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Making Transformations in Adobe Illustrator CS4

Article Description

The best part of drawing on a computer is that you rarely have to start over. Whether you've changed your mind about an angle or you drew a bunch of repeated objects too small (oops), Illustrator makes modifying your artwork very easy. Mordy Golding discusses how to use Illustrator's transform capabilities to manipulate any number of objects onscreen.

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Real World Adobe Illustrator CS4

Real World Adobe Illustrator CS4


Drawing objects in Illustrator is only part of the design process. Once art is created, you can manipulate it in a myriad of ways. In Illustrator, the process of manipulating a path is called a transformation, and transformations can include anything from simply moving an object to changing its size or rotation.

Basic Transformations

When you move an object, its x,y coordinates change. You can move selected objects precisely by changing their x,y coordinates in the Control or Transform panel. Alternatively, double-clicking the Selection tool opens the Move dialog box, where you can specify values numerically (see Figure 1). Clicking the Copy button in the Move dialog box leaves the original shape in place and moves a copy of the object.

Of course, you can use the Selection tool to click-and-drag an object to reposition it manually. If you hold down the Option (Windows: Alt) key while dragging, Illustrator moves a copy of the selection. If an object is filled with a pattern, holding down the tilde (~) key while dragging adjusts the positioning of the pattern without moving the object.

Figure 1

Figure 1 The Move dialog box remembers the last move transform, so you can move an object on your artboard and then open the Move dialog box to see how far you moved the object.

2. Transforming with the Bounding Box | Next Section