3D Illustration: Creating Isometric Designs in Adobe Illustrator | DKNG Studios | Skillshare

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3D Illustration: Creating Isometric Designs in Adobe Illustrator

teacher avatar DKNG Studios, Design + Illustration

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

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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      What is Isometric Illustration?


    • 3.

      Planning & Sketching


    • 4.

      Determining Your Light Source


    • 5.

      Creating Your Grid


    • 6.

      Choosing Style & Color


    • 7.

      Customizing Isometric Cubes


    • 8.

      Tools: 3D Rotate, Reflect, & Blend


    • 9.

      Tools: 3D Extrude


    • 10.

      Tools: 3D Revolve


    • 11.

      Putting It All Together


    • 12.

      Final Thoughts


    • 13.

      Learn More with DKNG


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About This Class

Join powerhouse design duo DKNG Studios for an in-depth class all about creating 3D illustrations in Adobe Illustrator!

Discover the world of isometric illustration, a style that allows you to achieve a unique 3D look in your designs — no math required. From SimCity to HBO’s Silicon Valley, isometric illustration is everywhere. Packed with the Illustrator tips and tricks that have made DKNG’s classes a hit with more than 100,000 Skillshare students, this class will teach you how to use standard tools to create an isometric city block, from initial planning to final polish.

Step-by-step lessons will help you:

  • Understand the principles of isometric illustration
  • Sketch your illustration using a printed grid
  • Use simple Adobe Illustrator tools to achieve the look you want
  • Consider color and strokes to customize your design

Once you’ve added this skill to your design toolkit, you’ll be able to apply it to any type of project, from logos and typography to posters and branding. Whether you’re looking to wow your next client or simply expand your creative repertoire, this class will unlock a new way for you to expand your creativity, push your technique, and take your designs into a new dimension.


Looking for more inspiration? Head here to discover more classes on Adobe Illustrator.

Meet Your Teacher

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DKNG Studios

Design + Illustration

Top Teacher

DKNG is a full service graphic design studio with a focus on the entertainment industry. We work directly with bands, venues, promoters and a range of independent and corporate clients.

Dan Kuhlken and Nathan Goldman were both drawn to music and design at an early age, but didnt combine their talents until 2005 when the duo founded a design studio with the goal of fusing these two creative avenues. The pair has found a niche in linking a personal and unique aesthetic to the worlds most talented musical artists.

With dynamically different skill sets ranging from fine art to film production, Dan and Nathan bring diverse talents and artistic perspectives to every project. DKNG strives to provide their clients with the image and recognition that they deserve. Their past client... See full profile

Related Skills

Design Graphic Design
Level: Intermediate

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1. Introduction: Hello. We are DKNG studios, that stands for DK, Dan Kuhlken. I'm NG, Nathan Goldman and we are a design and illustration studio based in California. Our measure started working in the world of gig posters, but beyond that we've expanded to all types of work for the music industry and beyond including corporate branding, packaging design, and really any type of project that combines both illustration and design work. Today we're going to be talking about isometric illustration. A lot of people may recognize that as SimCity style or recorder overhead view and ability to create a three-dimensional geometric illustration. Isometric illustration is a way of equally representing three sides of an object, having light source and shadow. We find it to be more of a step-by-step into follow approach to creating something that realistically has three-dimensionality to it. Throughout this class, we're going to show you step-by-step processes of how we use specific tools in illustrator, and all pretty basic tools to create isometric design. By the end of it, you're going to have what looks like a fairly complex drawing, but it was all made pretty easily through basic illustrator tools. Three D illustration doesn't need to be intimidating and one thing we hope you take away from this class is with this isometric approach. It's easy to follow a step-by-step method to get full 3D results, but without knowledge of modeling programs or anything more complicated than that. As you're taking this class, please post to the project gallery, we would love to see your process and your final products. We're excited to have you in the class and let's get started. 2. What is Isometric Illustration?: To define Isometric Illustration, we are talking about a method of illustration based on a grid. The term "isometric", is really referring to having equal parts. In the case of a grid, we're dealing with dividing a circle, 360 degrees, into three equal parts. So, 120 degrees each. We're going to be using those equal angles as our basis to design everything for the class. The cool thing about isometric design is that, you have a three-dimensional look without being ultramathematic, but also very flat looking. Like Nathan was saying, it's using three equal sides. In the case for this class, we're showing a top, a left, and a right. You can actually expand this drawing out to whatever you want. So, we're going to be creating a city block for this example, but that block can be multiplied into entire city at the end. Recently, we've used isometric design to make something as large as a mural. In that case, It was super-helpful because we don't have vanishing points or that focal point. We can really move things around as needed. So, isometric style becomes very modular and it's very easy to move things around. Whereas, with traditional 3D rendering, you would be a bit more locked into angles and placement. We've used isometric design on multiple projects in a lot of different ways. The cool thing about this actual style is that, it can be used on something very small like a beer can, or it can be used on a 40-foot mural like we created at the Almanac Brewery. Another cool thing is that, it doesn't have to be designated to just landscapes or cities. It actually can be used for small objects, it can be used for typography and so on. You may have seen this style in not only SimCity, but a more contemporary things like, the introduction to Silicon Valley, also the game called Monument Valley. One nice thing about isometric illustration is that, from the building blocks, you can actually achieve a number of different styles and appearances. In our case, we've done things like the Almanac mural that was very colorful. We've also done a version that uses outlines and is much more monochromatic. Beyond that, there are lots of examples out there of combining strokes and fills, or just outlines to get a particular look. You can also incorporate texture, things like gradients. Basically, whatever you would apply to your personal style, can be applied to the world of isometric design. In the end of this class, we're going to have a fairly complex 3D illustration. But it all starts with very simple steps. The first step is just planning out what you want to do, and we've provided a sketch template for you to actually create a sketch and a plan. After that, the next step is just creating a grid, and we'll show you a step-by-step easy process of how to create that. The isometric grid can be used as a safety net throughout the whole design process. From there, we'll be walking through step-by-step, the tools that we use to build isometric illustrations, and also showing you real client examples of how we've used these and work with our client along the way to build the final product. In this class, we're going to show you how to create very basic things that you would see in a city. So, in this example, it's actually three buildings, a coastline, and a couple of objects including a light tower, a car, and a boat. Those are just like basic things that you can add to a city, but feel free to make anything that you'd like using isometric style. If you need inspiration for creating a very specific object, just start googling it. For us, we didn't know how to make a car from scratch, we actually typed in "isometric car ", and just looked at examples that are out in the world, and that's a good way to get started. Now, to get started, we'll jump into sketching and planning. 3. Planning & Sketching: So, to get started in the planning and sketching phase, we first wanted to address the types of objects and subject matter that work best for isometric illustration. Things that are geometric to begin with, such as a building which essentially starts as a cube. Anything that's kind of rectangular or angular is going to be the easiest thing to start with. Once you start getting into more organic shapes like hills, mountains, that's a bit more challenging because it becomes more subjective how you want to treat it in your own illustration. Projects that work particularly well for isometric illustration is anything like an architectural rendering, a floor plan, a map, anything you want to see an overview. Another important consideration is to think about your final application. Some of the projects we're talking about today are things like a mural that has a huge scale to it, other things small like an object going on to a can. It's important to start to think about how this is going to be used, and the sketching phase will help you figure out where to place things, and how that's going to apply to your final project. So, our goal for this class is to create a simple city block, and that will include whatever you want. It could be buildings, it could be objects, it could be more of a scene that's showing water. For our purposes, we're going to try to show as much variety as possible so that you have a lot to work with. But to start off, we actually made a template that you can use that already has like a grid system so that it'll be easy to actually sketch this. So, you can see with this actual piece of paper, there's very faint lines that are going in very specific angles, and that's the isometric angles. I will just show you what that looks like. I'm just going to draw a simple cube using these actual lines. That is an isometric cube. Now something like this can be used in lots of different ways. Obviously, an easy application is to turn this into a building. This is already basically a building because it's a box. What we're going to actually do is customize from there, and use this grid system to actually create what we want. So, for my first object is going to be like a tall building. So obviously, this is a little bit more shorter. So, I'm just going to erase a little bit and start customizing. So, for example, I can go as tall as I want. Let's say I want a building about that tall. So, that's a bit more of like a skyscraper. If we want to customize from there, we could actually even make it a different shape other than a cube. So, for instance, let's say I wanted to taper a little bit, and have it at the top be a little bit smaller. I can go ahead and play around with depleting a little bit of what I actually created, and use that top which is now smaller than its base as a way to draw. So, this is what that looks like. One thing to keep in mind is it's very helpful to have a ruler in this situation because you want to have all your straight lines. So, I'm just going to go point-to-point and start playing around with how things look. Has a bit of more of a freedom tower look. So, now you have something that did start off as a cube, but now is obviously more of a building and very customized building. So, from there just drawing your first object. This will help you dictate how this city block is going to work. One thing that's important to remember about city block is the road system. So, I'm going to go ahead and just start drawing some roads. So there's a road right in front of it. To make things interesting, I'm just going to draw a cross street. All right. So, from there, let's add some detail. Let's add some side walking, same angle, and decide what's going to go around this. So, obviously, we have a little bit of area here for more buildings. Let's start drawing another cube to plan something up here. Maybe give it a little bit more breathing room here. Maybe instead of a perfect cube, I make this a little bit longer than it is wide. Something like that. You can just wrap it in for now. Obviously, you're going to be doing a lot of erasing too, so make sure you have a decent eraser. So, what I'm going to do is now delete the things that are behind this building. This is helpful to note at this stage of the process that your objects are going to overlap each other. So, the ability to know now what's going to be hidden can provide a lot of efficiencies over time, that you don't have to draw things that are eventually going to get covered up anyway. So, I'm just going to continue making some basic shapes. Let's get a little bit more complex with this next one, and try to challenge ourselves a little bit other than using just a perfect cube. So, I'm actually going to start off with a cube, like I normally would. But let's build it so that it has more of a interesting facade. So, I'm going to actually make it more like two tiered. I'm going to try to round its top. You don't have to be perfect about it. But you just want to try other things other than straight lines, and just see if it looks good. So, that building is a little bit more unique than the first two. I'm going to just start erasing things that are behind it and so on, just polish it out from here. So basically, I have three rough building shapes. I'm going to go ahead and start playing around with what's going on in this part of the city. If I were to just build more buildings, I'd actually start covering up, I just illustrated there. So, for the sake of showing as much as possible, I'm actually going to make this part more of like a coastline. You can see this technique applied in something like the mirror that we did that, we're typically trying to layer the composition with taller objects in the background, shorter objects in the foreground, and that opens things up to be able to see everything, rather than covering up smaller details that you might otherwise lose, depending on how you lay your composition. I'm just using straight lines to draw this for now, but obviously that's not how like a coastline would look. So, once you have those rough areas in, you can go ahead and delete the corners with eraser and start rounding things out. So, it's little bit more organic to what you would actually see in real life. So, the process of actually illustrating always starts with something very mathematical and straight, but you can customize based off that. So, right now, I have a bit more of a flow we look. Since this area right here is going to be representing water, I'm going to go ahead and just rough in a boat. One way to do that, is just to draw the base of the boat. I'm imagining that it would be more like the shapes, so it points in the front. So, now that I have a base for a boat, I'm going to start making the three-dimensional aspect of it. So, it's like build the base up and make it a little bit more 3D, and maybe make a taper a little bit, so that it has a longer top than it has a bottom. I want this to also be a bit of a more interesting boat so that it has layers to it. So, I'm going to actually come rough in a box on top. So, let's cover rough placement of what a boat would look like. Then, it's just about filling in the space from there, so I have a grid system of all these different objects. Let's go ahead and maybe film this area with some trees. It's going to start off with simple circles, and I'm just going to draw on their little stumps. So, I just threw in some circles there for now. Obviously, we're going to get into the mathematics of are these actual isometric angles? Is it mathematically going to work with this actual grid system? But for now, I just want to place in what you know. For me, a basic way to throw in trees would just be a circle, you could obviously make them taller if you want to or wider, but don't worry too much about the math at this point, the grids they're to help you lay things out. But, we'll be able to polish this once we actually draw it on illustrator. So, moving on to filling in the rest of the space, I think what I'm going to do is draw some sort of lighthouse right here. You can use the grid system to decide on its base. Right now, if I want it to be center, I'm actually just going to draw a base of where I wanted to start. To get a circle in that base, you just eyeball it, but you don't want all the sides to touch. So, getting that kind of motion. That's what a circle would look like at that angle. Again, it doesn't have to be perfect, but this will help you use something that's as cylindrical as a lighthouse to actually get that base started. So, I'm going to start with that and start building from here. Just like how this building works, imagine if it was rounded rather than chiseled. So, from here, I'm going to come to set on its middle part, grow the height of the actual building from there and then draw another circle. Now, you have the skeleton of what a lighthouse is. Then, I'm just going to use my ruler to do that taper. Then, I'm just going to finish it off to make the top. You can actually add the railing like this. Like all the other illustrations, I'm just going to start erasing things that are behind it so that we can actually see a true hierarchy of what's in front and what's behind. Then lastly, it looks like there's some space on the road here, it would be probably smart to show some sort of activities, so I'm actually going to draw a car. Same thing, I'm going to start off with a base using the line work that's provided. Then, same thing using the line work that's going the other direction. Basically, imagine a rectangle just laying flat. So, that's pretty much like how at the base of a car would look or the shadow of a car, and then I'm just going to build from there. So, bringing up the vertical lines, giving a little bit more three-dimensionality like a box, and then seeing what I can do to actually make the top of the car a little bit taller than its actual base. So, it's like a quick and easy way to just draw something really rough, but you can start to see a remnant of what a car would look like at this angle. One thing to note here is that, building these as an example, we're not worrying too much about the true scale of how big a car would be compared to a building, compared to a lighthouse. But, if you were going to be using isometric illustration to build a map, or a floor plan, or something that you really want it to be to scale, one nice thing about this grid system, is you could use this grid to apply a scale. So, let's say one square on the grid is a one foot by one foot square or 10 by 10 feet. There are ways that you could use this to get something that's very accurate. All right. So, that's the first steps to getting your sketch down, it's all about planning. So, I basically have a wireframe of all of my buildings. Now, the next thing to think about is both detail and shading or lighting. I'm going to actually start drawing in some details just to get an idea of what things would look like. So, for this building, obviously I want windows. I'm going to try to do windows on all the buildings, but do them in slightly different ways just to give it more variety. So, for this building, I'm just going to do horizontal lines. The way that works is just using the actual grid systems. So, you can see with the lines that are here, I can rough in what that might look like. But, I can be more accurate with it by using my ruler and looking at the grid as closely as possible. So, I'm just going to go ahead and draw in those lines. All right. So, now that I have a general plan for the windows for this building, I'm going to go ahead and add in the windows for this one, but let's do something slightly different. Instead of actually making just horizontal lines, I'm actually going to do more of like arched windows, typical windows you would see in a real city. So, I'm going to finish up this building which is our most complex building. I'm just going to do some quick windows in the front. But I want this arc here to actually have more of an interesting ultra large window. So, I'm actually going to find it's halfway point. Then, using the actual lines in the grid, build up the windows like that. Let's go ahead and actually give it more of a perimeter, so it's not going waddle all here. Now, that Dan has finished creating the skeleton of our illustration, one thing we need to consider is light source and shadow and how we want that to play a role in the final illustration. So, to take a look at that, we're going to do a quick demo to look at how light source for a project like this is maybe a bit more complicated than dealing with a flat illustration. 4. Determining Your Light Source: So, to understand how light source and shading is going to work in our illustration, let's take a look at a real-world example of how light actually affects a cube. So, we have this cube here, and I'm going to apply a light source to it, and we can immediately see a few things. The surface that the light is hitting most directly is creating a highlight, our brightest surface. We also have a midtone, we see the lights hitting this surface a little bit less. Then back here, the area that's most hidden from our light source is our darkest shadow. In addition, we can also see that there's also a shadow being cast on the surface by the object. So, right here, this is everything we need to know in order to create realistic lighting and shading in our illustration. What we want to keep in mind once you get to the vector stage and start picking out colors is to think about colors in groups of three, the highlight, the midtone, and the shadow. We can also look at the fact of if we'd like to change our light source a bit. As I move the light source around the object, we can see the shadow moving, and which surface has the brightest highlight color can also change. So, it's really up to you where you want your light source to be, and how you want it to react. But just be aware that you'll always be dealing with those three surfaces as well as the shadow, and you'll be good to go. So, now that we've taken a look at how lighting affects an object in the real world, now we can look at how that lighting technique can be applied to our sketch, and eventually our illustration. So, to recreate what we just saw, I'm going to just draw a cube really quick just to have a replication of this actual light source. So, I'm just using the grid here, and we decided that the light source is going to be coming from the left here. So, I'm just going to just make a little sun icon as reminder, and it's directly adding light to this side of the cube. So, what that means is that on this side of the cube, we are getting a shadow. But since it's more bright on the top than it is on the side, a midtone is going to be more like this. So, you can see that we have something three-dimensional happening. One thing if you want to actually get more complex with this style is to think about the shadows that are going to be blade on to the actual surface. So, let's say that this actual cube was sitting on an actual surface, we ever want the shadow coming from this light source to be represented behind it. So I'm just going to actually use the actual isometric grid to create a shadow. So, now we basically have what looks like a three-dimensional cube.This is using a couple of civil shapes and have just a few colors. So, I'm going to go ahead and apply this technique to the rest of the illustration. This process will also start to show us how the shadows will interact with the various objects in the illustration, see if we start to get any strange interactions or decide if you want your light source coming from a different direction, we chose upper left here. But you may decide that you want other elements lit more brightly depending on what you're making. So whatever you choose to be your light source. We recommend drawing a little sun or light somewhere on your page, and that'll always be that reminder to make sure all the lighting is consistent, and that will give you the most realistic look. Moving on to more complex objects like this light house and these trees, it's a little more complicated, and we'll show you how to do that as accurately as possible in the vector illustration. But typically with a sphere, you would actually want a circle to represent the highlight, and then the rest of shadow. So, I'm just going to rough that in, and that's how you would show a light source on the something like spherical, like an actual tree. So, this is a good point to look at all the objects in your drawing, and just think what is going to actually cast a shadow and what objects don't need to cast a shadow. So, something like this car, it probably does make sense to cast a shadow depending on the colors that we are going to be choosing. Something like this huge building right here is going to cast a huge shadow, and it would be taken up all this area. But it really doesn't really affect the buildings right here because it's really only going to show shadow here. So, I'm not going to really worry about certain objects, just based off of how it's going to look aesthetically. This whole process is a battle between math and aesthetics. So we typically start with math, and we end with making sure it looks as good as possible. Then moving on to any other objects I can see here, I'm going to add a shadow to this boat for example. Beyond actually making choices of shading based off of light source, you also want to think about shading in terms of the content. Something's going to be darker than others, not based off the light source but just based off what it is. So, obviously an ocean is going to be darker than sand. So I'm going to go ahead and just shade in the ocean here, and that'll give us an indication of what color that needs to be when we bring this into our Illustrator file. To talk about the practical application of how we use these sketches, we typically start with what you just saw. We would consider more of an internal rough thumbnail sketch. Basically, a proof of concept for Dan and I to see that something's working if we want to make any changes. But then we'll go ahead and make a more polished refined version of the sketch, and that's what ends up going to a client if we're looping them into the process, so they can get a sense of where we're headed with the project, and get their feedback as soon as possible. One other thing will sometimes do like in the case of the mural, is actually take that sketch and map it onto the physical surface, so they can even get a sense of how this art might look in context. Next up, we're going to take your sketch into the computer, and show you how to make your own grid, so you can now translate into vector illustration and have guidelines as you proceed through the illustration process. 5. Creating Your Grid: So, the first step to creating your isometric illustration is to create a grid of guidelines. What's different about isometric illustration is that the guidelines have to be a specific angle. So, I'm going to show you how to do that on the computer now. So, the first step is to go to your shape area and just select "Polygon", and go ahead and just draw it anywhere on your board. You're going to want to rotate the polygon so that it's 90 degrees from what you created. So, it's actually going to be like this. One way to do that is just holding down "Shift" obviously. So, now you get points on the top and bottom. What we're going to do is just turn into an outline instead. I'm going to go ahead and make that a little thicker. The next step is going to be to grab a "Line Segment Tool" and you're going to actually connect it to all these different corners to create a grid. Now, one thing you really want to make sure of before you get started in all of this, is that you have your "Snap to Point" selected under "View", but also your "Snap to Pixel" and "Snap to Grid" turned off. If you have "Snap to Grid" and "Snap to Pixel" turned off, then you won't have any issues with alignment. But if you have them turned on, then they're actually going to force your hand to like magnetize to areas that you don't want. So, what I'm going to do is keep those off and have "Snap to Point" on. You can see what happens once I'm moving over these corners. Another thing if you don't use it, have "Smart Guides" on. That will allow you to see these little icons pop up. So, that's just a couple of quick settings to make sure you can do this as accurately as possible. So, I'm going to just take that "Line Segment Tool" and grab it from corner to corner here and create the beginning of a grid. So, you should end up with something like this and just double-check and make sure that all your connections are actually going to these corners. So, one thing I'm going to do is I'm going to grab everything, I'm just going to group it really quick so it's one shape, so I can just move it around. But in order to turn this into an actual grid, you're going to actually grab the shape and hold down "Option" and "Shift" at the same time, and just scroll over to the right. You can see what happens is that it actually lines up and snaps to that shape you just created. So, now you're creating a grid by just repeating the shape. You can do the same thing by actually taking it and moving it down as well. So, this is what an isometric grid is and actually what's going to happen at this point is, it's just going to repeat itself over and over again. One way to make sure that you can actually do this quicker is to just start by making two and then repeating itself over and over again, and you're going to have to get smaller and smaller. So, I'm going to do is actually start this corner up here to my art board and actually line it up to it. This is kind of the beginning of how big it can get. So you can see if I take those two, I scroll over, I'm doubling it up and this is an exponential process where each time you do it, grab the whole selection, you go from two to eight to sixteen and so on. Alright, now we have this all filled in. I'm going to go ahead and delete what I don't need at the bottom here, and we have a grid. Now, the next step is to actually turn these all into a guideline for you to use. What you can do is grab everything and then go to "Command+ 5" and then now everything is turned to a grid that's actually being used as guidelines. So, this is now something I can use and draw on top of and everything will snap to point and not actually shapes anymore. If you don't want to go through this process of making your own grid like this, we actually have a file ready for you to download. It's basically exactly what we have made here. So, now that we have a grid in place, this is where we're actually going to start drawing on top of it and creating our illustrations. So, the next step is to talk about color, lighting, and how it's going to look as an overall style before we actually get into real illustration. 6. Choosing Style & Color: So, now that we've moved into the computer, the next part of our process is going to be deciding how we want our actual vector illustration to look including color and style decisions. Like we discussed in the lighting demonstration we're going to have a highlight, a mid-tone, and a shadow. As you can see here, Dan's starting to build a color palette that we're going to use for this particular illustration. For your own project, you want to consider how many colors you want to use if you're going from more of a monochromatic look, without lines, or perhaps a very colorful illustration style, but for this example for the class, we're going to show how you can use minimal color palette to achieve still a good amount of color in range, and then you'll be able to build from this for your own project depending on your desired look. All right. So, now that we have a grid in place, I've premade some colors here to work with, and I'm going to turn on my grid by making sure guides are turned on. A command for that is, command semicolon. So, now you can see all these little triangles that we created, and this is basically how you would create your first piece of illustration. To really talk about color, we're going to just start with a cube. I'm going to go ahead and grab my pen tool, and I'm just going to start building inside this grid, and actually creating a shape. Now it's white let me go and change it to a color. The next I'm going to create another facade. Let's go ahead and change that color, and then lastly we got this top and you can see where this is going. We're basically just finishing up a cube illustration. So, you can see I made my three facades, and I'm going to go ahead and change the color here. So, I'm going to go ahead and turn off my grid and just check out what this cube looks like. So, you can see it already has a bit of a three-dimensional look but, let's really discuss the lighting on this, and how we can make it look as three-dimensional as possible. So, right now if I were to decide that my light source is, let's say, and just draw sun over here for example. So, it's coming down onto this left side, like we've seen before in our demo that the top is going to be the lightest. So, I'm going to go ahead and make that blue, and I'm going to make this side right here more on my mid-tone, and I'm going to make this side more my shadow. So, now we have a blue cube that looks three-dimensional based of our decision to make the light source on this side. Now one thing we also wanted to consider is the shadow that it creates. So, I'm actually going to create, using the same grid a shape right here. Now we have a cube and that looks like the sun is beaming on it on the left side and it was only been created with just four simple shapes. So, one thing to consider when creating your color palette is to give yourself as much freedom as possible. So, you can see here using a white background. We're only using really four colors. But the reason we chose more colors than that is because what would happen if this need to be illustrated on another background. Let's say this time it's going to be the same color as this color here. You can still see the cube but obviously, we're having some issues with how it disappears in the process. So, what we're going to do is actually see what it looks like using some of the lighter colors of the grays and the whites. That gives us enough reason to have these many colors and show that we have versatility and obviously, the more options you have, the more versatility you'll have in the design process. So, if you want to challenge yourself, you can limit your colors but I would say anywhere between five and six is a good safe number. When it comes to making decisions on your color palette just keep in mind that you're going to have a highlight, you're going to have a mid-tone, and you're going to have a shadow on a cube like this. Your mid-tone is like the family of colors, and what's going to be happening with the highlight and shadow, is that those are basically either lighter or darker. So, it's really up to you how you want to make that. You can change it by changing the transparency to see what look like at 50 percent, you can change it by making this multiplied on itself. But it is more of a visual process. So, for now we've made this more like the 50 percent, this is like a 25 percent, and then this is like a 100 percent, or maybe 75 percent. But you want to an increment of steps so that they feel like they have enough contrast from each other, and that they feel like they're still part of the same family. We just chose Blue for our purposes. This is actually a very similar color palette to a packaging design we did for Almanac. But feel free to use any colors you want. You can use a whole world of colors, you can keep it monochromatic like we did. It's really up to you and the style you're going for, and if this is for a client it's really for the client project, and that should be how you dictate your color choices. So, on the topic of client work, we've recently done a couple isometric projects for Almanac Beer Company, and while they're both isometric projects stylistically and color wise they are pretty different. So, just to explain why we made the decisions that we did. The first mural that we made for them went into there San Francisco tap room, which is a fairly small space, and they wanted to have a mural but, they didn't want the mural to completely overtake the space. So, what we did is, we used a very limited palette of just three colors. Part of the way we were able to do that, is by using outlines. So, the outlines give us the ability to define things within the same color range rather than just having to use solid colors throughout. So, that's a consideration you might want to have in your own work, and then as far as the color selection, we used colors that were all in the space. So, it really felt complementary and blended in, and didn't really feel too in your face. In contrast to that, we did an isometric mural for their new brewery which is a gigantic warehouse space, and it's completely filled with wood. So, for that our brief was basically to create an illustration that would be saturated with lots of color, and really pop out and contrast nicely with all the wood. So, you can see here in this case we didn't really need to use strokes as much because we had a much bigger color palette at our disposal. I think we used over 16 different colors in this mural but, using the same steps we'll be using in this class as far as with each color in this mural, it had a highlight, mid-tone, and shadow. We used a few different shades of gray as well, and had them all work together similar saturation. So, it all felt like a family, and then when it was placed in the actual environment, it really did stand out against the warm surroundings. Just to summarize what Nathan said about strokes versus fills. In a nutshell, having only fills as your style, will require to use more colors because everything's butted up against each other. But going back to our other issue where, what happens if we change the color of the background, and we don't want to have this thing disappear. It could completely just be about having the right stroke, and you can see that, now you can actually see it using strokes. So, in this circumstance, we don't have to use the whites or the grays. We're actually using less colors but the strokes makes it more possible for you to show the division of colors because they're separated by a line. As far as bringing the client into the process, the color selection is really a collaboration between us making some recommendations, and in some cases the subject matter dictating. For example, with the brewery mural, being a lot about the San Francisco Bay, we knew water was going to be very central to that, and we also knew that a blue color like this cyan water, would be a nice complimentary color to all the warm orange tones of the wood in the space. So, we made that recommendation to our client, they liked that idea so, we ran with it. But in some cases, their branding may come into factor with the colors as well. So, it's definitely a collaborative effort between our recommendations based on trying to achieve what they're looking for with any particular project. So, right now we actually have our color palette more or less decided on but these are all global colors, which means that, we could change them on the fly. So, let's say we want to make a new palette here, and you're starting this process from scratch. Let's say the background is more a color like this. Let's go through the spectrum of getting more of a monochromatic brown scheme for example. You don't have to be super confident with it in the beginning because the cool thing about global colors is you can change them on the fly. But in order to make these global colors, all you have to do is select everything, and then go into new color group in your swatch area, and just say, "Select artwork, convert process to global," and you will actually be able to create a folder with all these colors. So, once you have these selected and you actually have a set of global colors. Let's just give an example would look like if this set of colors was everywhere in your file. This would represent the illustration already in place. This is where you can double-click in and change your file, your colors on the fly. So, I'm going to go ahead and double-click on a swatch, hold down preview, and just change everything to magenta, and all of a sudden just repeating that process through each swatch we can on the fly just change things as we go. Don't worry about the color choices that you're making right now. You don't have to be married to them. Basically the cool thing about global colors is that you can change them on the fly, and if you want to change them to a completely different set, you can do it later just by clicking into the palette area. So, at this point, we'd like you to create your own color palette. Make sure that you have as many colors as we're using here so you have plenty of options, and the other thing is to make sure that they have nice incremental variation between each colors so you can clearly see how the light source would affect an object. From here, Dan is going to take over, and show you the different tools that we use to create the style of illustration in Illustrator. 7. Customizing Isometric Cubes: Okay. So, now we are going to jump into illustration. It all really just starts with a simple cube, and we've already created one. So, we're just going to use that as a base. But before we actually start drawing, we we have to bring in our sketch. So, I'm going to just show you a quick technique that we use to make things as easy as possible. So, go ahead and just create a new layer. I'm just going to call it sketch. I'm going to put it below our art file, I mean our art layer. I'm just going to change its color so it's a little bit different than the red that we already chose. Then we're going to go ahead and in that actual layer, place the sketch. It's going to look something like that. So, right now, you can see that's in this specific layer and what we're going to want to do, is turn back on our grid and try to really just align it up with the grid as much as possible. You can see that since we used the template that actually had the grid already in place, that at some point it will actually really align nicely. I'm just trying to get it so that it actually aligns up with these corners here. So, you can see that outer edges that I drew, that's a good way to make sure that it aligns. So, I'm going to make it just a little bit bigger. It just takes a little bit of wiggling, but you can see that really aligns with the grid here. This will make it easy for you to actually use the grid with your sketch. So, I'm going to go ahead and change its transparency into something a little bit lower. Say, like 60 percent, so, it's not that visible. I'm going to lock it and go ahead and turn off my grid for now. So, you can see how it's in place. What's going to happen if you start drawing over this on your art file, is you can see I can just create shapes within our palate that we created, and you're just basically drawing on top of it but you can't see it. So, in order to avoid this, we're going to actually target this layer right here, this little button right here. Click on it, and then click multiply. Now, we can draw on top of our illustration and not have to worry about not being able to see it. All right. So, the first step really to get started like I said before, is to start using the cube that you already created. So, let's go ahead and just grab this cube, group it, and this will be like you're building block literally for creating this entire city. So, for example. If I were to bring this in and try to align it up to this building, you can see that am almost making this building complete just by using the exact same cube. Obviously, it's not the same exact shape but we can customize from here. So, what I'm going to do, is actually turn on my grid and try to line it up with the grid first. So, right now if I were to grab the corner of this, I can actually bring it into the corner of the grid. You can see that how it's aligning here is pretty good vertically. But you also may notice that it's not going to be as tall as the, I'm sorry, it's not going to be as long as the building. If I were to actually grab just these nodes at the top here by using my white arrow tool and selecting just the top, I can bring it up to this level to be this tall. But it's not quite the same shape. So, this is just a series of using either the lasso tool or the white arrow tool to customize your cube and make it exactly what you want. So, right now have the right height, but let's make a little bit deeper. Again, that's just grabbing the right node. So, I'm going to grab this node and then these two nodes. You can see if I were to do that, I can make it as deep as I want. But use the grid to make sure that you're staying within the rules of bi-symmetric line works. So, right now I'm just going to bring it to here so that actually I'm sticking with the grid as much as possible. Then what I'm going to do, is just finish this out and do it to the other side. So, now that I have the main buildings in place, I'm going to use the exact same technique to create these little top areas of the buildings. You can create your own guidelines on top of the guidelines that are already in existence. So, right now I want to have this like little box on top of the building. But I also want to make sure it looks centered onto the buildings. So, if I turn on my grid, you can see that I'm not aligned to the grid perfectly in this area. But to make sure that you're aligned to the illustration, you can actually use your own shapes to create new guidelines. I'm going to go ahead and use this exact shape by duplicating it first. So, go ahead and grab it with the white arrow tool and copy in place. So, you want to just do command C, Command F. That makes it so that in the same exact place, you just duplicated the exact same shape. Then from there, I'm going to hold down option and shift and reduce down its size to be centered to itself. Just so that you can see what it looks like, I'm going to make that blue. So, that's basically creating a footprint of this new shape that you're creating. From there, I can go ahead and just build out this actual unique rectangular cube thing. So, I'm going to go ahead and turn this into a guideline for myself by just going into command five. You can see that it's sitting in there within the grid. So, that's a good starting point for you to take the cube you already created, get it into place, and for the sake of being able to see it, I'm actually going to change the color of the cube. So, let's go ahead and make this white, this gray, and I'm going to make this a darker blue. I'm going to place it into this area, so that I'm going to grab a corner and drop it into that guide that it's graded. Using the same rules that we just went over, I can actually go into this actual shape and customize it. That's how you would make a top and cost obviously make it longer or wider, whatever you'd like. But I'm going to do the same thing with this area here. So, now that we have our main shapes of these two buildings in place, I want to plan out the city a bit more before we get into more complex shapes. So, I'm just going to go ahead and build my road.. This is a good opportunity for anybody to start laying out their city and the road is what dictates where everything is placed. So, you can see how I have that laid out in my sketch. I'm actually going to turn on the grid to help me make the road. So, you want the road to be aligning with the actual grid here. I'm just going to start drawing and with the pen tool a simple road using actual grid. Let's go ahead and make this darker. I also want to create a cross street. Now, obviously this cross street is going behind this building but I still want to draw it. So, I'm going to go ahead and hide this building for now by doing command three, and draw this road right here. Then you can bring back your building if you'd like. But one thing I really want to make sure is that, you can see that there's some alignment issues here. I'm just going to go ahead and make sure my buildings all grouped together, so I can move it. But just grab the corner with your black arrow tool and slide it into that corner. You'll see that little tiny upside down V to ensure they're actually going to a tangent. We can zoom and you can see that everything is nice and aligned. As one last step to add a little bit more complexity to this road, I'm actually going to want to add a sidewalk. In order to do that, I'm going to make a couple quick moves. This is just how we usually handle stuff like roads. So, basically, I'm going to grab both these streets. I'm going to unite them in the Pathfinder tool, so they're one shape. So, once you have this as one shape, go ahead and add in a stroke. Make sure that it's aligned so that the stroke is on the inside not the outside or the middle. That will allow you to grow a sidewalk within the street. Now, you can see it pretty much works except it creates these little areas right here. There's a couple of ways to handle that. You can either expand this out and have it in its own clipping mask, or you could expand the whole shape out and customize yourself. But for the sake of this illustration, I'm actually going to just make it bigger. The way I just did that was by grabbing these nodes and waiting for the line extension to actually align with what it's doing. So, you can actually make it as long as you want. But as long as you're getting that little highlight, you know that you're going at the right angle. So, I don't have to have the grid on to make sure that the street gets bigger. I just need to use the white arrow tool and make sure it's aligning. Let's go in and create a base behind this whole city. It's going to look a little something like this. I'm working in a little blindly here and turn off my grid. Let's go ahead and make this gray for now. Go ahead and use that exact shape to use things as a clipping mask. So, what I'm going to do, is take the shape, copy, and place it in place. I'm going to take this road that we just created, send it to the back of it. So, it's behind the shape we just created, and then grab both. With the right-click, you're going to be able to make a clipping mask. In that way, it sits inside that shape and the sidewalks are actually going past this perimeter. So, for this portion of the illustration, we're just focusing on really basic shapes, anything that can be created by using your pre-existing cube. So, this includes skyscrapers that are just taking the cube and making them taller, you can also make a cube like wider if you want to make more of a warehouse. We made the cube actually turn into more of a tapered building by just grabbing certain nodes and making them smaller. This is also a really good opportunity for you to start laying out the city like anything that's flat ground level like the base of the whole city, the streets or even the coastline if you want to get into that now. Next we're actually going to start creating something a little more complex. Since isometric angles are very specific, what would it take to take something that has more of a rounded edge and turning it into a Isometric angle? We're going to be actually using the 3D rotate tool to do that. 8. Tools: 3D Rotate, Reflect, & Blend: In this lesson, we're going to take something that's a little more complex like an arched window or a circle, and rotate it so that it's exactly at the Isometric angle that you want. There's a quick and easy way to do that using the 3D Rotate Tool. So, for instance, if I wanted to create these little arched windows in my sketch, I can just start by making a window. Usually how I would do that is by drawing a rectangle, and then grabbing the top nodes, depending on your version of Illustrator, you could have rounded corners which is one of the best tools they've added in a long time. We'll just grab this right here, and you actually get a rounded top like that. So, that's quick and easy way to make a arched window. But, I also want to make it so it's at this angle. So, that it fits inside this building. Obviously, I can't just place them in because they're not going to be at the Isometric angle that I want. But, I'm going to go ahead and grab this arched window, and I'm going to select effect 3D rotate. Once I have this window open, you're going to go to preview, and make sure you have a preview of what you're about to do. So, you can see if I just really nearly grabbed this around, it actually changes the angle of this window. This is a quick and easy way to get a three-dimensional look of just a single facade. But obviously none of these angles are actually what we're looking for. What we really want is a isometric angle. Luckily, there's a position that's already affiliated with this 3D tool. You can use isometric left, right, top, or bottom. Since this is on the left side of my building, I'm going to do isometric left. you can see that it aligns with that facade of the building. So, I'm going to go ahead and say okay. Now, you can take this and really move it anywhere on this facade, and it's going to be at the right angle, you can use your guides to check. But you can see how the base of the window is at that actual angle that you're looking for. So, now that you have this window in place, let's go ahead and expand it. So, you'll want to just go to expand appearance under object. You can see it's not exactly the color that you wanted. It's using some transparency in the background plus that color. In order to make it all the color that you want, go ahead and just push merge under pathfinder. Right now, it is black. I'm going to go ahead and change it to the dark blue that we have set in our palate. Now, I also want these to all be on the same facade, and I'm just going to go ahead and duplicate them, and this roughly put them in place. I'm just doing this by holding down the option button. I also want the outside zone to have all the same alignment. One quick and easy way to do that is to actually take a window outside of the edge of this building, and another one on the other side of the building. If you grab all of these and go to a line, and you distribute the spacing horizontally, you can get them to be aligned so that the spacing is exact on all sides. Now as a last step, I'm actually going to take these and make sure they're aligned with my grid. You can see that this one's a little high and this ones need to be lowered a little bit, and I was just bringing them down so they lined with the same facade of the building. As a last step, I'm going to actually take these three, group them, and obviously I can just continue bringing them down like this and duplicating them to get more windows. But there's actually a more efficient way to do this. So, I'm just going to take one of these groups, and bring them all the way down to the bottom of the building here. I'm going to grab both selections, and I'm going to make a blend out of this. So, you if you go to object, blend, and you go to blend options, you can actually specify how many rows of these windows you want in-between. So, I'm going to go to specific steps. Right now I'm going to do three. You can see that there's three in-between these two areas. Then as a second step, go back to object, blend, and then make. that is how you would get a whole row of windows. Why this is efficient is because, let's say you wanted to make a change to your building where is actually much taller. If you were to go into this grouping of windows and bring one up, you can see that it evenly distributes the windows. But obviously, there are too spaced out. If you go into blend again, by selecting this group, go to blend options, turn on preview and make sure preview is on, and then just go ahead and change the steps. So, this is a good way to make sure that you can have the freedom of changing the amount of windows without having to multiple duplications or a realigning or anything like that. So, now that I have this facade of these windows ready to go, I also want them to be on this side. So, one way to handle that is to grab this group and copy and paste in place by doing command C, command F. Now, go to your reflect tool, and you want to have reflect selected not rotate. Now the reason the reflect tool works so well in isometric design is because technically a cube in itself is symmetrical. So, if you were to flip something from one side to the other, they don't have to change angles. The angles technically are the same but opposite. So, that's why I'm able to actually take these windows and move them to the other side without having to worry about perfect math because the math is already there. Go ahead and hold down option, and then click it so that it's in the middle of this building here where the corner arrives. You can see that you get a couple options here. You can either horizontally or vertically rotate it. You can see when I turn on preview, that actually flips it on to other sides, basically mirroring itself. Now, one thing happened here. I'm noticing now obviously my building is a little bit longer than it is wide, and we want to be able to fill in those windows. So, there's not a quick and easy way to just add another window without perfect alignment. So, what I'm going to choose to do is actually expand this whole thing out, and go into it and just see what it would look like if I were to move a window manually. You can see I get the right spacing, but I'm probably not getting perfect spacing. So, the same process that we did before, the alignment is not going to be perfect. But what I'm going to do is actually make sure that these are all spaced out evenly through this facade, and hopefully aesthetically, they're going to look pretty normal. So, I'm going to grab everything, having windows on the outside of each edge, and go to distribute spacing, make sure it's a horizontal spacing. Obviously, it's going to move and adjust things a little bit. But we have our guideline to use as a safety net. So, you can see that what's happening here, my facade is not perfectly aligned with the grid, but that's okay. I can basically create my own guideline that's custom from here. So, I'm going to go ahead and make a little line segment using this guideline. I want to put a stroke on it so you can actually see what I'm doing. This is actually where it needs to start turning. So, I'm going to grab the edge of this and hit that spot. This is where the windows need to be aligned. So, using that segment, I'm going to create my own guideline by expanding it out and then doing Command five. So, now we have something to align to other than just the grid that we've provided it for ourselves. What I'm going to do is align this one to the edge and also the one on the outside to the edge. But don't worry about the ones that are in-between because there is a quick way to make sure that they actually do align. I can literally adjust these up and down slightly, and they will readjust. So, if you grab everything and distribute the spacing both vertically and horizontally, they will align that way. So, you only have to make two steps rather than go individually for each window. So, this is a good point to align to what we already created here by grouping these guys together. I'm going to just duplicate them down so that they are with the other windows. I know that this is hard to see. So, I'm going to change their color so you can see what I'm doing. When I duplicate, I'm going to make this a different colors. So, let's say dark blue. I'm just getting them close to the windows that are already there. I'm going to take this window and align it with this grouping by going to aligning horizontally to the left and vertically onto the bottom. Then that way, I have an expansion of windows that are basically all aligned. I don't have to use any of these windows anymore because once I grab the whole grouping of windows and align them vertically, they all line up. The math is already there. The program is meant to figure out this math for you. So, I can delete what I have originally and use these new windows as my facade. As one last step, I'm going to make sure they're all the same color so I can see them again. Let's go ahead and just take a look and make sure everything looks aligned. I'm going to turn off my sketch for now. Looks pretty good, and that's how you would make a arched window on two facades of the building. So, now we have these windows in place, let's use the Rotate tool one more time and create a helipad right here, basically a circle on top of this building that's at a nice symmetric angle. I can eyeball it and draw it like that. But technically, it has to be a specific ellipse to get it to be fitting perfectly into this little diamond shape. The way you're going to do that is pretty much exactly how you would do the arched windows. I'm going to make a perfect circle, and I'm going to go to Effect, 3D, Rotate. But this time, I'm going to do Isometric Top and go ahead and expand it out this way. Again, it makes a couple shapes when you expand it. So, go ahead and go Pathfinder merge. Now you have the more proper size circle. So, you can see when I bring this in, I was close on my ellipse, but I'm going to go ahead and try to align it manually here and change its color slightly so you can see the difference. So, I can either eyeball it. But technically, I was a little bit off. But you can use the perfect math of the Illustrator file using the Rotate tool to make sure that it is perfectly, mathematically done. In order to make sure that it is centered to it, you just grab both objects and click on object you're trying to aligned to one more time and use the Alignment tool to centralize it both vertically and horizontally. We're going to do the windows on our Taper Building here. But instead of doing arched windows, I just want to do horizontal lines. You can do this same thing using the Blend tool this way. That's how you would take horizontal lines and use a Blend tool to make windows. Going back to the Reflect tool, this is a good opportunity just to flip it onto the other side. So, I'm going to copy and paste it again and click on a center line where you want it to reflect on, by holding on Option and clicking on that corner. It flips onto the other side. While you're creating things to really start thinking about the color scheme, right now, obviously, I'm getting really high contrast look, and I'm just going to bring all these things into one group. By the way, make sure your buildings are together so that you don't have to break things apart as you're adjusting them. So, as I'm making this building, I'm realizing that I'm getting a really high contrast look, but not as much like of a light source that I'd like. So, as a final step, what I'm going to do is go into this Blend tool area and actually try to find these lines and change their color. That's one last thing I want to do. It's just going to become a slightly lighter blue. Now, we have a very three-dimensional look, where obviously the light sources happening on the left and we're getting a shadow on the right by using varying colors. This is why we chose six colors, so we have this much opportunity to have variety in our color scheme. So, as a next step, just go through all your buildings and decide if you would like to have certain windows. In this lesson, we made arched windows all in a grid. We made also horizontal windows on our tall building, but they're both using the Blend tool to multiply the windows over on top of themselves. So, feel free to use this to make any windows in your illustration. You can use a Blend tool in a lot of different ways as well. So, feel free to experiment. So, next up is the 3D Extrude tool. It's almost identical to the 3D Rotate tool, but it allows two facades to have an actual depth to them, so a kind of getting a 3D look rather than just taking a facade and turning it. We'll jump into that right now. 9. Tools: 3D Extrude: So, the next tool I'm going to be using is called 3D Extrude, which basically is using the same techniques as the rotate tool but it's actually making something have more depth and an example of that would be in our sketch. You can see here we have a very interesting building that's more complex than a regular cube. In order to see this building more clearly, I'm going to take this building that's right next to it and just hide it. So, right now, this building right here is using an arch as its top and it has depth. So, in order for this to actually work, the 3D Extrude tool is going to make it possible. So, I'm going to go ahead and just draw an arch like I did with like the windows. Let's go ahead and make it a lighter color for now. And then, I'm going to go into effect, 3D Extrude. Now, we get a interface that's similar to what we're used to seeing. I'm going to go and turn preview and see what happens. You can see that it rotates it. So, it chooses that thing that I just created as a facade but also creates depth, and I can move it around manually to give you an idea. So, again we're making a 3D shape but we want it to be an isometric angle. Luckily, there's a positioning that actually makes that happen. So, I'm going to go ahead and push isometric left under custom rotation. Now, it's actually at that angle that we want. You can see it's getting pretty close to the look of this building. Its depth isn't probably as deep as we want, but you can change that in this Extrude depth positioning. There's actually a bar that allows you to make it as long or thick as you want. Right now, I'm going to just say 80 and see what that looks like. Eighty sounds about right. I'm also noticing that the shading here, it looks a little plasticky and it's because it's using the surface plastic shading. You can say wireframe if you want and just get the basic shapes, or you can say no shading at all. I'm going to choose no shading because it's actually going to give me more variety in terms of making something custom. So, once I push okay and expand appearance, you can see it broke it up into a couple of different groups. And I'm going to go ahead and change this side to be a different color. Now, remember in your light source too, when you look at a cube the top is going to have a highlight. It wouldn't really make sense for the top of this building to actually have a shadow. So, I'm actually going to make this area right here a little bit lighter and see if it looks normal. And as the next step, I'm just going to place this into the actual file. Now that I have it placed, you can see that I was close on getting this to be like my sketch but it's not perfect. Actually, the sketch is showing that the drawing that I originally made is a bit taller and this is where you can actually customize this shape just like we customized the cube and make it taller. So, I'm going to go ahead and turn off my grid and I'm going to use the light arrow tool to just select the top of the building and keeping this base where it is. And if I hold shift, I can actually bring up its height to make it as tall or short as I want. So, pretty damn close to the actual sketch itself. So, now that I have this building in place, I'm just going to finish up the front of it really quick by using techniques we've already talked about. So, you can kind of see that this building is somewhat complete now just by using two different shapes. One was using the Extrude tool, the other one was using the cube. Now, let's create something a little bit more complex than just an arched window with depth. I can actually make things like a car using the Extrude tool, and I'm going to show you how to do that now. So, when you think of a car, think about the basic shapes. You have basically a base and you have a top. It's a little Fred Flintstone looking but that's kind of how a car is. Obviously, you can adjust things from here. What I'm going to go ahead and do is just unite this as the beginning of my illustration and I'm trying to draw a side of a car. Imagine like a side view silhouette of a car. So, right now, I'm going to just bring in these nodes so that they are not as tall, and I'm going to bring in this node, so it's showing more of a windshield. And maybe this one can be more of a hatchback or you can have a little more of a trunk. Obviously, I need a bit more of a hood. So, I'm going to bring this forward a little bit and just figure out the car style that you want and adjust things from just by making a couple of clicks. This looks a little bit boxy to me. So, I'm actually going to bring it down slightly, and then I'm going to bring back the trunk slightly as well. That looks more like a natural car shape. Now, we're not quite done. One other thing I want to do is change its color and add wheels. And I think that looks pretty car-like to me. I'm going to go ahead and group it. Now, this is where the magic comes in. I'm going to use the exact same tool, 3D Extrude, to make this three-dimensional. So, if you go to effect, 3D Extrude, and we turn on preview, you can see that it shows what I drew as a facade and made it have depth, and we're going to go ahead and do isometric left for this. Now, just with a couple of clicks, couple of shapes, we basically have a three-dimensional car. You can customize from here. Obviously, there's plastic shading or wireframe or no shading. But I like the plastic shading because it's not using any curves to actually make it look glossy. It's actually keeping it pretty geometric. So, I'm going to go ahead and save it. Again, you can make this car wider or shorter if you want. It could be like super wide or just like a more of a motorcycle. But basically, at 50 it was actually a nice jumping off point. Okay. So, now we have a car and you can see that it actually fits pretty nicely in our illustration as an isometric thing. So, from here I recommend actually customizing them even further. Remember, you have a color palette in mind, a light source in mind, and the light source is not exactly what we want. So, I'm going to go ahead and expand the whole thing out and you can see that it made it all into different shapes. So, we've determined that the tops need to be the brightest. So, I'm going to go ahead and make that bright. We've also determined that this part of the car is going to be in shadow, and in this part its going to be more of the mid-tone. And from here, you can actually customize even further like what if you want to add a windshield on a side. I'm going to go ahead and just draw on top of it. Just go ahead and place it in our file. Now, a couple of things happen when you place things in your file. You'll notice that since we have a limited color palette, we're actually getting some weird interactions. We no longer can see the wheels of the car. So, I'm going to go ahead and double-click into my car and actually change the color of the wheels. And you can select these things individually by using the white arrow tool if you want or just select all and you can change the color. Not a perfect science because obviously I grabbed the windows in the process. I'm going to bring those back to being dark. To take this even further, you can add headlights to this car. So, you can actually use the same facade from the wheels and rotate them. So, I'm actually going to bring this wheel for instance, and make it white and actually flip it. So, that's going on the other side of the car using the rotate tool. And it's the same math, like this could be used as headlights, for example. So, just go ahead and use pieces of your own illustration to just Frankenstein it into something else. And I'd recommend going even further if you can, like you can add more of a grill to the car or you can add extra things like more rounding but this is your car, your illustration and you can do it any style you want. So, the reason you would want to use the 3D Extrude tool would be if you wanted to create something that was already somewhat complex with its facade, and actually make it have depth. Obviously, you don't need to do this with things like a cube or a rectangle, but the side of a car or the side of an arched window, if you want those things to have depth and not going to change their facade, this is a great way to make it three-dimensional. Now, you don't have to use the Extrude in the way we did it where you have a facade and it's growing wider. You can actually make things grow taller as well. So, for this boat, it's using the same tool. When it comes to this style of illustration, everything really just starts with basic shapes. So, I'm going to go ahead and draw a rectangle and I'm going to add a node so that it has a point, and that's going to be centered to this center here. Then I'm going to grab these outer areas and actually pull them back, and we already have a bit of a boat look to it. And I'm going to go ahead and grab these two nodes and bring up for a little bit and actually use the rounded corners tool to actually give it a little bit more of a customized look. Now, that looks like the base of a boat to me. We're going to use the same tool we used before, which is 3D Extrude, and instead of doing it on its side like this, I'm actually going to do the position saying isometric top. Now, that's creating the body of a boat and it's side of a boat. I'm going to reduce down the size of its height a little bit by changing the depth. And I'm going to actually just do a wireframe to see how it's breaking these things up. So, what I'm seeing here is that if I just do no shading, it's going to be pretty basic shape. So, I'm going to go ahead and expand it and change its facade a little bit. So, right here is the side and also I'm want to have this tapered effect. One quick and easy way to do that is just grab this corner and bring it forward like this. And we're getting the beginnings of a real boat here. Now, in order for us to get more customized with it, we can see that there's other things going on like up here is more of like a cube on top, it has windows that are at the isometric angle but they're instead being circles or more like ovals. All these things you can do by using the tools that we used in some of the first lessons. So, feel free to customize as you see fit but we're going to move on from here. 10. Tools: 3D Revolve: So, the next tool we're going to play around with is called the 3D revolve tool. Imagine a slice of something rotating around itself to make it both cylindrical and symmetrical. I'm going to show you how to do that using a couple of simple steps. We're going to make a lighthouse and also a couple of trees. So, I'm going to go ahead and turn on my sketch. You can see I have some basic trees here. The way that I like to design these is using this revolve tool. So, the way this really works is starting off with a side of a tree for example, in this case, it'll just be a perfect circle to keep things simple. We also want to give it a trunk. Now, once you have something like this, go ahead and duplicate it so you have a copy of it. So, now we're going to just break this up into a couple pieces, and the way we're going to do it is draw a shape so that you're starting at the middle and moving outward. So, just so you can see what I just drew there, it's something like that. I'm just going to cut everything up so I'm ending up with basically a half of this tree. So, grab everything, go to pathfinder, and divide. Delete anything that you don't need which is the other side of the tree and the background. So, now what we're left with is a simple tree that's only using half of what we just drew here. Go ahead for the sake of simplicity, go to pathfinder and merge, and now that will turn into just two shapes rather than what you're seeing here which is three. So, now once I push that button, it's a shape here and a shape here. Pretty simple. Okay, so now we have this slice. I'm going to go ahead and copy it so I have a backup of it. Let's go ahead and go into effect 3D and revolve. Once I push preview, you can see what's happening here, is we're getting a revolution of the shapes, that we're getting a cylinder on top of a peg and it has a lollipop look or a tree. But, we can actually change its angle within this as well to be isometric left. So, it's following the rules of our actual art and right now, I have more options open, which actually gives us the ability to play with its light source. You can see that we can actually change it. So, it has the light source that we want that our file is using. But unfortunately, it's also be using plastic shading and it has a not so flat look. If I were to just go to wire-frame, I can try to figure out to make this myself or I can just no shading at all, but then I'm stuck with not understanding how something three-dimensional can actually have specific highlights. So, all I'm going to do is just play around plastic shading and just see if I can get a better idea of how to make this work in the file. But, I'm going to actually go into another version of this later on. So, right now, I'm just going to bring down the steps. So, you can see I'm getting a little bit more simplicity here. I'm going to use this as a guideline for my next object. So, take the same thing that you duplicated, and go into 3D revolve. But this time, let's go ahead and make it no shading. So, now we have the exact same thing, but it's simple. However, I do want to have this highlighting, but I also want to make it a little bit more customizable to our style. So, I'm going to go ahead and actually expand this all out, and I'm going to push the merge button so I can just make this into two simple shapes. Now, the shape that I'm seeing here is pretty good in terms of the highlight, but it's a little bit wonky. So, what I'm actually going to do is, try to replicate it with a new shape, and try to recreate what we're seeing here, and then I'm actually just going to bring that over onto the shape that I created. Now, if I ungroup this, I can use this as a clipping mask, this shape we are seeing here which is the perfect circle. This right here, is considered a highlight. Now, you can see that I kind of went overboard in terms of going past the perimeter, but I'm actually going to clip it inside the same shape that's behind it. So, I'm going to take this circle, copy and paste in place, which is command C command F, bring it forward all the way and grab that shape, and put it inside a clipping mask. So, now what we have is something that uses that light source, but is in more of the simplified style that we're going for. So, I'm going to go ahead and group this together, bring it into our file. You can already see that there is a couple of issues that we're dealing with. One, it's disappearing into the background, so I'm going to go ahead and change a couple of colors here just to get it to be the way we want it. That looks a little bit easier to see. Then lastly, I'm going to play around with giving it an actual shadow. One quick and easy way to do that is to take the shape that you just created, turn it on its side, unite the whole thing so it's basically one shape, and then we're going to go into the same tool that we learned in the very beginning which is 3D rotate. Instead of isometric left, we're actually going to do isometric top. So, this allows it to actually be at the angle of the isometric grid. We're going to line it up with the stump here, and just push it back. I'm going to go ahead and expand it, merge it, and that looks like a tree with a shadow and it's using all the same isometric rules. Before I move on to the rest of my illustration, I'm going to go ahead and align these with my sketch as closely as I can. But, I also want to keep in mind that they need to stick to the grid. So, I've grouped this together, and I'm just going to go ahead and copy them a little bit so that they line up relatively close to what I actually sketched. But obviously, the math is a little bit off and a little wonky because this one is a little higher than this one in terms of this line work that we're seeing here. We want it to be going parallel to the road for example. So, what I'm actually going to do is just bring this one up so that it's right next to the road, and bring this one up so it's right next to the road. Then this one will follow suit if we use the distribute lining alignment. So, I'm just going to go ahead and grab all three. Go to distribute spacing and go ahead and push horizontal. That'll make it, so that's equal in-between both of those trees on the outer edges. But also if you push vertical, then it brings itself up and follows that line work. So, now this grouping is really aligned with the grid. Now, for the grand finale of this illustration, it's going to be the lighthouse, which is designed very similar to how this tree works. Technically, it's symmetrical because all sides are equal. But it's also a cylinder. So, basically, we're going to create it the same way. So, what I'm going to do first is actually draw a flat version of this. And the way that's going to happen is by drawing just some basic shapes and customizing them from here. So, that's a really quick way to make this lighthouse. But it gets a little more complex when it comes to revolving it. So, like we did before, let's go ahead and just make a backup of it. Let's break up what we actually have going on on this first one. So, I'm going to go ahead and make a shape that centerises itself to its axis and set it behind it. I'm going to grab everything and go ahead and just divide it using a pathfinder tool. Like we did before, I'm just going to delete what we don't need. So, we're going to end up with basically half of our illustration. Okay. So, let's go ahead and see what this looks like using the same technique that we used on the trees. So, if we go to 3D, revolve, and we go to isometric left, turn on preview, we get that kind of look. Now, I'm just going to go ahead and just take a look at it for now and see what's happening with any of these aliasing. So, what we're getting is some odd shapes. It's a little bit messed up, but it's so because it's probably using plastic shading. One way to handle this is to make a couple of versions to play with. So, for now, what I'm going to do is take one of these, go to 3D, revolve, and play around with what it would look like, just using the plastic shading, and making sure my light source is actually top left. Technically it looks good, but we also want it to be as few steps as possible when it comes to blending. And right now, we need to simplify it. So, I'm going to go down to as few as I possibly can. That sounds about right or looks about right. So, this is where things get a little tricky. It's not perfect, but what we can do is actually expand it out and customize from here. So, I went ahead and expanded. And I'm going to go ahead and push divide. So, you can see when I cut things up, every single piece that's here is its own little shape. But there's also stuff going on behind it. So, I'm also going to push merge. So, this is simplifying it as close as we can using that plastic shading with as few blend steps as possible, but obviously it's not using our color scheme. So, this really comes down to just going into this thing that you created and customizing those colors and shapes as much as you can based off the style that you chose. So, what I'm going to go ahead and do is just move through this and clean it up, change it's colors, and get it to a place where I feel like it's really our style. So, now I think I'm in a good spot to actually bring this into our illustration. Obviously, it's a little smaller than we had in mind. So, I'm going to bring it up. And a couple of things happening, it's definitely blending them with its background a little bit. And it also has to have a shadow. So, let's get into actually making a couple of small changes to make sure it matches. I'm also noticing that, as I'm making these changes, there are some odd things happening from the rendering, like these little extra pieces here. One way to handle those is to just select these items and go ahead and push the unite button. That will get rid of some of them. You might then need to manually remove things here and there. But just be aware that once you use this plastic shading and 3D technique, that it creates odd shapes that you don't necessarily want in the process. But if you're diligent enough, you can go in and just clean things up. And there we go. We have a finished lighthouse. Okay. So, now that I have everything illustrated in my file, I'm just going to go in and make a couple of tweaks, some color changes, and just do a once-over and try to polish things up individually. And then after that, I'm just going to bring Nathan in and see if he has any other extra notes before we show this to our client. 11. Putting It All Together: So, after taking a final look at this file I just made a couple of changes and tweaks just to see if I can improve it in any way individually. For instance, the car was all blue and it was blending in with its background. So, I went ahead and changed that to a white car. The lighthouse is slightly different, I changed the shape of its slightly and the colors, and then also I notice that the facade of this building really needed to be completed. So, I went ahead and changed that a little bit and not actually added a more of a detailed front to it, but I think this is a good point for Nathan to jump in and see if there's any extra changes that actually need to be made. So, part of the reason why we like working together as a team is, while one of us is working on a project individually, we can check in with the other pass the file back and forth and look at any updates. So, I think this is looking great and I just had a few thoughts on things that we could look at adding are changing. One thing that you may or may not want in your file is in areas where the shadow from the lighthouse intersects with the first tree, you get those two colors blending together. Two objects blending together with the same color. You might like that kind of feel of implied geometry, because you can tell where the edge of the tree is, but I think in our case, if we are going for cleanliness we might look at making those shadows a little bit shorter just so we can get nice definition in the trees. One thing that I've noticed with working with Nathan for so long is that, with illustration like this I harp on the math behind it and Nathan has the luxury of being able to take a step back and see the aesthetics behind it. So, something like that lighthouse even though the shadow would technically be that long, aesthetically would make more sense for me to shorten it. Yeah. So, Dan had mentioned earlier in the class this is the battle between geometry and aesthetics. These are the things we try to look at at the end and see what's going to look the best for your final product a couple other things I think we could include, just viewing this through the scope of having a similar level of detail throughout the illustration. I think we could add some wake or some different color in the water right behind the boat to give the sense that it is moving. Similarly, I think this building on the ray if we added some type of path or walkway leading up to the door, that could add some realism and still some of those empty gaps a little bit. So, if you want to make those changes, we can come back and take a look at what the final polished illustration would look like. So, now that we've made the final touches on this kind of polished things made a few updates to the details and clean things up. This is usually the point in the project where we're ready to present final artwork to our client. Going back to our example of the almanac murals, in that case, we actually, because the murals were going to be in a physical space we took the time to make some Photoshop mock ups, and basically show them what it would be like to have the mural placed in the space. So, for example, this is the brewery as it was still under construction, but we took our final image and placed it in Photoshop so that you can get a sense of it. As you can see, you can get a pretty realistic look when you place these things into place. One other thing that's helpful is to start to notice sight lines such as here we knew with this mural that anything kind of below table height was going to be hidden. So, we didn't want any super important elements down below, and if you'll go back to the Alameda mock up. Here, we were negotiating the windows and the doorway. So, similarly we wanted to make sure, one, that we are providing a completed piece of art, because they use this image in other ways. So, we did complete those areas, we just wanted to make sure nothing super important landed in those windows. Then you can also kind of look around the edges of shapes like that or you might not be using this for mural but any type of composition, see how it runs off the edges or any weird tangents that might end up being created. That's our last system of checks to make sure that a file like this is ready to ship. So, from there, we'll work with that client, and at this point because we've already provided the sketch and some of our process along the way, there shouldn't be any surprises, but this is when any last revisions from their end would come in. At that point we're ready to prepare the file to send off to whatever vendor might need it. For this particular mural it was a wallpaper treatments. So, it was fairly simple to just send out the vector files to be printed. We were able to get samples of the colors to make sure it looked good and the space and part of our color choice here was matching the red in the file to the red paint that was already on the walls. So, luckily with the physical print, we were able to do that with the San Francisco mural that was a different beast because this was actually hand painted. So, in this case, we had to provide outlines of all the work to the painters. They traced those outlines onto the wall and then filled it all in with paint. So, it was a pretty laborious process for them but we were able to set up the file in such a way that it was easy enough for them to trace the work and produce the final result. 12. Final Thoughts: So at this point, you've created a city block. If you're feeling ambitious, you can go even further from there and create more blocks and create entire city. We'd love to see your progress and the final project you create. So, please share it to the project gallery and we look forward to seeing it. Thanks for taking our class. 13. Learn More with DKNG: