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Technique

Illustrator CS2 or later

Adding perspective to maps
Mark Mayers shows you how to give flat Illustrator maps a third dimension by using the Free Transform tool and a custom perspective grid
Maps are all around us. They appear in both print and online, and sooner or later every designer has to produce one. A map graphic should be basic enough to provide recognisable road structures, without extraneous detail which could confuse the viewer. It must also be legible at the specified reproduction size. Illustrator has many features that help you create maps. In the first part of this tutorial you’ll learn how to draw a 2D map from a sketch. You’ll use type on paths, utilise Symbols and discover how global swatches can be a real time-saver. Finally, you’ll take an everyday brief a stage further by creating a faux-3D effect with a perspective grid, and master Illustrator’s precarious Free Transform tool to achieve predictable results every time – rather than relying on the built-in 3D Effects.

Mark Mayers An awardwinning illustrator and designer based in Cornwall, Mark Mayers will be sharing his expertise this year at the MIDA Expo in Malta with MetalFX seminars and workshops – to find out more about MetalFX, see page 81. More of his work can be seen at www. markmayers.co.uk.

On the disc Mark’s initial sketch and final Illustrator file can be found on the disc in Disc Contents\ Resources\mapping.

Time needed 5 hours for a complex map Skills Global swatches Type on paths Perspective grids Using the Free Transform tool

Computer Arts August 2008

www.computerarts.co.uk

ART151.tut_5 88

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Next add the minor roads using a 12pt stroke. position centrally then Lock it.89 Launch Illustrator and create a CMYK document 320mm wide and 290mm deep. Select the Template option. Create a layer at the bottom above the template and label it ‘Background’.uk Computer Arts August 2008 ART151. Create a mid-green global swatch and label it ‘Background green’. Draw in the direction you want the road names to appear and use one path per street – this will make labelling them later much easier. You’ll be working with a lot of layers in this tutorial. 05 Create a layer beneath the pale roads and label it ‘Roundabouts’. 03 04 Duplicate the layer and label it ‘Pale roads’. but this time adjust the stroke to 10pt. Use Cmd/Ctrl+U to enable Smart Guides and anchor new paths to the centres of existing ones. so get in the habit of locking those you’re not working on and toggling their visibility. Set their stroke to 1pt dark green and their fill to pale green. 01 02 Use the Pen tool to draw in the major roads using a 19pt stroke. The roads now have a keyline of 1pt dark green either side (19pt – 17pt = 2pt). Draw a rectangle up to your guides and fill with the new swatch.computerarts. Give these a 1pt dark green stroke and a fill of background green. Use the Ellipse tool to add roundabouts at the intersections using Smart Guides. Saving your swatches as global colours means you can edit all occurrences on the fly with one doubleclick.co. Select a major road. which by default will dim the image to 50%. Choose File>Place and select Map_sketch.jpg on this month’s CD. Create a pale green global swatch and label it ‘Pale green’. Follow the same technique for the minor roads. Colour these strokes with a dark-green global swatch and label it ‘Dark green’. 06 www.tut_5 89 13/6/08 12:48:49 pm . adjust to 17pt and colour the strokes with the new swatch. choose Select>Same>StrokeWeight. Label the default top layer ‘Dark roads’ and pull in some guides as shown. Unlock the layer. Create a layer at the top. label it ‘Roundabout centres’ and add the smaller circles.

Draw simple compound shapes using the Ellipse tool. Create Vanishing Point 2 in the same way. Now use the Direct Selection tool to select the bottom point and drag to create Line B. and a Detail of 17. Select Specified Steps. Align the right-hand side of the map in the same way. Add the road names using the Text tool. Finally delete any extraneous paths. Copy it then Edit> PasteInFront. Remember to use subdued colours so they don’t distract from key areas. Add a guide to represent the horizon. Add icons and drag them into the Symbols library – this is a great timesaver when working on complex maps. Computer Arts August 2008 www.tut_5 90 13/6/08 12:48:54 pm . 13 Now position the map within the perspective grid. then Object>Blend>Expand. Select the Rotate tool and click-drag the centre point’s position to the bottom-left corner and rotate in a clockwise direction. sketching out the required road networks. Finally. 11 12 Using the Free Transform tool click the top left of the map and start dragging right. 14 15 Plan it out Before starting work.5mm and fill with dark green. Continue adding other elements such as the trees on a new layer. aligning the bottom-left corner of the map with the middle-left corner of the grid. Align the text centrally by using a negative baseline adjustment and tweak with the Selection tool. delete your template layer and flatten.uk ART151. 10 Select both rules for Vanishing Point 1 and double-click the Blend tool. convert all paths and text to outlines. It’s also a good idea to spend some time with a pen and paper. Choose Object>Blend>Make. distorting it to the guides. on a new layer create a rectangle 150mm by 180mm (the specified reproduction size). then use a Roughen filter of 6%. This keeps multiple objects from confusing the orientation. Select All and press Cmd/Ctrl+7 to make a clipping mask. Rotate so the bottom edge is horizontal and Make Guides. it’s good practice to get a brief from your client about how much information the map must show – that way you’ll avoid the danger of wasting hours labouring over unnecessary detail. Select the map and choose Object> Transform>ResetBoundingBox. This may throw out your left-hand perspective slightly and may take a few attempts to perfect. enter 0. rotate 90 degrees and align to the lower right-hand guide. and colour with new global swatches. Repeat for Vanishing Point 2. Finally. Use the Free Transform tool to stretch the map to align with the left-hand edge of the guides. Now’s the time to edit any global swatches. enter 100 and set Orientation to Align To Page. Add a keyline: Object>Path>OffsetPath. Select All and press Cmd/Ctrl+5 to Make Guides (mine are red for clarity). Make a Compound Shape and Expand. Move the template to the pasteboard. then immediately hold down Cmd/Ctrl and continue dragging right and down.90 Technique 09 07 Duplicate the ‘Pale roads’ layer. Using this simplified sketch as an Illustrator template will speed up your workflow considerably. group and save as a different file. Remember to use Smart Guides to place the map precisely.computerarts. Make a grouped copy of the whole building and copy/send to the back. move it to the top and label it ‘Road names’. Copy>Paste your map. With the Pen tool draw a closed path with a 1pt stroke. Ungroup and Copy the building to a new layer and nudge it up. Create a document 410mm wide by 335mm deep. select the Rotate tool and click-drag its centre point to the bottom-right corner.co. To establish a two-point perspective. use the Pen tool to draw Line A originating from Vanishing Point 1. 08 Add more details such as the building outline and parking areas. Add vertical guides then with the Pen tool construct the sides and send to the back.