Transform to distrot the object.

                        • 9. Re: How do I fake a perspective with distortion?
                          John Stanowski Level 1

                          When he said the corners snap back he's referring the corners of the bounding box.

                          If you took a group of objects forming a square area and distort it into a sideways trapezoid shape, the bounding box resets and becomes square again.

                          Now, if you wanted to adjust the lower "corners" of the the group, you now need to reach way up to where the bounding box corner is and distort from there.

                          At this point the corner of the bounding box has no convenient proximity to the actual corner of the group.

                          It's like if you were eating dinner at a large table and there was no one to pass the salt you'd have to tug the table cloth until the salt moves closer.

                          • 10. Re: How do I fake a perspective with distortion?
                            Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

                            The only work arounds are the Effect>Distort and Trandform>Free Distort which will give you bak the adjusted bounding box but only in the dialog window and no live preview of anykind, so it is very limited.

                             

                            The other is the Effect>3D>Rotate which gives you a live preview but is limited in how much you can adjust the perspective.

                             

                            The Perspective Grid to does give to the abitlity to readjust and is live but once you change the plnes orientation that is gone.

                             

                            What Ilustrator needs is a genuine 3D space with so good 3D tools.

                            • 11. Re: How do I fake a perspective with distortion?
                              Owen_Lodge

                              Effect / Distort and transform / free transform

                               

                              You get a window with a representation of your file on it which you can distort any way you like, including in perspective.

                               

                               

                              • 12. Re: How do I fake a perspective with distortion?
                                John Stanowski Level 1

                                Like I said, Free Distort is a joke.

                                1. You can't perform the distortion with controls on the art itself. That's like driving yourself to work in a remote control car with you sitting in the back seat.

                                2. That tiny window with the dialog is... tiny.

                                3. The distortion performed in the tiny dialog doesn't update the art until you submit it. Pathetic.

                                • 13. Re: How do I fake a perspective with distortion?
                                  Steve Fairbairn Level 5

                                  Object > Envelope Distort > Make with Top Object is the way I usually go.

                                   

                                  So if you are distorting a square (or group of objects on a square), make a distorted copy of the square, select it along with your original and then Envelope Distort...

                                  1 person found this helpful
                                  • 14. Re: How do I fake a perspective with distortion?
                                    JETalmage Level 6

                                    Object > Envelope Distort > Make with Top Object is the way I usually go.

                                    Just as inadequate, for two reasons:

                                     

                                    • As already stated, the envelope is still created with its handles extended, making adjustment even more tedious than using the Free Transform Tool.
                                    • The distortion merely envelopes; it does not foreshorten to simulate perspective.

                                     

                                    JET

                                    • 15. Re: How do I fake a perspective with distortion?
                                      Steve Fairbairn Level 5

                                      Inadequate. Hmmm? Looks o.k. to me.

                                      Picture 5.png

                                      And if you're really fussy you can drag the handles along the sloping sides.

                                      • 16. Re: How do I fake a perspective with distortion?
                                        Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

                                        Yes and know the image should get progressively foreshortened as it recedes and the shape would e narrower as well.

                                        • 17. Re: How do I fake a perspective with distortion?
                                          John Stanowski Level 1

                                          If foreshortening is what's stopping them I can understand that. There's no way they could do that with live effects, like Strokes, etc.

                                           

                                          Though, I'd be happy with a version that doesn't even attempt it. It would still be handy for simple shapes and for text.

                                           

                                          For more complex drawings, you could always Expand everything (save a copy first), then you'd get your foreshortening.

                                          • 18. Re: How do I fake a perspective with distortion?
                                            JETalmage Level 6

                                            A little less conveniently forgiving subject:

                                             

                                             

                                            Diagonals drawn after the fact in both instances.

                                             

                                            JET

                                            • 19. Re: How do I fake a perspective with distortion?
                                              pandronic

                                              Thank you, I was starting to go mad!

                                              • 20. Re: How do I fake a perspective with distortion?
                                                rcraighead Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                Static Symbols  distorted using Envelope Distort>"Make with Mesh>1-1. The distortion was performed AFTER assigning the Distortion mesh, using Free Transform tool. Improve realism by expanding the strokes within Symbol.

                                                Screen Shot 2017-06-08 at 10.14.15 AM.png