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Illustrator can be used to accomplish many different design tasks. For this reason, Illustrator CS4 Essential Training teaches core concepts and techniques that can be applied to any workflow for print, the web, or assets that will find their way into other applications. Mordy Golding explains the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of Illustrator's drawing tools. He demonstrates how to combine and clean up paths, and organize them into groups and layers. Mordy also covers text editing, working with color, expressive brush drawing, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
Many of the Transformation tools inside of Illustrator work in the same way. For example, we saw how that when we scaled objects we had an Origin Point where the scale originated from, and then we were able to specify the setting. Well, it's not much different with the Rotate tool. For rotating here, we will actually go ahead and click on the surfboard. I'll specify the Rotate tool by clicking on the Rotate tool here in the Tool panel or I could simply use the keyboard shortcut, which is to tap the R key on my keyboard. Notice that by default my Origin Point is in the center of the object. As I click and drag to rotate the object you can see that the object is rotating from that Origin Point. Here when using the Rotate tool it becomes far more evident of why it would be important to use this particular Origin Point.
For example, here is another way for you to position the Origin Point, which is simply to come ahead and click on a different area. For example, I can choose the bottom left hand Anchor Point right here to click on, and now I have moved the Origin Point to that point of the object. Again, I want to move my cursor further away from that particular part of the Origin Point, and now when I click and drag the rotation is happening from that edge of the shape. Likewise, if I go ahead and I click once here to position my Origin Point here, clicking and dragging when I rotate it around that particular point of it.
As I had mentioned before it's also possible to position the Origin Point far away from the object. Why would that be important? Well, let's say I position my Origin Point somewhere down around over here. I'll click once. Now when I click and drag you can see that I'm rotating the object around that point here. So for example, if I was doing let's say tick marks on a clock, or I want to do some kind of surfing watch, I might do little tick marks here and I would put one here, one here, and one here. By the way, I can hold down the Option key while I drag to drag a copy and also hold down the Shift key to constrain my rotation to only 45-degree angles.
So for example, I can go ahead and I can choose to do let's say this right here, and now I have rotated this exactly 90 degrees down here, but from this Origin Point. I'm going to press Command+Z to go ahead and undo that. Likewise, when I was using the Scale tool before, if I want to be able to rotate something in a very specific manner, I can either double click on the Rotate tool itself; in this case type in a specific value. When I do that it's always going to rotate from the Origin Point in the center of the object. However, if I click Cancel here, I can Option Click anywhere. For example, Option-click down over here somewhere. I specify an angle of 30 degrees maybe, and then choose Copy, and now I have created a copy of that.
It's now when you really start to see where the benefits of using the individual Transformation tools, like the Scale and the Rotate tools become far more powerful than just using the bounding box option available inside of Illustrator. Just to quickly contrast that. If I were to use a Regular Selection tool and click on an object, I would be able to use the bounding box to rotate it, but again I can only rotate it from its center. In fact, this actually illustrates I think one of the most difficult problems that people have with Illustrator, which is, there are so many different ways to do something how do you know, which one is the right way to use? The answer of course is, every job has its own right way, so there is no really one way to do something.
The reason why there are so many different ways to achieve a certain effect inside of Illustrator is because each design task requires something different. Sometimes the bounding box is perfect for rotating an object; sometimes you need to use the Rotate tool specifically. The more and more that you start using Illustrator the more you will get comfortable with all these tools and you will know just went to use each tool for each design task.
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