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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 am still working inside that same Trio of squares.ai file that I opened in the previous exercise. We have now created three groups of squares on the left-hand side of our Tonalpohualli calendar and we need to take those three groups of squares and flip them to occupy the right side of the calendar. We are going to do that using the Reflect tool. Now, in a lesser program, we would work like so. Let me show you to what you might expect you should do. Click on one of the square clusters with the Black Arrow tool, then Shift-click on the other two in order to select all three groups like so, then in another program, you would duplicate the objects by, for example, dragging them and pressing the Shift key and the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and moving them to a new location like so. They are partially covered up by some of the calendar elements so I'll press Ctr+Shift+) or Command+Shift+) on the Mac in order to bring them to front.
And then you would find your Flip Horizontal command, which is kind of hidden in Illustrator. I would go up to the Control palette here, click on the word Transform in order to bring up the Transform palette and then I would click on the flyout menu icon and choose Flip Horizontal and then of course you would still have to figure out where these objects go by dragging and while pressing the Shift key again and then alignment is going to be kind of tricky and even after you get things looking right, you are not sure that you have got them exactly where they need to be, so you might nudge things to the left. In my case a couple of points. In other words, it's all very messy working this way.
Whereas, in Illustrator, using the Reflect tool, which is another Version 1.0 tool that was implemented as well as such a tool could be implemented in my opinion. You can do it all in one operation and get it exactly right. So I'm going to press the Backspace key, the Delete key on the Mac, in order to get rid of that awfulness and I'm going to click Shift-click, Shift-click on the square group once again to select all three. Then I'm going to go to the Rotate tool slot, click and hold and choose the Reflect tool, which you can also get by pressing the O key. And in case you are thinking, O doesn't ever appear in the word Reflect, well, it does appear in the word Mirror because you are creating mirror images of the objects, but more importantly, an O is a perfectly symmetrical object so you flip it horizontally or you flip it vertically and you still get an O.
Anyway, here is how you use this tool and it is going to seem a little weird. I'm going to back up to zoom level here so that we can take in more than enough of this illustration. What you do is you click once and then you click twice. I'm not doing it. I'm just telling you how it's going to work. At two opposite points in order to define the angle of the mirror. So for example, if you want to flip the objects horizontally, you need to define a vertical mirror so in this case, for example, I would click up here and that sets the transformation origin, notice that and then you click or you an click and drag. Notice that it kind of moved the mirror around like so and see hoe those objects are moving as well off over to the right-hand side of the illustration.
But if I drag to exactly align with this vertical guideline right here and I release, then I'll exactly mirror the objects to the right side of the calendar. Of course, I have made a little bit of a mistake, right? I reflected them. I didn't clone them. I wanted to clone them. So I'll undo that operation and I'll click in order to set that transformation origin. Although, I have to say it's already set. I can see it right up there so I don't have to click. All I have to do is Click and drag, like I did before. In fact, I'm doing exactly the same thing I did before. So how in the world can I expect different results? Well, I'm going to press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac so as to create clones of my objects. Then I'll move my cursor into exact alignment with that vertical guideline and notice that I have a double white arrow cursor at this point. That's because I have my Alt key down, my Option key on the Mac and I'm snapping into alignment with the guide and now when I release, look at that. I get exact duplicates in the exact right locations along the right side of the calendar.
So remember this Reflect tool is your buddy when you are creating mirror images of objects inside of Illustrator. It is a strange tool to come to terms with. We will use it multiple times over the course of this series, but once you understand it, it not only saves you time, it delivers better results.
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