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I want to make a ribbon / wave of dots in Illustrator like the image below, but keep the perspective of the dots, so they don't look flat.

I have not had any luck using the blend tool or envelope distort tools. The dots always get distorted or look flat.

Dotted Wave

  • 1
    I'm not sure you'll be able to do that with Illustrator alone because of the 3D ribbon distortion... although I'd love to be proven wrong! – Luciano Aug 31 '18 at 13:18
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Blending distorted circles:

  • From two circles located at the ends of the future blend, make three or four distortions following the perspective. More shapes = softer transition.

distortion

  • Use the Blend Tool to blend each shape Blend Tool

steps

  • Draw a spine path

spine

  • Select the Blend and the Path and go to Menu Object > Blend > Replace Spine

enter image description here

  • Use the Group Selection Tool to select each shape and rotate or scale following the spine
  • Duplicate the blend and replace the spine with different paths

enter image description here

2

I made some tests using Illustrator and Blender.

Here are the results:

First I made the dots in Illustrator and saved for web in png transparent.

Imported in Blender using Import Images as Planes Addon.

I made the modifications needed.

See the step by step in the image below:

enter image description here

1

Blending can be used to make a straight ribbon. One can create the length and the width by applying 2 blendings. But trying to make a curved one by creating the width with another blending unfortunately creates something which is very difficult to predict exactly. At least the final perspective should be seen in the beginning when creating the length.

Here's another way (Illustrator only) where the perspective can be adjusted at the end and the dots get some streching and squeezing as you adjust.

enter image description here

In image 1 there's some dots. The idea is to make the distant dots smaller and to have more grey color to reduce their contrast. In image 1 the dots are zoomed to bigger size to show them properly here.

  1. Two straight dot lines are generated with blending, the blend is expanded.

  2. another blend generates a straight ribbon

  3. The straight ribbon has been bended with Envelope distortion mesh. The mesh has only 1 row and 2 columns to keep it easily controllable.

One can think "of course in 3D it will be better". Questioner's original example has finely fading contrast and dot size. The ribbon has a slight curvature sideways. In simple 3D programs making them is difficult. Leaving them out destroys the effect, it's like an engineering drawing. An example:

enter image description here

Good result in 3D is possible if the texture is prepared with blendings in 2D and placed on rich enough 3D surface. That is discussed already in another answer.

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