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Lesson 4. Using Layers > Using the 3D Rotation Tool

Using the 3D Rotation Tool

The 3D Rotation tool applies simple 3D rotation to your 2D objects. You have just completed your filmstrip. To add perspective to your drawing, you will use the 3D Rotation tool to rotate the filmstrip back away from you in 3D space. The resulting image will be larger at the bottom and smaller at the top.

The 3D Rotation tool is fun to play with and can create some cool effects. But it does have a drawback in that you can distort your image more than the desired amount. Even the multiple number of undo’s that FreeHand has may not be enough to return your image to its original state. When working with this tool, it is a good idea to make a copy of the image and move it to the pasteboard. That way, you can always return to the copy if needed.

1.
Select all of the elements in your filmstrip and group them. Make a copy of the filmstrip and move it to the pasteboard.

Remember that to group objects, you choose Modify > Group. Grouping the filmstrip makes it easier to manage. In the next step, you are going to apply the 3D Rotation tool to all of the objects in the group. The copy of the filmstrip is used only if you need to return to the original image.

2.
Choose Window > Toolbars > Xtra Tools. Double-click the 3D Rotation tool and then select Expert.

The 3D Rotation dialog box allows you to choose either the Easy or Expert mode. The Expert mode gives you a few more options for controlling the rotation.

3.
From the Rotate From pop-up menu, choose Center of Selection, drag the Distance slider to about 374, and from the Project From pop-up menu, choose Mouse Click.

The Rotate From pop-up menu has four options:

  • Mouse Click rotates from the point you click with the mouse pointer.

  • Center of Selection rotates from the center of the selected object.

  • Center of Gravity rotates from the visual center of the object.

  • Origin rotates from the lower left corner of the object.

The Distance value you enter determines the amount of distortion of the rotation; smaller values result in more distortion.

In Expert mode, you also can select a point of projection from the Project From pop-up menu:

  • Mouse Click makes the projection extend to the point you click with the mouse pointer.

  • Center of Selection makes the projection point behind the selected object.

  • Center of Gravity makes the projection point behind the visual center of the object.

  • Origin makes the projection begin at the lower left corner of the object.

  • X/Y Coordinates lets you enter X and Y values for the projection. The values default to the last coordinates of your pointer.

4.
Position the pointer toward the top of your filmstrip. Hold down Shift and slowly drag up.

As you drag, you’ll see a preview of the rotation of the filmstrip. Holding Shift as you drag constrains the 3D rotation. Before releasing the mouse button, you can experiment with releasing Shift and moving the mouse left and right. You want the appearance of perspective.

Note

Dragging up rotates the filmstrip toward the back. Dragging down rotates the filmstrip toward the front. Dragging left rotates it to the left, and dragging right rotates it to the right. Each time you release the mouse button and drag again with the 3D Rotation tool, you are rotating the rotated item, not the original item. If you want to start over, you can choose Edit > Undo or use the copy of the filmstrip you placed on the pasteboard.

5.
Switch to the Pointer tool and then move the filmstrip below the film canister, so the canister appears to be sitting on the filmstrip. If your filmstrip is too large or too small, double-click it to display the transform handles and then use the handles to scale the filmstrip.

Since the filmstrip is on its own layer that is beneath the other objects on the page, you can move the filmstrip so it appears to be underneath the film canister.

6.
Save your file.

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