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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.
Another common transformation that's applied often inside of Illustrator is Rotating. Similar to scaling, there are many different ways to apply rotate transformations inside of Illustrator. If I select some artwork here, I can open up my Transform panel and specify a rotate angle right here, and the rotation will also originate from the point that I specify here in this reference point icon, however, I find it sometimes a lot easier to perform rotates right on my artboard using the Rotate tool.
If I double-click on the Rotate tool inside of the Tools panel, the Rotate tool dialog box appears where I can punch in exact Angle and then click OK to rotate my artwork, or click on the Copy button to rotate a copy of it. Of course, if my artwork contains patterns, I can choose whether or not I want to rotate the Objects, the Patterns, or both. I am going to click Cancel on this case, and I want to talk about using the Rotate tool itself, similar to how we use the Scale tool before. You see when I use the Rotate tool I also see that an origin point now appears at the center of my artwork.
This is the point around which my artwork will rotate. It's kind of like sticking a pin in the middle of my artwork, and then when I go ahead and I spin the artwork it rotates around that pin. Once again, I'd want to move my cursor far away from that origin point so I have an easier time controlling the rotation. And then I would click and drag to rotate that artwork. If I have smart guides turned on, you'll see that it tells me how much I am rotating my artwork. And if I hold down the Shift key, it will constrain the rotations to 45-degree angles. If I wanted to define my own origin point, I would first click and release the mouse in the location where I want that origin point to be. Then I'd move my cursor far away from it and then click and drag to rotate around that point.
This can be very helpful many times when you specifically don't want artwork to rotate around its center. For example, let's focus on this watering can right here. I am going to hold down my Command key and then click on this piece of artwork here to select it. If I were to click in the center and then rotate from the center, I wouldn't really be getting the effect that I wanted, so what I can do is I can click once to define my origin point right here and then click and drag to rotate it and get the effect that I want. Now if I want to perform a rotate command, and I also want to perform it numerically from a very specific origin point, I can do the following.
I could position my cursor where I want to rotate the artwork from. I can hold down the Option key, or Alt on Windows, and then click. This, in one step, defines a custom origin point for that rotate and brings up the Rotate dialog box where I can punch in a specific angle for the rotation.
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