Working with the perspective grid

The Perspective Grid is a new feature in lllustrator CC 2017 that enables you to create and manipulate art in a spatial environment using established laws of perspective. Enable Perspective Grid using the View > Perspective Grid menu or the perspective tools in the toolbar.

The SDK provides an API for working with the perspective grid programmatically, and your scripts have some access to this API. A script can:

  • Set a the default grid parameters using preset values.
  • Show or hide the grid.
  • Set the active plane.
  • Draw an object in perspective on the active plane.
  • Bring an object into perspective.

Use perspective presets

Illustrator provides default grid-parameter presets for one-point, two-point, and three-point perspectives. The presets are named "[1P-NormalView]", "[2P-NormalView]", and "[3P-NormalView]".

The script shows how to select the two-point perspective preset programmatically:

tell application "Adobe Illustrator"
  --Create a new document
  set docRef to make new document
  tell docRef
    --Select the default two-point perspective preset
    select perspective preset perspective preset "[2P-Normal View]"
  end tell
end tell

You can create new perspective presets, export presets to files, and import presets from files. These scripts shows how to export and import presets:

tell application "Adobe Illustrator"
  set docRef to make new document
  set filePath to "Macintosh HD:scripting:PGPresetsExported"
  export perspective grid preset of docRef to file filePath
end tell

tell application "Adobe Illustrator"
  set docRef to make new document
  set filePath to "Macintosh HD:scripting:PGPresets"
  import perspective grid preset of docRef from file filePath
end tell

Show or hide the grid

This script shows or hides the Perspective Grid programmatically:

tell application "Adobe Illustrator"
  --Create a new document
  set docRef to make new document
  tell docRef
    --Display the perspective grid defined in the document
    show perspective grid
    --Hide the perspective grid defined in the document
    hide perspective grid
  end tell
end tell

Set the active plane

The perspective grid plane types are:

Left plane perspective grid plane leftplane
Right plane perspective grid plane rightplane
Floor plane perspective grid plane floorplane
Invalid plane perspective grid plane noplane

For a one-point perspective grid, only the left and floor plane are valid.

This script sets the active perspective plane to the left plane:

tell application "Adobe Illustrator"
  --Create a new document
  set docRef to make new document
  tell docRef
    --Set the active plane to the left plane
    set perspective active plane perspective grid plane leftplane
  end tell
end tell

Draw on a perspective grid

When the Perspective Grid is on, drawing methods allow you to draw or operate on objects in perspective. This script creates a new document, shows a two-point perspective grid, and draws art objects on the left plane

tell application "Adobe Illustrator"
  --Create a new document
  set docRef to make new document
  tell docRef
    --Select the default two-point perspective preset
    select perspective preset perspective preset "[2P-Normal View]"

    --Display the perspective grid defined in the document
    show perspective grid

    --Check if active plane is set to left, otherwise set it to left
    if (get perspective active plane) is not leftplane then
      set perspective active plane perspective grid plane leftplane
    end if

    --Draw rectangle in perspective, then resize to 200% and move
    set rectRef to make new rectangle with properties {bounds:{0, 0, 30, 30}, reversed:false}
    scale rectRef horizontal scale 200 vertical scale 200 about top left with transforming objects
    translate rectRef delta x -420 delta y 480

    --Draw ellipse in perspective
    set ellipseRef to make new ellipse with properties {bounds:{60, -60, 90, -30}, reversed:false, inscribed:true}

    --Draw rounded rectangle in perspective
    set rrectRef to make new rounded rectangle with properties {bounds:{90, -90, 30, 30}, horizontal radius:10, vertical radius:10, reversed:false}

    --Draw polygon in perspective
    set polyRef to make new polygon with properties {center point:{105, 105}, radius:15, sides:7, reversed:false}

    --Draw star in perspective
    set starRef to make new star with properties {center point:{135, 135}, radius:15, inner radius:10, point count:6, reversed:false}

    --Draw path in perspective
    set newPath to make new path item with properties {entire path:{{anchor:{0, 0}}, {anchor:{60, 0}}, {anchor:{30, 45}}, {anchor:{90, 110}}}}
  end tell
end tell

Bring objects into perspective

If an art object is not in perspective, use the bringInPerspective() method to bring it into perspective and place it on a plane.

This script creates a new document, draws an art object, and brings it into perspective on a three-point perspective grid:

tell application "Adobe Illustrator"
  --Create a new document
  set docRef to make new document
  tell docRef
    --Draw star
    set starRef to make new star with properties {center point:{135, 135}, radius:15, inner radius:10, point count:6, reversed:false}

    --Select the default three-point perspective preset
    select perspective preset perspective preset "[3P-Normal View]"

    --Display the perspective grid defined in the document
    show perspective grid

    --Check if active plane is set to left, otherwise set it to left
    if (get perspective active plane) is not leftplane then
      set perspective active plane perspective grid plane leftplane
    end if

    --Bring star to floor plane
    bring in perspective starRef position x 100 position y 100 perspective grid plane floorplane
  end tell
end tell