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Covering a wide range of topics, from advanced masking to chart creation, Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics reveals a whole new level of power, creativity, and efficiency with Illustrator. Instructor Mordy Golding explores how to work with Live Paint groups, get the most out of the Live Trace feature, and take advantage of Illustrator’s wide range of effects. He also discusses advanced transformation techniques, powerful 3D functionality, and important color concepts. Exercise files accompany the course.
In Illustrator, anytime that you move or make an adjustment to an object using any of the following settings, for example, the Rotate, Scale or if you look beneath these tools, there is a Reflect tool as well and also the Share tool. These are called Transformations. So the most common transformation is simply like moving or copying an object or rotating or scaling an object for example. Well, in Illustrator there is also a command called Transform Again, which allows you to repeat the last transformation that you made which depending on how you are working could be incredibly useful. Let me give you a couple of examples.
I have this file, I'm going to use my regular Selection tool to select this group of objects, and so I need to make several of these. So what I can do is I can select it and then hold down the Option key and then click-and-drag this particular object. So again if I'm on a Mac right now I'm holding the Option key, which copies an object, and the Shift key, which constrains the movement of this. If you are on a PC we would hold down the Alt and the Shift keys to do the exact same thing. Now what I'll do is I'll drag it just about over here and I'll let go. So what I've just as I have created now a copy of that artwork and that's a standard transformation side of Illustrator, the Option or the Alt key simply copies the object that you are moving instead of just moving the object itself.
But now that I have just applied that transformation what I can do is I can tell Illustrator that transformation that we just did right now, we copied, we moved it all in one motion, I want you to do that again. And what I'll do is I'll press the Command+D key on my keyboard or if you are on a PC there will be Control+D and that will repeat the last transformation. So see now I have a third copy here. If I have to press the key again I'll get a fourth one. I'll show you where that command exists inside of the menu. If I go over here to the Object menu, I can choose Transform and then Transform Again. Here we can see what the keyboard shortcut is.
So I can also likewise take these four groups right now. Again hold down the same keys, I'm on the Mac here so Option and then Shift drag down and constrain in a straight line, again if you are on a PC, there will be Alt and Shift. I release the mouse. Now I have a whole bunch of copies here. Again, Command+D or Control+D. We continue to make more copies that way. So that's one easy way to simply take one object and make multiple copies of it. Now let me show you another example here which really makes the Repeat Transform or the Transform Again feature very, very useful. I'm going to delete all these objects right here. I'm going to take this little surfboard that I have.
Let's say I want to create some kind of design where I have surfboard, it's kind of fanning out in a circular motion. What I'm going to do is I'll actually draw a guide right down the center of this object. One of the great things about working with Illustrator is that the guide snaps to anchor point inside of Illustrator. So I have this object, when you select it there is an anchor point right, smack here at the top of surfboard, so what I have just done now is I've drawn a guide that now aligns directly to the center of the surfboard. I don't really care where the ruler sits over here. I just know that I wanted to snap directly to the center of this particular surfboard. Now we know that when we are working inside of Illustrator we want to use transformations, for example, say the Rotate command. We have the ability to set an origin, of where that particular rotation takes places from. So for example right now if I take my Rotate tool here or I just tap the Alt key on the keyboard to do this, you will see this little icon here in the middle which identifies that origin point right there. So if I were to just click-and-drag you see how it rotates around that center point, press Undo for a second here.
If I were to click let's say on this corner of the object right here, what I'm doing is I'm now basically redefining where that origin point is and if I click-and-drag the object rotates from that point right there. Now it's really important to know that Illustrator is that the origin point does not need to even be on the object itself it could be anywhere arbitrarily on the artboard. So for example if I were to go ahead and define an origin point by just clicking once right over here, I can now go ahead and drag this particular piece of artwork and see how it rotates around that center. So I'll press Undo one more time and what I can do, by that way, is I can simply go ahead and again using that as my origin point, I would say right about over here, click once over here. I can hold down the Alt key, right, or the Option key to create a copy. And now if I were to repeat the transformation, because the transformation had an origin point down over here pressing Command+D or Control+D would simply continue to rotate those objects around in a circle.
Now notice if they don't really line up exactly the way that they should and that's because I just arbitrarily rotated a certain amount. But of course when we think about a circle it's 360 degrees so if I were to actually think of any particular rotation value that I would add, that would be an amount that would divide directly into that 360 degrees. Then I could get a bunch of surfboards around in a circle, which would all be precisely and perfectly distributed around the circle. So let me show you how I would do that, I would actually use the Transformation inside of Illustrator but doing so with a specific amount. So what I'm doing is I'm going to hold-down the Option key, I'm going to click right over here where I want origin point to be, and now in doing so I get to Rotate dialog box. And I'll specify any value that will be able to divide even into 360. For example I'll type-in 30 degrees. And instead of just clicking OK we should rotate the actual object itself, I'm going to click on the Copy button. So now what I have done is I have taken my regular surfboard here and I have rotated a copy of that exactly 30 degrees but using this as my origin point.
So now that was my last transformation if I were to choose Repeat Transformation yet again I could simply use that keyboard shortcut, and I get a perfect circle, I basically get these surfboards distributed around this circular area in a very nice and even way. So as you are working inside of Illustrator don't forget that quick keyboard shortcut Command+D or Ctrl+D to quickly go ahead and repeat the last transformation that you have applied. It's a command, I'm sure you will be using many times throughout your day.
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