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Join Justin Seeley, lynda.com staff author and design enthusiast, each week for a new 5-minute, self-contained tutorial that you can use to instantly improve your design workflow. This series covers techniques for print, digital, and web design, addressing the tools that creative professionals like you use most. Learn new ways to leverage layer styles and vector shapes in Adobe Photoshop, work more efficiently with text in Illustrator, and embed videos and even tweets in WordPress posts, and much more. Check back each week for a new installment, and a new design hack.
Hello, welcome back to another installment of Creative Quick Tips. My name is Justin Seeley, and this week I'm going to be showing you how to create scalable, rounded rectangles inside of Adobe Illustrator. Now I have two rounded rectangles on my screen right now, both of which look pretty much identical. And so what I want to do is show you exactly what happens when you try to scale a normal, rounded rectangle. So let's take this one here, and let's just drag that up and maybe drag this out. And you can kind of see here that it really doesn't scale all that well.
The corners start to get a little wonky, and when I stretch it out like that, you can kind of see that it loses all of its shape. So let's just Undo that, and go back to the very beginning. And let's talk about method one for creating a shape that scales easily inside of Illustrator. Method one involves using a live effect. So I'm going to take this and grab a Rectangle tool, and I'm just going to recreate this shape here. So I'm just going to recreate it by dragging right across the top of it, and doing something like that. And lets move it up a little bit. So this is essentially the same size as the rounded rectangle beneath it, just doesn't have the rounded corners.
In order to add the rounded corners, I'll go to the Effect menu, choose Stylize, and put Round Corners on this. We'll hit Preview, and I'm just going to crank up the radius until it matches as close as I can with the other one. So that looks pretty close, maybe it's a little too round, that's okay. I can just go over in the Appearance panel, and click round corners and I can take that down a little bit something maybe like 50, see what that looks like. That looks a little better, hit OK. So now I've got the rounded corners on this rectangle, and now if I scale this out watch what happens, let's zoom out a little bit. You can see now the corners stay perfectly round, exactly like they are supposed to, the only thing that was scaled was the middle portion of the button.
So lets Undo that. So that is method one. The problem with that is, it's an effect, you have to add that and just takes a little while to do that. It also doesn't give you the flexibility of something that say, a symbol would give you. So let's take this other rectangle down here at the bottom, and I'm just going to to drag and drop that over into the Symbols panel. And when I drag that and drop it over in the Symbols panel, I'm going to call it BTN for button, and we're going to make this a graphic. And I'm going to turn something on that says Enable Guides for Non-slice Scaling. I'm also going to turn off a line for pixel grid for the moment, we don't need that.
So, enable guides for nine slide scaling. You might not know what that is, and that's okay. I'm going to hit OK, and once I do that, this is now a symbol, and it's over here in the Symbols panel as well. If I double-click this to enter Editing mode for the symbol, you're going to notice that it actually has four distinct guides, two vertical, two horizontal, and those guides actually create nine regions. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine. Nine different regions.
And so what we're looking for is the intersection points right here. And so this is the main area that is going to be scalable. You want to make sure that this other stuff is kind of outside of that region. So if I were to take this and drag it out, only this part would scale, take this and drag it out, only the middle part would scale, et cetera. You can also take these guides and change them, to make sure that other places are not scaled and what not. But in this case, it's going to work out perfectly for this button. Let me show you what I mean. I'm going to Escape using the Escape key. And then let's take each one, and let's scale them out and see what they look like.
So let's go here, when I drag that up scales perfectly. When I drag this up should scale not so perfectly, and then this one down here scales again perfectly. Now the benefit to this, is the fact that it's a symbol. Anytime I want I want I can drag out another instance of that symbol, and I could make it smaller or larger anytime I want, and the scaling would stay in tact. So I actually think the symbol's way is the best way to do this, but if you want to deal with having an effect applied to it all the time, and you know all that kind of stuff, you can certainly do that.
But symbols is a much more flexible way, it's also an easy way to deploy multiple versions of the same piece of artwork, to whatever it is you might be working on. So there you go. How to create scalable objects with rounded corners in Illustrator, by either using Live Effects or by using symbols and something called 9-slice scaling.
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