Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
In this movie I'll show you how to create true clones of objects inside Illustrator. So here's the idea: I want to take this lone scareflake that I created back in the previous movie and I want to duplicate it over and over again, and I want every one of the duplicates to be linked to the original, so if I make the slightest change to a single one of those original paths, then all of the duplicates update in kind. Here is how it works. I'll go ahead and switch back to the single scareflake, and I'll click on one of the original path outlines to select the entire group. Then I'll go up to the Window menu and choose the Appearance command, which brings up the Appearance panel.
Now, the Appearance panel tracks things like fills and strokes and dynamic effects as well, so any of the live attributes that are assigned to the selection. Notice in our case, I've selected a group, and it has two applications of the Transform effect applied to it. We are going to see a lot more of that effect in the future. But first I want to rotate the object in 3D space by going up to the Effect menu, choosing 3D, and then I'll choose the Rotate command. Next, go ahead and turn on the Preview check box so you can keep track of what you're doing, and drag the sides of this box in order to rotate that object in 3D space, like so.
So we are creating the effect of the snowflakes spinning in space. Now, I ended up coming out with some specific values here. I am going to change the X value to 5 degrees; the Y value should be -20 degrees, if you're following along with me; and then the Z value should be 10 degrees. I also changed the Perspective to 50 degrees, so the scareflake roughly declines in size toward our horizon. Now I'll click OK in order accept that modification. All right, now let's create some duplicates. I'll go up to the Effect menu, choose Distort & Transform, and choose that command that we'll be using time and time again, the Transform command.
I like it so much that I gave it my own keyboard shortcut. And you create shortcuts, by the way, by going up to the Edit menu and choosing the Keyboard Shortcuts command. Anyway, the shortcut I decided to apply, in case you're interested, is Ctrl+E, or Command+E on the Mac, for effect, because Transform is the most practical effect in the software, and Ctrl+E or Command+E on the Mac otherwise goes unused. Anyway, I'll go ahead and choose that command. Illustrator is going to snap at me, because it wants to make sure I really do want to apply a new version of this effect. After all, I've already applied Transform twice.
The answer is yes, I do. So I'll click the Apply New Effect button. And now I am going to reduce both the Horizontal and Vertical scale values to 50%, because I want to scale the snowflake proportionally. I'll also go ahead and change the Angle value to 40 degrees, and I am going to increase the copies value to 1, because I do want to create a copy of the existing snowflake. And I'll turn on the Preview check box. And notice that's the new snowflake right there in the center. So I am going to go ahead and scoot it around, and you do that by clicking in either the Horizontal or Vertical Move option here. And then if you want to move the object to the left, you press Shift+Down Arrow, like so; if you want to move it to the right, you press Shift+Up Arrow.
In my case, I want to take it to the left, so I'm going to move it to about the tune of -200 right now. It's actually -204, but it's not going to stay there. This is just for the sake of demonstration. Now I'll tab to the Vertical value. And if you want to move something down, then you press Shift+Up Arrow-- I know that's just crazy; and if you want to move it up, you press Shift+Down Arrow, like so. All right, I am going to take this value down to roughly -200 as well. It's -204 in my case. And that's by virtue of the fact, incidentally, when you press the Shift key along with one of those arrows, you are modifying the value in six-point increments.
So everything is kind of whacky inside this dialog box: the fact that negative is up, positive is down, and so forth. Once you get used to it though, it's really super useful and powerful. Now, every once in a while, I'll get questions from freehand users, who will ask me, okay, now that I am working inside of Illustrator, how in the world do I create a power duplication series, because you used to be able to scale and rotate and move and clone and all that stuff inside freehand? And the answer is, you do it here inside the Transform Effect dialog box. The downside is you can't just drag objects inside the illustration.
The good news, however, is everything is dynamic, and that is such a big help. Notice I'll go ahead and increase the number of copies, and you can see that we are creating a transformation sequence, like so. All right, I am going to take that copies value back down to 1, and now that I am done demonstrating how this command works, I am going to decrease the Horizontal value down to -342, is what I am hunting for. There we go. And then I'll take the Vertical value down to -240, like so, and that ends up positioning the clone up and to the left.
All right, now I'll click OK in order to accept that modification. Now, obviously we need more clones than this, so I'll go back to the Effect menu, and I'll choose the second command, Transform, because you always see that last effect listed, both as a single-shot application at the top, and then if you want to bring up the dialog box and mess with the settings, you go ahead and choose the second command. That's what I want. Again, I'll see the alert message. I'll click Apply New Effect. If you get sick of doing that, by the way, you can turn on the Don't Show Again check box. This time I am going to take both the Horizontal and Vertical Scale values up to 70%.
I am going to change Rotate option to 10 degrees-- and these are just values that I figured out as I was working along. I am going to get rid of the negative sign in front of that Horizontal Move value, and I'll turn on the Preview check box to see what that looks like. And I am going to take that value up, actually, by pressing Shift+Up Arrow until I get a Horizontal value of 414 points. And then I'll tab to the Vertical value, and I want to go ahead and move this guy down, so I need the value to be less negative. So I'll press Shift+Up Arrow-- as little sense as that makes, that's what you do--and I overshot it a little bit there, so I want this value to be -186, and I end up achieving this effect here.
So you still want one copy. You will get two new snowflakes for a total of four, and the reason is that each one of our Transform effects is compiling on top of the last one. So the first time we were duplicating one scareflake. Now we're duplicating two scareflakes. All right, I'll click OK. Notice that we are piling on the Transform effects here inside the Appearance panel, but we are not done yet. Go to the Effect menu, choose that second command, Transform, click on Apply New Effect in order to bring up the Transform Effect dialog box. 70 degrees, 70 degrees, that's just fine this time around.
I'm going to change the Horizontal value to negative, and I am going to change the Vertical value to positive, just to start things off. We'll leave the Rotate value alone for a moment. I'll turn on the Preview check box so I can see what in the world I am doing. And I'll click inside that Horizontal value, and I'll press Shift+Down Arrow in order to scoot those objects to the left. And the value I am looking for is -462. These are just values I came up with through trial and error, by the way. And then for Vertical I am going to press Shift+Up Arrow like crazy to move those objects down until I arrive at a value of +342 points.
Now, you can see that these guys are at the wrong angle, so we need to go ahead and adjust the Rotation. And I am pressing Shift+Up Arrow inside that Angle value now, until I arrive at a value of 197 degrees and end up producing the effect I was looking for. All right, click OK in order to accept that change. Now, you can only see two of the clones, because the other ones go outside the artboard, but there are four more clones now, so we have a total of eight scareflakes floating around. Let's make it 16 and fill out this bottom-right region by going up to the Effect menu and choosing the second command, Transform, yet again, click on Apply New Effect.
I am going to make both of the Move values positive. After all, a positive Horizontal value scoots the objects to the right; a positive Vertical value moves them down. Turn on the Preview check box so I can see what's going on. Those guys are way out there right now. We need to scoot them in. So I'll click inside the Horizontal Move value, and I'll press Shift+Down Arrow in order to reduce its value, eventually here 294, like so, and then I'll tab to the Vertical value and I'll nudge that up just a little bit. I'll press Shift+Up Arrow a couple of times in order to take that value to 354, so both are positive, as I say.
Let's go ahead and rotate these guys. Let's go ahead and rotate these scareflakes as well. I am going to take this Rotate value up to 270 degrees. Now, looking at the illustration, you might think I'm insane. After all, I have all these scareflakes overlapping on top of each other, but then I decided to reflect them, by turning on the Reflect X check box, and I ended up achieving this effect here. Now I'll click OK in order to apply that final Transform effect. All right, now, at this point you might think, gosh, what a lot of work this took just to move a bunch of stuff around here.
There must be twenty other ways to duplicate objects inside of Illustrator, all of which are easier to pull off. And that's true. However, here's the thing. Now all of these clones are linked to that one original. So for example, I could go ahead and grab my White Arrow tool and I could marquee this portion of the arm, let's say, in order to select it. And I'll Shift+Click on this curve segment to make sure it's deselected. And now I could go ahead and move the arm around to a different location, and notice that all of the other arms move in kind. All right, I am going to go ahead and zoom in a little bit, and I am going to add some points using the Pen tool.
So I'll go ahead and select the Pen tool from the toolbox, and then I'll add a couple of points, like so. Let's go ahead and move that elbow inwards just a little bit. I need another point at this location, so I'll press the P key to get the Pen tool, click on the selected segment, use my Arrow keys on my keyboard in order to nudge that point to a different location like so, and then I'll go ahead and grab my White Arrow tool once again, marquee around the hand. I don't want the wrist to be selected, so I'll Shift+click on a few of these points here in order to deselect them, like so.
And then I'll go ahead and get my Rotate tool, which I can get by pressing the R key, click down here at the base of the wrist, and then I'll just go ahead and rotate this hand out a little bit, like so, just so that the two opposing hands aren't touching each other. That looks pretty darn good to me. Just a couple of more point adjustments here that I want to make. I switch to my White Arrow tool, click off the path outline to deselect it. This is one of the tricky things, by the way. When you are working with dynamic effects, the actual path outlines aren't always where they appear to be. And what you want to do is you want to keep an eye out for that little square that appears next to the arrow cursor. That tells you that there's an anchor point at that location.
Anyway, I am going to go ahead and drag this anchor point there, and I'll drag this one up and over a little bit as well. I'll drag that bit of wrist bone down like so, and that looks pretty darn good to me. All right! Now I'll go ahead and zoom out. And the amazing thing is that even though I made these be fairly meticulous modifications, Illustrator kept up with my every move, so every single one of those true clones has updated across the entire illustration. Now, at this point, I look at what I have and I think, okay, everything looks pretty darn nice, except really, I'd like to introduce a little bit of blur, and I'd also like the snowflakes to fade in and out of opacity, so they appear at essentially different depths of field.
Well, you can do that kind of stuff in Illustrator. It just takes a whole lot of work, whereas it's easy to pull off, and the results look great, here inside of Photoshop. And I'll show you how to pull off this effect in the very next movie.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
120 Video lessons · 57873 Viewers
119 Video lessons · 67348 Viewers
84 Video lessons · 16702 Viewers
125 Video lessons · 29583 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.