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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 Illustrator's 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.
One of the most common types of transformations that you'll be applying on a day-to-day basis inside of Illustrator is scaling or resizing your artwork. Now in reality, there are many ways to resize artwork inside of Illustrator, and as you perform a variety of tasks throughout the day, you might find that some work better than others for your particular need. For example, if I select this artwork right here, since I have my bounding box option turned on, again, in my View menu here, I see that it now shows Hide Bounding Box that means it's currently visible, I can click on any of these handles and hold down the Shift key to constrain proportion to resize my artwork.
However, if I need to be very precise I am just going to press Undo to go back to where it was before. I can come up over here and click on the word Transform to open up the Transform panel. By the way, if you don't see the word Transform here, it could be that your resolution on your monitor is little bit different than what I have here. So you can always find any panel underneath the Window menu. But for now, I am going to go ahead and open up Transform panel here, and if I wanted to change my width of my object, I can type in a very specific width. Let's say, for example, I know this artwork needs to be 150 points in width.
Well before I do that, you can see that there is an icon here with a link. If I click on that link, I can toggle whether or not those proportions are constrained. So, for example, now that that link icon is turned on, I could specify for a width 150 points and when I hit Return or Enter, Illustrator will automatically figure out the new height for that object as well in order to constrain the proportions. I'll press Undo because I want to show you that there is a specific scaling tool inside of Illustrator. In fact, if I come over here to the Tools panel, I can double-click on this Scale tool, and it brings up the Scale tool dialog box.
What's great about this dialog box is that I can enter specific percentages of how much I want to scale my artwork. I can do so uniformly or non- uniformly, and it has a Preview option. But perhaps more importantly are these settings here down on the bottom where it says Options. I have the ability to Scale Strokes & Effects along with the artwork, and if I have just a single object selected, I can also choose whether or not I want to scale the Objects or just the Patterns inside those objects. Perhaps the most important setting here though is this one, Scale Strokes & Effects, only because it really changes how your artwork appears after you perform a scale. For example, if I have an object that has a one-point Stroke width applied to it, and I then scale it up 200%, with this check box turned on my Stroke Weight would now have a two-point width.
However, if I turn this option off, even though my object itself was scaled 200%, the Stroke Weight would remain at one-point. Just as in the move dialog box, I can click OK to accept this scale option, or I can click on the Copy button to have a copy of my artwork scaled instead. But for now, I am going to click on the Cancel button because I want to show you a way to scale art work in a very powerful fashion, in a way that you have a lot more control than what we've seen before. When I have my Scale tool selected, you'll see that an icon now appears on the center of my artwork.
It looks like a circle with little cross hairs through it. That little icon right now in the center my artwork identifies what we call the origin point of the scale, meaning when I scale my artwork, everything scales out from that one point. By default, Illustrator, of course, puts this origin point at the center of my artwork. However, there are ways that I can change that origin point. First of all, if I go back to my Transform panel, you'll see to have something called a nine-point proxy. If I click on the upper left-hand corner, you notice that I have the ability to scale my artwork from that upper left-hand corner.
However, even with this reference point, I only have nine possible positions that I can scale my artwork from. So I am going to click over here just to remove the Transform panel for now. And I'll come back in the artboard and what I can do now is choose to scale my artwork by eye directly on artboard. I'm going to position my cursor right about over here in the middle down Y. And I'm now going to click and then drag in one motion. I am going to hold down the Shift key to constrain proportions, but as I drag out, you can see that my artwork is getting larger by growing out from that center origin point.
If I drag towards the origin point itself, my artwork is now getting smaller. Again, it's shrinking in size but towards that single origin point. I release the mouse, and then I'll let go the Shift key on my keyboard, and we could start to see now how this origin point can be somewhat helpful. I am going to press Undo and using that same Scale tool, I'm now going to click right about over here. Notice that right now I've changed the position of that origin point. I just clicked once to release the mouse. Now if I move my cursor let's say about over here and I started to drag, you can see that the art is scaling from that origin point, even though the origin point itself is not touching the artwork.
This is something that I can't do when using Transform panel, or anything else for that matter. Now for a moment, I am going to press Undo. I want to discuss the difference between the origin point and where my cursor is. You see if I click once over here to the find an origin point at this point, I don't want to click anywhere to start dragging and scaling the artwork from here because I don't really have any leverage. I would like to actually move as far away from that origin point as possible and then start clicking and dragging to then perform that scale. I'll just have that much more control when I do so. I am going to press undo, and I want to share with you one great tip about combining the ability to define your own origin point but at the same time also perform very precise and numerical transformations.
We know that when I had the Scale tool selected, I can click in any area and release the mouse to redefine the origin point. I know that if I start clicking and dragging I can resize that, but I'm doing it by eye. Let's say I know that I want to scale this exactly 128% from a very specific point. Well what I'll do there, I am just going to click once here to cancel that action, is I'll position my cursor where I want to scale to originate from, which is to say right about over here. And I'll hold down the Option key on my keyboard. Notice I have a little dotted line appears now next to that cursor.
Now if I click and release the mouse, two things happen. First of all, I've defined my own custom origin point, and second of all, the Scale dialog box now appears where I could type in a specific value for that scale. If I type in 128, which is the value that I wanted, and click OK, I'm now able to get the best of both worlds. I can define my own origin point, and I can get a very precise and numeric scale.
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