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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.
We already know that when you click on any object using your Regular Selection tool you get a bounding box, and that bounding box allows you to perform simple transformations, such as, the ability to scale your object or to rotate your object as well. I'm going to press Undo for a second here. There is another tool in Illustrator called the Free Transform tool. The keyboard shortcut for the Free Transform tool is the E key. So I'll think free transform. If I go over here to the tools panel I can see the Free Transform tool. I'll go ahead and select that, and it does not look any different because what it really does is it actually does the same thing for the most part that the bounding box does. Although it has a few little hidden tricks built into it so let us explore what that is.
First of all, I can go ahead and I can click on any of the handles and scale it. Again holding down the Shift key to be proportional if I wanted to, one thing that the bounding box does not do that the Free Transform tool does do is, that if I add the Option key instead of making a copy, the Option key actually performs a scale from the center as opposed to from one of the edges. So that is one of the benefits of using the Free Transform tool. Let me press Undo. I can also come over to corner here and I can click and start to drag, and yes, we know that I can now scale this. But because I'm using the Free Transform tool and not the bounding box, if I now press and hold the Command key or if you are on Windows hold on the Ctrl key, you can see that I could actually distort this particular object this way.
So now it looks like you're some kind of super hero guy and again the trick is not to hold on the Command key and then click, because then you would get a Scale function, let me press Undo, is to click and start dragging and that once you start dragging, then hold down the Command key. That allows you to go ahead and scale it up or skew it in that particular direction. Let me press Undo to go back to the Original here so we know that we could either use the bounding box when I'm using the Selection tool, or if I want to apply more of a custom kind of transform, I can use the Free Transform tool. What is actually great about the Free Transform tool is that if you for some reason have the bounding box turned off, but there are times when I really don't want to work with the bounding box, I may choose View and then choose to hide the bounding box.
If there are times when I quickly want to have that functionality, it is a lot easier for me to just simply type the E key on my keyboard and get that same functionality without having to worry about turning on and off that option.
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