Isometric Buildings and Illustrations for Map Making | Joshua Butts | Skillshare

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Isometric Buildings and Illustrations for Map Making

teacher avatar Joshua Butts, Graphic Designer and Photographer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

3 Lessons (25m)
    • 1. Course Introduction

    • 2. Starting the File and Gathering References

    • 3. Techniques for Creating Buildings

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About This Class

In PART I of the course series, I am going to show you the different steps I go through to create buildings for fully illustrated amusement park maps. In the course you will learn some of the different techniques I use in Adobe Illustrator to create buildings in perspective, get them to look recognizable to the structures in the actual amusement parks, and show you some great tools from Astute Graphics that will help with the process. The plugins aren't required to follow along with the course though. Below is an example of a project that I used these techniques to create.

Meet Your Teacher

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Joshua Butts

Graphic Designer and Photographer


Josh Butts is a Graphic Designer and Photographer. He currently works for a creative agency in Provo, Utah. He's worked with many people doing creative work usually involving illustration, logo, and web design. The classes on this channel cover mostly vector illustration but there are also many other valuable skills that can be learned from the other classes on the channel. Join some of his classes to gain from valuable experience and get better at design and photography yourself!

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1. Course Introduction: Hi, I'm Josh Butts. I'm a graphic designer and photographer. One of my favorite graphic design projects I get a work on is creating illustrated maps for local amusement parks. This course is one of a few that I'll be teaching you how I create maps such as this one I created recently for the Utah's Hogle Zoo. It was a large project, but in these different courses I'll be showing you how it's broken up into small, easy to do tasks. In this course, I'll be teaching you how you can create your own isometric style buildings that you can use in your own map illustrations or in a variety of other projects during this course. Also be using a plug in for Adobe Illustrated, created by a stoop. Graphics It doesn't required, but you'll show you some great functionality that plug ins can add to Adobe Illustrator. So if you're ready to learn some great technics, then let's get started 2. Starting the File and Gathering References: So to get started creating a map for an amusement park or theme park or anything in general you're gonna want to start out with a lot of references. So you know what you're going to start illustrating. And so what I've done for this project is gone to get some references at the actual park and this is a zoo. It's the Hogle Zoo in Utah. And so I'm gonna go online, and there's a few areas where I go to to get resource is the 1st 1 is all, actually, go straight to the park and I'll take a bunch of reference photos myself. And as you can see right here, I've got all these different photos of this building right here, some different angles of it. And you can see in this image right here. I've already done one angle of this building and in this illustration, I'm gonna do this backside of it to show you how I go about illustrating it. So I'm gonna take you back to illustrator right here, and I'm going to create a new project at control or command in, and that's gonna bring up this dialogue so that I can create a new project. Since this is gonna be for print, I'm going to make sure he said it to seem like a and check all my settings. I'm just gonna do this eight inches by eight inches because I'm going to create scalable since his in vector. So I'm not too worried about that. And now I have my products started. I'll go back to see where my references are, and I'm just going to open this in a new window so that I can copy it. And then I'll copy that image and I'll go back into their be illustrator and I'll just had control or command V. And I'll just paste it right in the middle of their and I'll re scale it so that it's a good size and I'll move it to the side so that I have a good area where I can see it. My reference and I'm going to go back into chrome and all copy a few more reference photos that are like So I hear this image looks like it should be a pretty decent reference of the back side of that building, so I'm going to open that and all copy that and all paste that into Adobe Illustrator using the same control or command V to pace that in there and these air some good reference photos for some better details. But I'm looking for more of a general starting point for the structure of the building. And so what I like to do for that, if I don't have any other reference photos, is all go into Google Maps. And right here I just searched the Hogle Zoo because that's what I'm illustrating this building from. And I'll just click on the map so that I can go to Google Maps. And I like using the satellite view in Google Maps, which gives three D models of the map. And so if I can zoom in right here, I can see exactly where that building is. And what I'm gonna do is hold down controller command, and then I can drag around to get a different view of the men. And so this is really nice to England just the way I want. And so I'm gonna England around this way and I'll zoom in a little bit and drag it down a little bit more and I'm gonna angle that up just to right here, and I'm gonna drag that down a bit. And so I think this is gonna be a good view for this illustration. And so you can do is on a Mac. You can hit either shift command four, and that's gonna let you take a clip of the screen or shift command three. And that's gonna let you take a clip of the whole screen, and that's going to save it to your desktop. And you can drag that J peg image right into they'll be illustrated. If you're on a PC like I am on a Windows computer, you can just go to your windows and then type in snipping and you'll see your snipping tool . And then I'll just click on that and you can see my My snipping bar just pulled up. And so I'll click on new snipping and I'll just click and drag on the image that I want a coffee. And so I mean dragged right there, and it opens it up in Microsoft paint, but it already copied it to the clipboard. And so I'm gonna exit out of this. I don't want to say that because it's already on my clipboard and I'll go back into It'll be illustrator and I'll just hit control V or Command Be and paste that right into illustrator. So now I have three really good references to start this building. 3. Techniques for Creating Buildings: all right. Now they have all your references set up. We're going to start illustrating this isometric style building. And so I'm gonna grab this reference because this is the closest I have right now to on isometric view of that building. And so I'm going to drag it into the main area where I'm gonna be working on and I'm going to zoom in a little bit by holding control space or command space, and I can zoom in and out, and then I'll go to my layers panel, And if you don't have it up, you can goto window and layers and it will show your old panel and all had new layer. And I have my new layer right here, and I'm going to walk that layer that's on the bottom because that's gonna store all my reference layers I have right here so I can toggle the visibility of that reference layer on and off so that I can see where I met when I'm illustrating. And so the first thing I like to dio when I'm starting a building like this is creating the flat shapes as if they're in front of me for the size of the building. And so I can go to my shape, tool the rectangle tool by hitting em and make sure that I'm on the top layer so that I can after that. And I'm going to just drag out a shape and I square right here. And then I'm gonna drag that to one of the sides of this building and all shortened that a little bit right there. So it matches up about the height that I think it's gonna be on that side. And now I have two options right here. One is I can either hit a and click on my drag selection tool right here. And then I can just click on that side of that boxer there, and I can just drag it straight over here, and that's going to create this very isometric wall for this building right here. And I'll hit V and Teoh easily go through and create the rest of these walls. I'm going to just drag this out right here, and then I'm going to do that again for these other sides. But now there's a problem I'm having Is that these two Waldo here shouldn't be as big as these ones because this side of this building is a lot larger than these two. And so what you can do right now is you hit a for the direct selection again and click on this edge right here and then also have shift click on this edge, and then I can just drag those down, and that's going to shorten those walls. And then I can click and drag a marquee around these edges right here and drag them in slightly. So it's gonna shorten those walls to match those other buildings. Now, if you're using the direct selection tool, it's not going to constrain any of these lines. And so I'm gonna under that. And if you go to the website for a stewed graphics that'll show you right here, they have some really nice plug ins for making some of these tasks a little bit easier in Adobe. Illustrator, this one I'm going to show you right now is called Vector Scribe and a stew. Graphics has these really nice free trials that you can try these out and enjoying before you decide to buy any of these. And so I'm going to go back into Adobe Illustrator and show you this panel right here. I've already installed these plug ins and I'm gonna bring that out. And this is the past scribe tool. This is something I really like when I'm creating isometric style buildings because I can just click and drag and select those points that I have and I can drag those out similar as I would have the direct selection tool and they'll just move these points around. But if I hit l and that's going to constrain them to those lines that they're already on. And so I know for sure that these are gonna be exactly lined up with all these other ones. And so the next step I'm going to take is creating these front panels and so I can see that it's gonna have this sharp, triangle shaped roof. And so I'm going Teoh, create another rectangle and I'm gonna created over here so I can see that as a reference and right here I'm going to drag in these other two references by unlocking that bottom layer and making these a little bit smaller and bringing those in right here. And then I'll hit shift controller command right bracket, and that's going to send. Bring those to the front of that layer and I'm gonna push those over a bit. And for this I've got my layer and I'm going to use my direct selection to again, hitting a clicking on the edge and deleting that. And so now I have this open edge that I can start adding in these shapes for the roof. And so, since that's kind of a triangle shape, I'm going to go in here and right Click that and click on the Polygon Tool, and then I can drag out a polygon and hitting the down arrow keys. I can create a triangle, and I'm going to hold down shift to constrain that triangle exactly where I want and then let go. And I have a perfect triangle right here that I can use for the roof, and that is a lot sharper than what this is. And so I'm just going to click on the top and scale it down a little bit toe what I think that would look like and then all hold option or alter under un PC and shift, and I'm just going to drag that down a little bit so that it's about that right scale. And I can just zoom in a bit and do that again by holding Ault or option and dragging that to make a copy. And then whole all are option again to scale that proportionally on both sides. And I'm going to scale that. So it's the same sides. Is these walls and I have to do is make sure I dragged that and it'll snap that right there , and this is going to be a little bit taller than the other one. So I'm going to scale that up a bit and drag that other one up, and now this is pretty close to what that is. I'm going to just drag this up a little bit more, and now I can use em or my rectangle tool and just create another rectangle right here and now that's looking pretty close to this. But I'm gonna double check because I can see these points coming out of it. And so that's what these other reference photos were really nice for is just checking the everything's accurate, but you can see right here he's goes straight up and then come to a point. And so those edges don't come out at all. And so that's good to know, so that when I come back over here, I can just click on this and line it up to that box and then scale it to the same length of that box. And then I'm gonna make that a little bit smaller right there. And now I know that it's gonna be a lot more accurate to what this building is going to look like. And I will go back and I'll make sure that that bottom layer is locked. I'm going to select all of these and make sure that I'm lining them up to the selection. That's that's only going to line them up to each other and I'll click this horizontal align center. And now I know that these air all center aligned exactly. And so now that I know this is pretty dang close toward, that's gonna look like I'll select all of these. I'll go to window and Half Finder, and I'll drag my Pathfinder out right here and I'll click on this icon right here, which is Unite, and I didn't have that bottom one clicked and sell. Click on that, too. And so I have got this front panel that I need to line up to these other walls. So I'm just going to drag it over here and it's gonna snap using the smart guys built in the illustrator. And I'm going to drag it and write about their. And now that I have that lined up pretty close, this bottom area extends way too far. And so I'm going to use my indirect selection tool or a and I'm gonna hold shift and dragged that about toe where it should be. And that fits that side a lot better. Now to align it up to this other one and get into this isometric perspective, what I'm going to do is click on this wall and then I'm going to go in here it to these tools, and this is a tool that isn't very commonly used. But I use it all the time when I'm creating these kind of buildings. It's called the sheer tool, and what I like to do to use this tool is click on one side of the building or a wall, and then I can click on the other side and drag it exactly to where I want. And it's going to change the perspective of that side of that shape. And so I'm just gonna drag it right over here and now you can see that fits of perspective a lot better now to clean that shape up a little bit, I'm just going to double click into it and then use my direct selection tool and move some of these pieces of the wall around. So for these areas on the top, I'm going to select all those and I'm going to drag those by holding shift, and I'm going to drag them down a little bit and same with this top area and drag that down , and the base of that wall is still a little bit too high. So I'm going to drag that up just a little bit to match with those other walls, and I'll hit V and double click out of that shape and I can see very easily that that's lined up pretty well. And since I created the shape flat in front of me, I know that everything is exactly symmetrical and now I'm simply going to do the same thing with these other two walls and making sure that I can see what's going on right here. And so right here, I can see there's gaps in between those. And so I'm gonna make sure that I account for that when I'm adding these other tools. So I'm going to click on this and hold alter option. And I'm going to drag that over to these because I already know it's in the right perspective. And I'm just simply going to hold shift and scale that down to about the size of these are . And once I get to this point where my shapes are getting a bit messy, I'll select all these shapes and had shift X. And that's going Teoh outline all of them so that I can see a little bit better where they are. And you can see right here that some of these shapes go out a little bit from the building . And that's because these are in more of a true perspective. And I want this to be a little more conceptual, and with this I'm not as worried about being exactly accurate because this is just an illustration of these, and so we're not looking to make anything completely perfect. We're just going to try to make this appear as close as we can to that without spending too much time on. So I'm going to go back down into this shape right here and double click it to isolate it. And all I need to do now is use my direct selection tool and select these four corners right here, because those are the ones we don't need and then go into object and path. And right here I can remove those anchor points. And now I only have this one roof right here, which I can just use my drug selection tool and drag that down a bit. And I very easily was able to get this other shape to be in the same perspective. Is this 1st 1 fairly easily and now they can see this next area of the building That's pretty similar to this middle section. And I'm just gonna hit option or Ault and drag that to make a copy of it and bring that down a little bit. And now we'll zoom out and check where I am again and the building is starting to take a little more shape right now. Now going to create the roof. I'm going to use the same method that I used to create these walls, although I wanna have a better starting point so I can get these done a little faster. And that's where this plug in comes in right here from the stew graphics, and it's a free plug in. If you go to shop on the ESTA graphics website, you can go direct press, and this is a free plug in that I use often when creating things that I'm going to need to change the angle really quick. So I'm going to go back. Teoh. It'll be illustrator and I've already installed it. But you can download it from the website for free and install it yourself on all good to Window and to my direct press panel and open that up. And what this is is a way to access my preferences in Adobe Illustrator under Edit and Preferences, and this is going to start where there is the constraint angle. So these buttons right here change the constraint angle, and this is something that I've covered in a previous course very lightly, but I'm going to go over it again a little bit more in this course to show you a lot more in depth. I'm creating these buildings, so instead of having to go into my preferences every time, I can just cancel that out. And I have these presets right here where I can set constraints to the angle from the get go. So if I had 30 degrees and then hit em for the rectangle tool and I click right here, it's automatically going to create that shape to the to the 30 degree angle, which is pretty close to where I would already want it. And I'm gonna get rid of that background color and his shift X to make sure that it's ah outlined like these other ones. And then I use my direct selection tool like in some of these other areas, and then just move these slightly and I've already got the roof pretty much where it needs to in just a few clicks. And now that I've already got the angle is set to 30 degrees, I'll have them to again and do it right over here also, and so the nice thing about this is I know this is already at the same angle that that was because that's what I created it. And so if I use my direct selection tool, I can go drag this down. And since I know that these two shapes are the same angle that the top roof is, then I'll just click on that shift. Click this. Don't drag those up a little bit and then I'm gonna base it off of the size of this panel right here and then all I'm gonna do is simply grab this panel is my direct selection tool and grab that edge and move it up a little bit and the same thing with the other side of the roof option and click that and drag it over here and make sure that lines up about right there and then use my direct selection tool hitting a and drag that in a little bit. And now it's starting to get a little bit messy with these lines everywhere. And so I'm going to select all of these shift checks so they're all flat shapes and all he is my eyedropper tool and sample of color from this other roof and use all our option and start dropping it in to a few of these shapes around here. The roof that I have and I want toe sample this to make sure the sides are white. And now that I can see things are getting a little messy up here, I can grab all these sides of the roof and it shift command right bracket and send them to the front. So this wall, I'm just gonna delay that because that's in the way a little bit. And I'm going to move this over here right over here and use my direct selection tool, and I'm gonna drag this side down a little bit. And now you can see that I'm having a little problem right here. This roof is overlapping. As you can see this area, it's overlapping on the top of that, and it needs to be overlapping on the bottom, but not on the top. And so to fix something like that would all I need to do is click on this front wall and it controller command, see and then pasted in front, heading controller command be. And then I'm simply going to select these bottom points right here and then go to object and path and remove anchor points. And I also need to remove these two. So I'm going to do the same thing with that death and remove anchor points. And now I only have that top area, which I can use my drug selection tool and make sure that I zero the constraint angle out. So it's going to make sure that when I hold shift that it drags that straight down. And then if I zoom in, I could just move this over a little bit. And now that side of the roof is covering up this front area, but not on the top. And now I'll just grab this front panel and then move that to the front hitch of command right bracket and drag it over here and then use my direct selection tool and then move it back up to the top where it goes and to bring a little bit more depth in while I'm working so that I can see what's going on a lot easier. I'll select this side of the roof, and I'll just give these slightly different colors and shades just so that it's easier to see each shape. We'll bring that up a little bit and Samos Ellen and will brighten it up a little bit more . And then this one. I need to bring to the front hit shift command right bracket, and I'll just drag that over here and I'm going to extend that out just a little bit more and you can see this doesn't match up right here. And if things don't match up exactly, that's not really a problem. Because, as I mentioned before, we're making these buildings to convey the concept, not just the accuracy of what they look like. And so I'm just going to use the direct selection tool as I did and move these points around a little bit so that they're overlapping where they should be. So this wouldn't really come out of that side right there. And so I'm just going to move this roof down a little bit more and make sure these match up at the top and I'll just select the front and dark in that up a little bit and same possesses my and opportunity and sample that from the front and out to create the roof on these other buildings will simply use this top of this roof as my starting point and all hit control G and group that and then option are all and all. Drag that over right here and make sure that it's where you want and I'll use my option are old and I'll click on this corner. And I'll just scale it so that I can easily just move it to where I wanted to go and I'll hit command. Exe and select this wall and then command or control F. And that's gonna pace it directly in front of that. And I can see this other front wall isn't behind that. And so I'll do the same thing, Commander Control X click on that and then Commander Control F. And then it's all right where it should be. And now that you have a general basis of what I'm doing to create this, you can see in this quick time lapse how I'm going through and creating everything by using those same techniques, and now you can see how, using that method, I have quite easily created these buildings. And if I move my reference layer and add a quick background. Let's say blue right behind it. Then you can quite easily see how close these look to each other. But now, if I want to go back and change the perspective on this a little bit or the angle, then I could just simply select all of that and make sure I have my background layer locked . And as I did earlier in the video, I'm going to click on the sheer tool right here and then click right here for my reference point. And then if I just drag around, it's gonna change the angle that these buildings air at. And they all stay proportional as long as I don't sheer too much. And if I do it right on the corner and watch these corners and I can keep them at the same angle as you can see, as long as I'm just going up and down, that angle shouldn't be changing too much. And so now that's a really handy way that I can now change that perspective, where this whole object group that together and skill it down a little bit and said it right next to their This is a slightly different angle than that, and I can do it a little bit more. Even if I do it from that side and drag it over here now, I very easily set that at a completely different angle. And so that's it for this course, and I'm excited to see some of the buildings and structures that you create in the project section of the course.