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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 the Illustrator 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.
Illustrator has a really cool feature called Repeat Transformation. It basically allows you to just repeat a transform that you just applied. I know it doesn't sound very exciting when you first hear about it, but there are many times when it could be very helpful. For example, if I select this artwork right here and I copy it, and I am going to hit Command+N to create a new document, I'll click OK and then paste that artwork onto this file. If I move the artwork, just about right over here, and I wanted to create several copies of this artwork, I can press and hold down the Option key to create a copy and also the Shift key as I drag it, so it kind of drag straight across, and now I've created a second version.
Well, now if I go to the Object menu and I choose Transform, I can choose this option here called Transform Again, and when I do that, it basically just repeats the last transform that I applied. Now the keyboard shortcut for this is Command+D or Ctrl+D and again, I can just hit this repeatedly to now create many copies all offset using the exact same values that I used when I defined that first transformation. This command can also prove very helpful when rotating objects. I am going to go back to this file here called transformations.
I am going to select this flower, and I am going to copy it. I'll go back to this document now, and I'll paste it right here. Maybe I want to create some kind of face of a clock where each of the hours on the dial of the clock are represented by a flower. So I need to basically create a flower for each of those hour positions. How can I do so in a very precise way? Well, I am going to start out first by pressing Command+R or Ctrl+R so I can bring up my rulers here inside of Illustrator. I am then going to drag out a guide, and have it snapped right to the center point of that flower.
I don't really need to do this, but it will make things just a little bit easier, as you'll see in just a moment. I'm now going to go ahead and select the flower. I notice, by the way, that right now my guides are not locked. So what I'm going to do is I am going to go up to the View menu. I am going to choose Guides, and then I am going to choose Lock Guides. Now I've locked the guides, so I can go ahead now and select my artwork without the guide getting in the way. I'll tap the R key on my keyboard to select the Rotate tool, and I want to rotate my artwork from an origin point in a very precise location.
I am going to move my cursor down just about right over here and here is where the guide kind of helps me to see that it is exactly beneath the center of the flower. I am going to hold down the Option key, or if you are on Windows hold down the Alt key, and I am now going to click and release the mouse. What I've just done now is I've defined a custom origin point, and I've brought up the Rotate dialog box, so I can rotate this numerically. If we think about math for a moment here, I know, I don't want to think about math either, but in this case it's pretty simple. A circle has 360 degrees in it.
I need to divide that by 12, so that I get a flower at each location per hour. So 360 divided by 12 comes out to be 30. So I am just going to type in an angle here of 30 degrees, and then I am not going to click Ok. I am going to click on Copy to create now a second flower. Now that I performed that very precise transform, I can now press the keyboard shortcut to Transform Again, the keyboard shortcut is Command+D or Ctrl+D, and each time that I do so, I'm now going to get another flower added, and it does so at the exact and precise rotation value that I specified from that origin point that I have defined, which is now in the center of the face of my clock.
So repeating transformations, or using the Transform Again command can be very helpful inside of Illustrator and really make it easy for you to make sure that things are lined up precisely, right from the beginning.
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