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Illustrator CS6 Essential Training
Illustration by John Hersey

Aligning and distributing objects


From:

Illustrator CS6 Essential Training

with Justin Seeley

Video: Aligning and distributing objects

Even with the use of Smart Guides inside of Adobe Illustrator it can be somewhat difficult to lineup multiple objects or even distribute them evenly across a page. In this movie, I'll show you exactly how to utilize some of the Alignment commands inside of Illustrator to lineup your artwork and evenly distribute it in multiple directions. As you can see here I've got several circles on my artboard, and they are all scattered about, but I want to make sure that they line up properly and that they are evenly distributed across the page. Maybe I am showing multiple versions of a logo and I don't want the position of one of them to throw the client off when they are picking one.
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  1. 1m 15s
    1. What is Illustrator?
      1m 15s
  2. 2m 17s
    1. Welcome
      58s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 19s
  3. 41m 25s
    1. Understanding vector graphics
      5m 0s
    2. Setting preferences
      9m 24s
    3. Touring the interface
      9m 41s
    4. Exploring the panels
      6m 54s
    5. Working with the Control panel
      4m 25s
    6. Creating and saving workspaces
      6m 1s
  4. 43m 42s
    1. Creating files for print
      4m 42s
    2. Creating files for the web
      3m 36s
    3. Managing multiple documents
      3m 25s
    4. Navigating within a document
      5m 21s
    5. Using rulers, guides, and grids
      6m 59s
    6. Changing units of measurement
      1m 50s
    7. Using preview modes
      3m 10s
    8. Creating and using custom views
      3m 12s
    9. Locking and hiding artwork
      3m 43s
    10. Creating and using artboards
      7m 44s
  5. 1h 1m
    1. Setting your selection preferences
      5m 57s
    2. Using the Direct Selection and Group Selection tools
      4m 6s
    3. Using the Magic Wand tool
      5m 45s
    4. Using the Lasso tool
      4m 9s
    5. Selecting objects by attribute
      6m 48s
    6. Grouping objects
      3m 7s
    7. Using isolation mode
      4m 48s
    8. Resizing your artwork
      3m 55s
    9. Rotating objects
      2m 10s
    10. Distorting and transforming objects
      6m 26s
    11. Repeating transformations
      5m 6s
    12. Reflecting and skewing objects
      4m 54s
    13. Aligning and distributing objects
      4m 38s
  6. 29m 27s
    1. RGB vs. CMYK
      1m 46s
    2. Adjusting Illustrator color settings
      5m 10s
    3. Process vs. global swatches
      5m 6s
    4. Creating spot colors
      3m 40s
    5. Using the swatch groups
      2m 33s
    6. Working with color libraries
      3m 17s
    7. Importing swatches
      4m 4s
    8. Using the Color Guide panel
      3m 51s
  7. 57m 36s
    1. Understanding fills and strokes
      4m 18s
    2. Working with fills
      4m 58s
    3. Working with strokes
      8m 46s
    4. Creating dashes and arrows
      8m 1s
    5. Creating variable-width strokes
      4m 3s
    6. Using width profiles
      3m 31s
    7. Outlining strokes
      3m 51s
    8. Creating and editing gradients
      5m 45s
    9. Applying gradients to strokes
      3m 8s
    10. Applying and editing pattern fills
      4m 52s
    11. Creating your own pattern fill
      6m 23s
  8. 20m 20s
    1. Understanding paths
      2m 41s
    2. Understanding anchor points
      4m 20s
    3. Working with open and closed paths
      5m 28s
    4. Joining and averaging paths
      4m 9s
    5. Using the Scissors tool and the Knife tool
      3m 42s
  9. 37m 56s
    1. Understanding drawing modes
      4m 23s
    2. Creating compound paths
      5m 15s
    3. Creating compound shapes
      4m 11s
    4. Working with the Shape Builder tool
      6m 32s
    5. Working with the Blob Brush and Eraser tools
      5m 26s
    6. Working with the Paintbrush and Pencil tools
      7m 8s
    7. Smoothing and erasing paths
      5m 1s
  10. 35m 53s
    1. Exploring the Pen tool
      2m 39s
    2. Drawing straight lines
      5m 12s
    3. Drawing simple curves
      5m 23s
    4. Understanding the many faces of the Pen tool
      6m 10s
    5. Converting corners and curves
      1m 46s
    6. Your keyboard is your friend
      2m 14s
    7. Tracing artwork with the Pen tool
      12m 29s
  11. 35m 33s
    1. Adjusting your type settings
      4m 10s
    2. Creating point and area text
      3m 36s
    3. Basic text editing
      2m 14s
    4. Creating threaded text
      4m 59s
    5. Using the type panels
      9m 48s
    6. Creating text on a path
      5m 11s
    7. Converting text into paths
      1m 43s
    8. Saving time with keyboard shortcuts
      3m 52s
  12. 27m 25s
    1. Exploring the Appearance panel
      4m 44s
    2. Explaining attribute stacking order
      1m 40s
    3. Applying multiple fills
      3m 1s
    4. Applying multiple strokes
      4m 20s
    5. Adjusting appearance with live effects
      4m 46s
    6. Saving appearances as graphic styles
      8m 54s
  13. 20m 44s
    1. Exploring the Layers panel
      4m 18s
    2. Creating and editing layers
      3m 27s
    3. Targeting objects in the Layers panel
      3m 3s
    4. Working with sublayers
      3m 0s
    5. Hiding, locking, and deleting layers
      4m 14s
    6. Using the Layers panel menu
      2m 42s
  14. 46m 0s
    1. Placing images into Illustrator
      2m 53s
    2. Working with the Links panel
      6m 5s
    3. Embedding images into Illustrator
      3m 12s
    4. Cropping images with a mask
      5m 8s
    5. Exploring the Image Trace panel
      12m 14s
    6. Tracing photographs
      8m 6s
    7. Tracing line art
      4m 33s
    8. Converting pixels to paths
      3m 49s
  15. 19m 21s
    1. What are symbols?
      2m 45s
    2. Using prebuilt symbols
      3m 3s
    3. Using the Symbol Sprayer tool
      4m 19s
    4. Creating new symbols
      3m 50s
    5. Breaking the symbol link
      3m 19s
    6. Redefining symbols
      2m 5s
  16. 12m 9s
    1. Defining a perspective grid
      4m 29s
    2. Drawing artwork in perspective
      3m 49s
    3. Applying artwork to the grid
      3m 51s
  17. 35m 7s
    1. Printing your artwork
      6m 16s
    2. Saving your artwork
      2m 2s
    3. Saving in legacy formats
      3m 0s
    4. Saving templates
      4m 18s
    5. Creating PDF files
      5m 23s
    6. Saving for the web
      4m 46s
    7. Creating high-res bitmap images
      3m 58s
    8. Using Illustrator files in Photoshop and InDesign
      5m 24s
  18. 56s
    1. Next steps
      56s

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Illustrator CS6 Essential Training
8h 48m Beginner May 07, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Adobe Illustrator can be used to accomplish many different design tasks, from illustration to app development. This course demonstrates core concepts and techniques that can be applied to any workflow—for print, the web, or building assets that will find their way into other applications. Author Justin Seeley explains the elements that make up vector graphics (paths, strokes, and fills) while showing how to use each of the drawing tools, and demonstrates how to combine and clean up paths and organize them into groups and layers. The course also covers text editing, working with color, effects, and much more.

Topics include:
  • Understanding vector graphics
  • Creating and setting up files for print or web destinations
  • Selecting and transforming objects on the page
  • Creating spot colors
  • Applying fills, strokes, and gradients to artwork
  • Adjusting appearances and effects
  • Working with anchor points and paths
  • Drawing with the Pen tool
  • Creating text
  • Managing layers
  • Creating and using symbols
  • Printing, saving, and exporting artwork
Subject:
Design
Software:
Illustrator
Author:
Justin Seeley

Aligning and distributing objects

Even with the use of Smart Guides inside of Adobe Illustrator it can be somewhat difficult to lineup multiple objects or even distribute them evenly across a page. In this movie, I'll show you exactly how to utilize some of the Alignment commands inside of Illustrator to lineup your artwork and evenly distribute it in multiple directions. As you can see here I've got several circles on my artboard, and they are all scattered about, but I want to make sure that they line up properly and that they are evenly distributed across the page. Maybe I am showing multiple versions of a logo and I don't want the position of one of them to throw the client off when they are picking one.

I want everything to be right in the middle so they can just go straight across and look at all the different versions. In order to utilize the Alignment tools inside of Illustrator you can go to two places; one would be the Control panel. Remember that's the area that stretches all the way across the top, like so. Or you can bring up the Alignment panel by going to Window and choosing Align. The Alignment panel has several different options in it. You can align horizontally to the left, align to the horizontal center, align horizontally to the right, vertically align to the top, vertically align to the center or vertically align to the bottom.

You also have distribution options like distribute vertically from the top, distribute vertically from the center, or distribute vertically from the bottom. You can also distribute horizontally from the left, distribute horizontally from the center and distribute horizontally from the right. I can also go up to the Align panel menu and choose Show Options. Inside of the Show Options I can actually determine the Distribution Spacing and where the objects aligned to. By default you are aligning to the selection, meaning that you make a selection and all of the objects align themselves based upon the selection you have made.

Or you can choose to align them to the artboard. Aligning them to the artboard allows you to align things based upon the size and dimensions of your artboard. I am going to turn on Align to Artboard first to show you how this works. I will select all of these circles. Since it's set to Align to Artboard I can now vertically align them to the bottom and watch what happens to the circles. They all go flushed to the bottom of the page. I can then Horizontally Distribute them from the Center and they all spread out evenly across the artboard.

If I want them in the middle of the page, as I discussed before, I can actually come right here and vertically align them to the center. Now I have accomplished my task that I have originally set out to do. All of the logo variations are right there in the center, perfectly aligned and distributed. Pretty neat! But what if I wanted to align them to each other? Well let's undo this, get them right back to their original position. If I choose Align to Selection, now when I hit Vertically Align to the Bottom, they are all going to vertically align to the bottom edge of the lowest object that was in the set.

Then if I Horizontally Distribute them, they are going to horizontally distribute based on this selection. So you notice there is not so much spacing in between them, that's because this one was here and this one was here, they were not able to spread across because we were not aligning to the artboard. We were aligning to the selection of the overall bounding box. So let me undo and go back to the original position. Every project is different and you are going to have to use the alignment options based on your needs, but just remember, you can open up the Alignment panel and utilize these options at any time to help you evenly distribute and align your objects perfectly on your artboard.

Let's close this panel up and take a look at how we can utilize the same options without ever having to open that panel. Let's say I had all these objects selected on my artboard, I don't want to go find the Alignment panel because I have to go to the Window menu and find it and all that kind of stuff. If I want to access the Alignment Controls from this screen here, I can simply look in my Control panel for a small link that says Align. When I click that it automatically brings up the Align panel for me. These are all of the options we just saw. I can change this to Align to Artboard, I can also align them to the bottom and horizontally distribute them, or I can align them to the middle and horizontally distribute them as well.

Look at how much easier that was for me to do. A click, make a few other clicks, and I am done. I didn't have to find a panel, I didn't have to open a panel, didn't have to close the panel, anything. It pops up, I use it while I need it, it closes when I don't. So no matter which way you choose to align or distribute your objects, hopefully by now you have a better understanding of how to use that feature and how it can help you in your workflow.

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