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In Illustrator CS5 Essential Training, author Mordy Golding explains the core concepts and techniques that apply to any workflow in Illustrator, whether designing for print, the web, or assets for other applications. This course includes a detailed explanation of the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of Illustrator's drawing tools. Also demonstrated are techniques for combining and cleaning up paths, organizing paths into groups and layers, text editing, working with color, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
In addition to moving, scaling and rotating, Illustrator has two more transformations, something called reflecting or mirroring and also something called sharing or skewing. Let's take a look at both of those. Many times when drawing artwork inside of Illustrator that needs to be symmetrical, it's easy to just draw one half of a piece of artwork, like I have here, and then use the Reflect tool to automatically create the other part of it. You can find the Reflect tool grouped together with the Rotate tool inside the Tools panel.
Remember that, by default, Illustrator puts the origin point at the center of the artwork. However, I want this artwork to reflect from one of the edges here, so I get the appearance that I am looking for. So one thing that I could do is simply click once on this Anchor Point to move my origin point right here, and now what I'll do is I'll click and drag, and I'll hold down the Shift key, and I can see now that I can create artwork that fills up the other side, but before I release the mouse, I'm also going to hold down the Option key. So with the Shift and the Option key held down now, I'm not only constraining the proportion, but I'm also creating a copy at the same time.
Now when I release the mouse, I get the version of the artwork that I'm looking for. Alternatively, I can press Command+Z here to undo this, and I can Option+Click on this point, and that brings up the dialog box here for the Reflect tool. It gives me a helpful preview and in this case here, I want to flip over the Vertical axis. I can click on the Copy button, and now I get the result that I am looking for as well. Using the Reflect tool can also be helpful in creating shadows. For example, if I have this piece of artwork right here, I am going to go ahead now and select it, I can use the Reflect tool to create some kind of a shadow.
I'll press the O key on my keyboard, which is the keyboard shortcut for the Reflect tool, I'll click once over here to define my origin point, and then I'll click and drag to basically create the reflected area while holding down the Option key. This creates now a copy and maybe I'll change the Color of it to gray. So while this does create a nice shadow, it may not seem very realistic because sometimes a cast shadow is skewed somewhat. So to perform that action, I'm going to select the artwork right here and underneath the Scale tool is something called the Shear tool.
I can click over here, once again, to define an origin point and then click and drag to basically skew or adjust that shadow, to get it to look just right. So I can use the combination of the Reflect and the Shear tools to create the effect that I need.
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