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Identifying the center of your artwork

From: Designs dekeConstructed: Animating a Mind-Bending Illusion

Video: Identifying the center of your artwork

In this chapter, we'll rotate the triangle into its final position. And now, we want to find the center of this shape, the exact center.

Identifying the center of your artwork

In this chapter, we'll rotate the triangle into its final position. We'll identify the center of the triangle, which will come in handy later, and we'll also add the gold ball. Go and switch over to my document so far and I'll create a copy of the active layer here inside the Layers panel by bringing up the fly-out menu and choosing Duplicate penrose. Then I'll turn off the original layer just to keep it safe and sound and I'll double-click on an empty portion of the new layer, and I'll rename it triangle & ball.

And then I'll go ahead and change its color to, let's say, green. And then click OK. All right, now I'll press Ctrl+A or Cmd+A on a Mac to select everything on this layer, all three shapes. And I'll double-click on the Rotate tool in order to bring up the Rotate dialogue box and you just want to set the angle value this time around to negative 90 degrees. You can turn on the Preview check box if you want to see what you're doing and then click OK. Don't click the Copy button. All right, now I need to find the exact center of my artwork, which does not happen to be the center of the art board incidentally.

So, what we're going to have to do is draw a small inset triangle and here's how that works. Go ahead and press Ctrl+Shift+A or Cmd+Shift+A on the Mac to deselect your artwork. And then go ahead and select the Pen tool, which, once again, you can get by pressing the P key. And now, align your cursor so that you see the word Anchor right there and that'll tell you that you're going to click on that anchor point. Then click on this anchor point down here and then click when you see the word Intersect, right there.

And then finally, click in the very first anchor point in order to close the shape. Now I want you to go up to the View menu and choose the Outline command or you can press Ctrl+Y or Cmd+Y on a Mac in order to view the wireframe version of your artwork. And now, press the Control and space bar keys or Command and space bar on a Mac and zoom on in And marquee that right-hand anchor in order to make sure that it appears at the right location. And if it doesn't, you can press the A key to get your Wide Arrow tool and then you can select that anchor point, drag it to a different location and then drag it until it snaps into alignment like so.

But everything's looking actually pretty darn good to me. Again though, we really need everything to be as properly aligned as possible, so it's worth checking out your various points. And once you have everything the way you want it, just press Ctrl+0 or Cmd+0 on a Mac to zoom out. Press Ctrl+Y or Cmd+Y on the Mac in order to switch back to the Preview mode. And now, we want to find the center of this shape, the exact center. But notice, I'll go and zoom in a little bit here, notice if I go up to the Window and choose the Attributes command, that brings up the Attributes panel right here.

And you may find that you have to click on this double arrow icon next to the word Attributes in order to see this icon right there, Show Center, and then turn it on. And that's your center point. Now, you may wonder why in the world is the center point so obviously off center? Well, that's the center of the square bounding box that happens to surround this triangle, which is not in any way, shape or form what we want. So press Ctrl+Z or Cmd +Z on the Mac to undo the addition of that center point and go ahead and hide the Attributes panel by clicking on the double arrow icon.

Instead, what we need to do is average these three anchor points, so press the V key to switch to the black Arrow tool and click anywhere on the shape to select the entire thing. You want to make sure that all three anchor points are selected. Then, go up to the Object menu, choose Path and choose Average. Inside the Average dialogue box, make sure that Both is selected and click OK. And now, there is the center point that we're looking for and you can see that it's equidistant from every one of the corners of that triangle.

Now press Ctrl+R or Cmd+R on a Mac to bring up your rulers and drag a horizontal guideline out of the top ruler so that it snaps into alignment with that anchor point. And then, drag a vertical guide from the left-hand ruler until it snaps into alignment as well. And now you can press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac to get rid of that cluster of anchor points, and press Ctrl+R or Cmd+R on a Mac in order to hide the rulers. And I'm going to go ahead and press Ctrl+0 or Cmd+0 on the Mac to center my zoom.

And that's how you rotate the triangle and find the location of the exact center of your artwork here inside Illustrator.

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