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Draw and modify objects on the perspective grid

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Learn how to draw objects, bring them into perspective, and modify them to add depth and realism to your artwork.

As an artist or designer, you can use perspective grids to create the illusion of depth and space with shapes, text, and symbols. In Illustrator, you can draw and render artwork in perspective using the perspective grid.
You can use shape and type tools to draw objects and add text to your perspective. Previously, you learned how one-point, two-point, and three-point perspectives are defined. Now, you can start drawing objects in perspective to create the intended visual effect.

  Before you begin:

Draw objects in perspective

  1. Select the Perspective Grid   tool to view the grid in the document.

  2. Select the active plane where you want to create the object using the Plane Switching   widget.

  3. Use the drawing tools to draw objects on the perspective grid.


    You can specify the object's height, width, and other properties in perspective as you specify them in regular mode. 

Select objects in perspective

The Perspective Selection tool snaps the objects to the grid of the active plane while moving, scaling, duplicating objects in perspective, and bringing objects into perspective.

Select the Perspective Selection   tool or press Shift + V to display the left, right, and horizontal grid controls. Use the Perspective Selection tool to select objects on the perspective grid. 

Bring objects into perspective

When you bring an existing object or artwork into perspective, the appearance and scale of the selected object change. To bring regular objects into perspective, do the following:

  1. Select the object using the Perspective Selection   tool.

  2. Select the active plane where you want to place the object using the Plane Switching widget   .

  3. Drag and drop the object at the required location on the grid.

Use the Perspective Selection tool to bring objects into the perspective grid

Attach and release objects from perspective

If you've already created objects, you can attach objects to an active plane on the perspective grid. To add an object to the left, right, or horizontal grid:

  1. Select the object and then select the active plane on which you want to place the object using the Plane Switching widget  .

  2. Select Object > Perspective > Attach to Active Plane.

If you want to release an object from a perspective view, select Object > Perspective> Release with PerspectiveThe selected object is released from the associated perspective plane and is available as normal artwork.

Move, scale, and copy objects in perspective

You can move, copy, or scale objects in perspective using the Perspective Selection tool. You can also move objects in a perpendicular direction to the current object's location.

Do the following to move the object:

  1. Select the Perspective Selection   tool.

  2. Drag and drop objects to the required position. To constrain the movement, press Shift + drag. 


    While moving the objects, press 1, 2, 3, or 4 to change the plane.


Ensure that the Perspective Selection   tool is selected when moving, scaling, or copying objects on the grid. 

Move objects in perpendicular direction

Moving a rectangle in perpendicular to its initial position
Use the Perspective Selection tool to move a rectangle in perpendicular to its initial position

The technique is helpful when creating parallel objects, such as the walls of a room. 

  1. Select the object using the Perspective Selection   tool.

  2. Press 5 key as you drag the object to the required position.

Move grid planes in the perpendicular direction

Moving a rectangle in perpendicular by dragging the right grid plane
Move a rectangle perpendicularly by dragging the right grid plane

When you move an object perpendicularly, it's placed parallel to its existing or current location.

  1. Select the Perspective Selection     tool.

  2. Press Shift and drag the grid plane control depending on the grid plane where the object is placed.

Move all objects in precise perpendicular direction

  1. Double-click the required Right, Horizontal, and Left Grid Plane Controls using the Perspective Selection   tool.

  2. In the Vanishing Plane dialog box, specify the Location where the objects has to be moved.

  3. Select any of the following options:

    • Do Not Move: Restricts the movement when repositioning the grid.
    • Move All Objects: Moves all objects on the plane along with the grid movement.
    • Copy All Objects: Copies all objects on the plane.

Automate plane positioning

The automatic plane positioning allows you to create objects by inferring the height or depth of the object. For example, to draw a cube, the height of the top face of the cube must be known. With automatic plane positioning, the perspective grid automatically adjusts the horizontal grid plane to match the size of the cube's top face. Do the following to ensure that Automatic plane positioning is enabled:

  1. Double-click the Perspective Grid  tool.

  2. Select Anchor Point of Perspective Artwork and Intersection of Gridlines checkboxes.

When you draw or place objects, the object height can be inferred from:

  1. Other objects by pressing Shift as you hover over one of the anchor points (getting the anchor label) that temporarily hides other planes.
  2. Grid lines by pressing the Shift as you hover over the intersection point. Changing the plane in this state brings that plane to the selected offset.

Press Shift as you hover over one of the anchor points  to temporarily hide other planes

Move plane to match object

When you want to draw or bring objects in perspective at the same depth or height as the existing object:

  1. Select the existing object in perspective. 

  2. Select Object > Perspective > Move Plane to Match Object to bring the corresponding grid to the desired height or depth. 

Scale objects in perspective

You can modify the dimension of objects by dragging its bounding box using the Perspective Selection tool. While scaling objects in perspective, the following rules apply:

  • When you scale an object, the height or distance is scaled based on the object’s plane, not the current or active plane.

  • For multiple objects, scaling is done for objects on the same plane.

Copy objects in perspective

  • To copy the object, you can press Alt (Windows) or Option (macOS) as you drag the object.
  • To duplicate the object in a perpendicular direction, press Alt + 5 (Windows) or Option + 5 (macOS) as you drag the object.
  • To create a copy of the object parallel to its current position, press Alt (Windows) or Option (macOS) as you drag the grid plane control based on the grid plane where the object is placed.

Tips and tricks

Here are a few things you need to know while using keyboard shortcuts on the perspective grid:

  • Keyboard shortcuts used to draw objects in regular mode can be used on the perspective grid.
  • The arrow keys don't work when you move objects perpendicularly.
  • The keyboard shortcut 5 for perpendicular movement and the keyboard shortcuts 1, 2, and 3 for plane switching while drawing or moving objects don't work on the extended numeric keypad.

Bring text and symbols into perspective

You cannot directly add text and symbols to a perspective plane while the grid is visible. However, you can bring text or symbols into perspective after creating them in normal mode. Functionalities like replacing a symbol, breaking links when expanding the symbol instance, and resetting transformation don't work on symbols in perspective.

To bring text or symbols into perspective, do the following:

  1. Select the text or symbol from the document using the Perspective Selection   tool.

  2. Drag the object to the required position on the active plane of the grid.

  3. In the Control panel, select Edit Text or Edit Symbol to edit the object or double-click the object to edit text or symbols in isolation mode.

Control Panel with Edit Text options
Control Panel with Edit Text options

A. Edit Text B. Edit Perspective C. Isolate Selected Object 

 A symbol definition that contains raster images, non-native art, envelope, legacy type, and gradient mesh is unsupported on the perspective grid.

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