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Scaling and rotating

From: Up and Running with Illustrator

Video: Scaling and rotating

In this exercise I am going to show you how to scale and rotate objects. Both scaling and rotating are known as transformations, and I mentioned that because I'll also be showing you how to create a transformation sequence, in which you either scale or rotate as well as duplicate objects in order to create automated regular results. I am working inside this file called Dawn Patrol.ai, and our job is to create that Dawn Patrol sticker. Notice you can see the words Dawn Patrol. This is live editable text, by the way, that's set in Stencil Standard Bold.

Scaling and rotating

In this exercise I am going to show you how to scale and rotate objects. Both scaling and rotating are known as transformations, and I mentioned that because I'll also be showing you how to create a transformation sequence, in which you either scale or rotate as well as duplicate objects in order to create automated regular results. I am working inside this file called Dawn Patrol.ai, and our job is to create that Dawn Patrol sticker. Notice you can see the words Dawn Patrol. This is live editable text, by the way, that's set in Stencil Standard Bold.

If you don't have that font available to you, you can try out a different font instead. Now, a couple of different ways to transform objects inside of Illustrator; one is to take advantage of the Bounding Box. So if you go up to the View menu and choose Show Bounding Box so that you can see it on screen, then you'll see the text inside of a rectangle and the rectangle features corner and side handles. If you drag one of these corner handles, not surprisingly you'll stretch the text. If you want to scale the text proportionally, you press the Shift key as you drag.

You need to make sure you keep that Shift key down throughout the length of the drag until after you release the Mouse button. In order to scale the text, you would position your cursor very close to one of the corner handles until you see that Rotate Cursor, and then just go ahead and drag in order to rotate. I've got to tell you, I don't like the Bounding Box very much, it doesn't provide you with sufficient controls and there are better ways to work. Let me show you. I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac a couple of times.

Then I'll go up to the View menu and I'll choose Hide Bounding Box in order to get rid of that Bounding Box so I can better see what I'm doing. Illustrator provides two fantastic dedicated tools for scaling and rotating, and they are these; we've got the Scale tool and we've got the Rotate tool. I am going to start by rotating the text, so I'll go ahead and click on the Rotate tool. You can also press the R key if you like. Notice that little target right there. That represents the transformation origin; it will probably show up as Cyan on your screen.

I've set things so it shows up as Black here in the video. This is the point around which you will perform your rotation or scaling, or what have you. I'm going to go ahead and click in the bottom-left corner of this P in order to move the transformation origin to that location, and now I'll move my cursor fairly far away from that origin point. That just provides me with more control, by the way, and now I will drag in order to rotate that text. And Rotation value of about 21.5 degrees works out actually really, really nicely.

And again, if you want to get it exactly right, then you need to move your cursor fairly far away, like so. Notice this far way I can get it 21.5 degrees exactly, awesome! The reason that distance helps you out is because if you're very close to your text, small movements are going to produce big results, but if you're far away from that origin point, then small movements are going to produce tiny results, and that's really what you want. Now I am going to switch over to the Scale tool which you can get by pressing the S key.

When working with the Scale tool, you want to position your cursor diagonally from that origin point. So either up into the left or down into the left, down into the right, or up into the right. I am going to go with up into the right. The reason you want to be diagonal from the origin point, is so that you can scale both the height and width of your selected object at the same time. When you drag away from the origin point, you increase the size of the object; when you drag toward the origin point, you reduce the size of the object. Presumably, we want to scale this text proportionately, so press and hold the Shift key as you drag, and I want to scale the letters by about 176% is what I am looking for, and that looks close enough right there.

I can see 176.05 inside that gray Smart Guides box and that looks very good. I will press the Down Arrow key in order to nudge the letters down, and that takes care of the text. The sticker in the background is something of a mess. I want to show you how to build that too. So I am going to switch over to my Selection tool, and I'm going to click right there on that smaller circle, so notice I have a small circle, and a big circle. I want to replicate the smaller circle around the outside of the big circle. I can see if I hover on the big circle, actually I will click on it for a moment to make it active.

You can see that the center of that circle is right there in the bottom-right corner of that serif that's coming off the T in Patrol. So I will just remember that. Now, I'll go ahead and select my smaller circle once again, and I'll grab my Rotate tool, and I'll click at the center of the big circle in order to set the transformation origin at that location, and now notice, as I drag, I am rotating that smaller circle all the way around the perimeter of the larger one. Now, I am going to press the Shift key as I drag because I want to constrain the angle of my rotation to a multiple of 45 degrees and I can see that's what I've got right there in that gray box.

I'll also press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, and that will ensure that I copy the circle as I rotate it. So I've got both the Shift and Alt keys down, the Shift and Option keys down on the Mac, release and you create a duplicate of that circle. Now, I want to create a bunch more duplicate, six in all, and I'm going to do that using a great trick that's available from the Object menu. So go up to the Object menu, click on it, then click the word Transform, and you'll see this command Transform Again, that has a keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac. Why D? D for Duplicate; so I am going to go ahead and choose that command, and notice, I'll zoom out a click here.

We've created a small circle at the top of the big one, and now I am just going to press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac, a total of five times in order to rotate little circles all the way around the big one. All right! I am going to press the V key to switch back to the Black Arrow tool. One of my smaller circles is selected. In order to select all of the shapes that have the same combination of fill and stroke, I'll go up to my Select Similar Objects option here in the Control panel, click the down-pointing arrowhead, and choose All and that selects all those objects.

Now I want to combine them, using a feature that we haven't seen so far. So rather than taking advantage of the Shape Builder tool and trying to drag through all of these selected objects, I'm going to take a simpler approach that involves the Pathfinder panel. So go up to the Window menu and choose Pathfinder in order to bring up this panel of icons all of which allow you to combine objects together. So we're going to start with this guy right here, Unite, which will fuse all these path outlines into one big hyper circle path, as you're seeing right there.

You just click on it, you don't have to Alt or Option+Click. And then finally, I want to crop these yellow wavy stripes inside of the big multi-circle blob. And so with the multi-circle shape selected, I will go up to the Edit menu and choose the Copy command. Then I will click on one of those wavy stripes in order to make it active, and I'll go to the Edit menu and choose Paste in Front or press Ctrl+F, Command+F on the Mac. So I now have a copy of this guy sitting in front of the stripes. I will Shift+Click on one of the stripes to select all of them because they're grouped together, and now I will crop the stripes inside of the forward shape by clicking on this icon right there, the Crop icon at the bottom of the Pathfinder panel, and the deed is done.

That's all it takes. Now I will go ahead and close the Pathfinder panel, click off the shape, and that folks, is how you scale and rotate objects with precision here inside Illustrator.

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Up and Running with Illustrator

26 video lessons · 20285 viewers

Deke McClelland
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