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Making Transformations in Adobe Illustrator CS4

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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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Transforming Multiple Objects Simultaneously

When you select several objects, Illustrator performs all transformations based on a single origin point. This behavior is fine for some needs, but sometimes you want to have transformations applied to a range of objects, and you want those transformations to be applied using individual origin points. For example, if you've selected several shapes and you plan to rotate all of them by 45 degrees, you probably want each shape to rotate around its own center. Suppose you have all the raindrop objects selected in Figure 6, as shown at left. If you rotate them together, the objects share a single origin point, and the center image shows the result. With the Transform Each function, you can rotate each object around its own individual origin point, as shown at right. As you can see, the results are quite different.

Figure 6

Figure 6 With the Transform Each function, you can rotate multiple objects around their own individual origin points.

The Transform Each function was designed specifically for applying transformations across a range of objects, where each object maintains its own origin point. Select a range of objects—even grouped objects—and choose Object > Transform > Transform Each to open the Transform Each dialog box. Specify Scale, Move, Rotate, and Reflect settings as desired. (Selecting the Preview checkbox allows you to see the effects of the transformation before you apply it.)

By far, the most important setting you need to specify in the Transform Each dialog box is the origin point. Select a point from the nine-point proxy to define the origin point for each selected object. Click OK to apply the transformations, or click the Copy button to create copies.

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