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Adobe Illustrator has long been a popular vector–based drawing program, but for many the learning curve is steep. In Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals, author and leading industry expert Deke McClelland shows users how to get in to the Illustrator mindset and overcome this learning curve. He covers the application's key features in a new way, making it simple and easy to master Illustrator. Deke teaches viewers how to use the core drawing and shape tools, the transformation and reshaping features, text, and the Pen tool. He also explains how to export and print. Even if learning Illustrator has been a struggle in the past, this training can help make sense of it. Exercise files accompany the course.
I have saved my progress so far as a document called the lone egg.ai found inside of the 07_edit_transform folder. And in case you are thinking gosh, Deke, that's a curious name for a 260- day spiritual Aztec calendar. What gives? Well, notice if I zoom in here to the upper-right portion of my illustration that I do indeed have a lone egg, this white circle sitting right there, and I want to duplicate this white circle a total of one, two, three times, so we have a sequence of four eggs in this area. Then I want to take those four eggs and duplicate them over and over again throughout the calendar.
How might I go about doing that? By the numbers, and the reason I need to work by the numbers is because I need to figure out exactly how these guys are going to align. Let me explain. I have got this one egg selected right now. I'll bring up my Info palette; there it is, and then I'll go ahead and switch over to my Rotate tool, which I can get by pressing the R key, of course. I know that I need to click in the center of the god's nose right there at the intersection of those two guides. So I'll do that in order to set the origin point and then I'm going to drag with the Rotate tool, in order to figure out how far the egg can rotate in order to get about as close to this star point as this egg is to this star point; does that make sense? So these guys got to be relatively symmetrical to each other within this arrangement of what will end up being four eggs in a row. And that happens to be at about; I'm sort of just shaving the numbers here, at about 23 degrees. So 23-degree rotation is good for the third egg, but that means I need to divide 23 times three. I would need a calculator for that because 23 is not evenly divisible by 3, and if you get out your calculator and do the math, 23 divided by 3 is 7 and two-thirds, so 7.67.
I will go ahead and release my mouse button; I don't want to apply that angle of rotation, so I'll press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac. Let me write down 7.67 degree, so I don't forget. All right. Now I would rotate this egg numerically 7.67 degrees. How do I do that? Well, in a lesser program you would go up to the equivalent of the Control palette and you would find a rotate field, then you would enter that value in and you can do that inside Illustrator as well, by clicking on the word Transform up here in the Control palette and then going through this Rotate value, and then I have got this exacting value, 7.67 degrees.
Watch my egg, I'll press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac, and I did, I guess I rotated the egg 7.67 degrees. It's hard to tell, I rotate it the points around the center, but that doesn't do us any good. I need to rotate it with respect to the origin point. So I'll go ahead and undo by pressing Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac. Now, I'll go back to Transform, you can change the origin point, by clicking on these little guys here, inside of this grid, but even if I was to choose the lower-left point right there, that's the lower-left point of the bounding box.
So it doesn't do us much of any good. So I'll show you what that would like. 7.67 degrees, hit the Enter key or the Return key. So that does kind of jostle this circle, but it doesn't do the job we need. So undo, Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac, let's put that Info palette away, we don't need it anymore. Here is what we are going to the. We are going to use the Rotate tool, and we could double-click; that's one option, you can double-click on the Rotate tool in order to bring up this Angle dialog box, and you can say 7.67 degrees and you can preview and it does that same thing we saw just a moment ago. So that doesn't do us any good either. Cancel.
If you want to invoke that dialog box, and set an origin point at the same time, and this works with any of the Transform tool. So it works with the Scale tool, the Shear tool, the Rotate tool, and the Reflect tool. What you do is you come down here and you press the Alt or Option key and you click. So Alt-click at this guide intersection here on the PC, Option-click on the Mac, to bring up the Rotate dialog box once again. Now notice Preview is turned on and the Angle is set to negative -45 degrees, because that's the last angle we did not undo, and we can see where the egg moves. So this is good.
Now let's say negative because here is another weird thing. We need to go clockwise, which is a negative rotation value. So positive values invoke counter-clockwise rotations, negative values invoke counter-clockwise rotations and the reason Illustrator does that is because that's the way it is in the world of mathematics. So if you remember your geometry classes or your Trig classes or any of those special math classes, negative is this way and positive is that way. Anyway, so we want -7.67 degrees. Tab in order to see it happened and sure enough, that looks right. That's exactly where we want it. But where is the old egg? Well we'd click on the Copy button right there, in order to keep the old egg and add the new egg. So click Copy, there it is. Perfect! Now let's just do it again by pressing Ctrl+D, Ctrl+D, that's Command+D, Command+D on the Mac, in order to invoke, of course. Under the Object menu, Transform > Transform Again and that will repeat that numerical transformation. Beautiful.
Now, let's go ahead and select all four of these eggs in this nice little carton here by pressing Ctrl+N+Shift on the PC, Command+N+Shift on the Mac, click, click, click so grab all these guys. Now, I want to group them together by pressing Ctrl+G, Command+G on the Mac, just so that they don't get separated. We worked so hard to get them aligned exactly right. Now, I'm going to zoom out a little bit so that we can take in the entire calendar, so that we are much, much farther away from these little eggs, and I still have the Rotate tool selected. I'm going to Alt-click or Option-click in the center of the nose; right there at that guide intersection, and I'll enter this time a positive value, 45 degrees, let's say Tab, and you will see they move counter-clockwise to this location right there. Click Copy and now we have two sets of eggs and we'll get the other sets by pressing either Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac, six times in a row. So one, two, three, four, five, six and Bob's your uncle, we are totally done. That is it.
We now have all the eggs we would ever want to have inside of this Tonalpohualli calendar. In the next and final exercise of this chapter, I'm going to show you how to rotate a pattern fill without rotating the object. Stay tuned!
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