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I have a flat object.

I want to fit it on a laptop screen. I can't use the perspective grid because it only deals with a straight line axis and the screen doesn't have any edges on a straight line.

I can't find a way to rotate or skew the perspective grid.

If I skew the object it doesn't work as I need to make each corner skew independently.

In Photoshop I can use Transform > Perspective. Does Illustrator CS5 have a similar function?

I want to put the recycling symbol on all three screens. What's the easiest way?

enter image description here

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1) Draw a square on the screen with the same perspective as the screen. Make sure the square object is above the image in the layers panel.

perspective square

2) Select both the object and image.

3) Go to Object -> Envelope Distort -> Make with Top Object. Repeat for the other screens.

final result

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Does Illustrator CS5 have a similar function?

Yes. But it's sort of hidden in CS5....


For Illustrator CS6 or older....

Select an object and grab the Free Transform Tool

enter image description here

Now.. in this order.. you must follow this order....

  1. Click a corner handle (but do not move the handle)
  2. Hold down the Command/Ctrl+Option/Alt+Shift keys
  3. Drag the handle

This will create a Perspective Distortion on the object as you drag.

Again, this only works if you follow the specific order of steps above using the Free Transform Tool. This won't work with the standard bounding box or any other tool.

This is a CS6 animation, which is as close to CS5 as I can get on my systems.

enter image description here


For Illustrator CC versions

The Free Transform Tool (e)

enter image description here

If you click the tool, you are presented with a popup tool bar... Perspective Distort is on that popup...

enter image description here

Click the Perspective Distort Tool and then click-drag a corner handle on the object you wish to distort.

-- The shortcut posted above for older versions will also still work in any newer version of Illustrator -- and the order of the steps still must be followed.


Be aware you can not distort linked/embedded raster images with this. These tools/shortcuts only work with native vector objects and/or groups. To distort linked/embedded raster images, see Andrew's method in the other answer.

  • That does not work for me. All that happens is the object grows/shrinks in proportion with all sides shrinking from the centre not the point I click. I don't seem to be able to select a corner which mayb be what I'm doing wrong. If I hover on a corner it always has the resize too. – Eoin Aug 2 at 16:45
  • Sometime I can make the white dot appear as if you are able to select that corner using CTRL but when I drag it I see a new cursor icon which has a cursor and a no entry sign. – Eoin Aug 2 at 16:47
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    The order of the steps is very important. You cant move at all between clicking a handle and holding down the shortcut keys. It is very finicky.. but I assure you it does work. And by "corner" I mean the bounding box of the free transform tool. – Scott Aug 2 at 16:47
  • Ah I see, great explanation thanks. However, although I see the perspective changing, when I release the object stays flat. Is there only certain file times you can do this with? e.g. not a placed file? – Eoin Aug 6 at 14:03
  • That was indeed the case. I needed to copy and paste the original vector into my file. Thank you. Very helpful. – Eoin Aug 6 at 14:06

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