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:

Set appRef = CreateObject ("Illustrator.Application")

Rem Create a new document
Set docRef = appRef.Documents.Add()

Rem Select the default two-point perspective preset
docRef.SelectPerspectivePreset("[2P-Normal View]")

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

Set appRef = CreateObject ("Illustrator.Application")
Rem Create a new document
Set docRef = appRef.Documents.Add()
Rem Export perspective presets to a file
docRef.ExportPerspectiveGridPreset("C:/scripting/PGPresetsExported")

Set appRef = CreateObject ("Illustrator.Application")
Rem Create a new document
Set docRef = appRef.Documents.Add()
Rem Import perspective presets from a file
docRef.ImportPerspectiveGridPreset("C:/scripting/PGPresets")

Show or hide the grid

This script shows or hides the Perspective Grid programmatically:

Set appRef = CreateObject ("Illustrator.Application")

Rem Create a new document

Set docRef = appRef.Documents.Add()

Rem Show the Perspective Grid defined in the document
docRef.ShowPerspectiveGrid();

Rem Hide the Perspective Grid defined in the document
docRef.HidePerspectiveGrid();

Set the active plane

The perspective grid plane types are:

Left plane aiLEFTPLANE (1)
Right plane aiRIGHTPLANE (2)
Floor plane aiFLOORPLANE (3)
Invalid plane aiNOPLANE (4)

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:

Set appRef = CreateObject ("Illustrator.Application")

Rem Create a new document
Set docRef = appRef.Documents.Add()

Rem Set left plane as the active plane
docRef.SetPerspectiveActivePlane(1) 'aiLEFTPLANE

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

Set appRef = CreateObject ("Illustrator.Application")

Rem Create a new document
Set docRef = appRef.Documents.Add()

Rem Select the default two point perspective preset
docRef.SelectPerspectivePreset("[2P-Normal View]")

Rem Display the perspective grid defined in the document
docRef.ShowPerspectiveGrid()

Rem Check if active plane is set to left, otherwise set it to left
If docRef.GetPerspectiveActivePlane() <> 1 Then
  docRef.SetPerspectiveActivePlane(1) 'aiLEFTPLANE
End If

Rem Draw rectangle in perspective, then resize to 200% and move
Set pathItemRect = docRef.PathItems.Rectangle(30, -30, 30, 30, False)

call pathItemRect.Resize(200, 200, True, False, False, False, 100, 2)
call pathItemRect.Translate(-420, 480)

Rem Draw ellipse in perspective
Set pathItemEllipse = docRef.PathItems.Ellipse(60, -60, 30, 30, False, True)

Rem Draw rounded rectangle in perspective
Set pathItemRRect = docRef.PathItems.RoundedRectangle(90, -90, 30, 30, 10, 10, False)

Rem Draw polygon in perspective
Set pathItemPoly = docRef.PathItems.Polygon(-105, 105, 15, 7, False)

Rem Draw star in perspective
Set pathItemStar = docRef.PathItems.Star(-135, 135, 15, 10, 6, False)

Rem Draw path in perspective
Set newPath = docRef.PathItems.Add()
newPath.SetEntirePath(Array(Array(0,0),Array(60,0),Array(30,45),Array(90,110)))

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

Set appRef = CreateObject ("Illustrator.Application")

Rem Create a new document
Set docRef = appRef.Documents.Add()

Rem Draw ellipse
Set pathItemEllipse = docRef.PathItems.Ellipse(60, -60, 30, 30, False, True)

Rem Draw polygon
Set pathItemPoly = docRef.PathItems.Polygon(-105, 105, 15, 7, False)

Rem Draw star
Set pathItemStar = docRef.PathItems.Star(-135, 135, 15, 10, 6, False)

Rem Select the default three-point perspective preset
docRef.SelectPerspectivePreset("[3P-Normal View]")

Rem Display the perspective grid defined in the document
docRef.ShowPerspectiveGrid()

Rem Check if active plane is set to left, otherwise set it to left
If docRef.GetPerspectiveActivePlane() <> 1 Then
  docRef.SetPerspectiveActivePlane(1) 'aiLEFTPLANE
End If

Rem Bring the ellipse to the active plane (left plane)
Call pathItemEllipse.BringInPerspective(100,100, 1) 'aiLEFTPLANE

Rem Bring the polygon to the right plane
Call pathItemPoly.BringInPerspective(100,-100,2) 'aiRIGHTPLANE

Rem Bring the star to the floor plane
Call pathItemStar.BringInPerspective(100,100,3) 'aiFLOORPLANE