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Join Justin Seeley, lynda.com staff author and design enthusiast, each week for a new 5-minute, self-contained tutorial that you can use to instantly improve your design workflow. This series covers techniques for print, digital, and web design, addressing the tools that creative professionals like you use most. Learn new ways to leverage layer styles and vector shapes in Adobe Photoshop, work more efficiently with text in Illustrator, and embed videos and even tweets in WordPress posts, and much more. Check back each week for a new installment, and a new design hack.
Hello, and welcome back to Creative Quick Tips. My name is Justin Seely, and in this week's installment, I'm going to be showing you how to use the Transform command inside of Adobe Illustrator to create some really cool and interesting shapes. So the first thing we need to do is draw a shape out on our art board. And what I'm going to do is just come over here, and grab the Polygon tool. You can create any document you want in order to do this and then just come out here and create your polygon. Now I'm going to, as I'm drawing this, tap the down arrow key on my keyboard, and that's going to allow me to tap that down to three sides to draw a triangle.
I'm going to hold down my Shift key to constrain all the proportions, and then release. And then what I'm going to do is just move this until it syncs right there in the center, and I've got Smart Guides turned on. If you go to View, make sure there's a check mark next to Smart Guides, that way everything will snap. And then what we're going to do is we are going to shrink this thing up by holding down the Option or Alt key and clicking and dragging in the side like this and then clicking and dragging down like that. Just kind of transforming it into this really skinny almost toothpick-looking shape. And so what I want to do is just revolve this thing around 360 degrees to create a burst effect and I can do this one of two ways.
I can do it through the traditional Transform command by going to Object and selecting Transform, or I can go to the Effect menu which is actually better because I have full control over this effect and I can come in and edit it anytime. So what I'm going to do is down to Effect > Distort and Transform, and I'm going to choose Transform. Then I'll move this out of the way so we can see it and get a good preview. Make sure Preview's turned on and, then what we're going to do is we are going to make sure that the reference point, which is down here, is right there in the middle of the point.
So in order to do that, I need to set it just like so. So you want that little white square to be just like that. And then what we're going to do is we're going to create some copies. And by creating copies, I'll just create five to start off with, I then have a way of changing the angle to make these sort of flow around it. So what I'm going to do right here is just start tapping. You notice how they start fanning out. And let's go to about 10 degrees, something like that and then now I'll just increase the copies by holding down the up arrow key until I get all the way around.
And I need 35 copies if they're spaced out 10 degrees apart, 360 degrees, 36 copies total. So once I do that, I'll hit OK. And now the best part is all I have to do is change this one object right here. So let's say that I want to change the color. Let's make that green, for instance, and we can remove the stroke and then click away and you can kind of see exactly what we've done there. And so any time i want to make a change to this I can just resize this one element. So let's increase the size a little bit, see how they all change or we can make it a little skinnier, and they all get skinnier.
I can make it longer, and they all get longer. And so anytime you make a change to this one, they all change accordingly, and the effect gets updated. You can also select this object and go into the Appearance panel over here. So let's just expand this out and let's find the Appearance panel. There it is, drag it out. And in the Appearance panel you'll notice the transform. I can click that any time I want, and so I could come in here, and I could actually reduce the angle of these if I wanted to. Let's preview that, see what they look like.
I could also increase the angle, if I wanted to. And I could decrease the number of copies. Let's decrease this back to like 30. And then let's increase the angle, something like that. And you can kind of see, you just kind of play around with this, get it exactly like you want and you can create some really interesting stuff. And it's not just starbursts. I mean, you could do a lot of different things using the Transform command. I'm just hoping to give you a little inspiration of what's possible by using these live effects. And the best part is, it is completely vector. You can scale it, rotate it, manipulate it, any way you want, and it maintained that nice, crisp look.
So there's other applications that do things like this but I think Illustrator's probably the best because of the fact that everything's non-destructive, it's all vector and that means you can scale it infinitely without penalty. The next time you have to create some sort of complex shape, try starting out with something basic and then exploring what the Transform command can really do.
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