Join Justin Seeley for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the updated Free Transform tool, part of Illustrator CC 2013 New Features.
With the latest update to Illustrator, Adobe is really trying to make object control and manipulation easier with the three revamped free transform tools. What makes these new features so unique is the fact that they also work on touch screen monitors or touch enabled drawing tablets as well. But I'll get to that in just a minute. Let's start off first by creating a new document here. Let's go to File > New and 1024 by 768 is fine, does not matter how big or how small the document is. And then once you have your document created, I'm going to go ahead and select a fill color of kind of a dark orange, and then set the stroke color to none.
And then I'm going to grab the Rectangle tool and just draw out a rectangle. Does not matter how big or how small the rectangle is, we're going to be distorting it, and scaling it up and down, anyway. So once we have that rectangle out on the artboard go ahead and grab your Free Transform tool. You can select it in the Tools panel here or just press the letter e on your keyboard. Then you'll see a little bar pop up somewhere on your screen, mostly likely over here on the left. You can drag that bar anywhere you want by clicking and dragging on the top just like so. Once you have that in place where you want it. Just stick it somewhere it makes sense to you.
You can see that you have four options here. The top option is a constraint option, which means if I have this turned on, I will only be able to scale or manipulate this object in proportion, so it constrains it to the original aspect ratio in which I drew it. So, right now you can see it almost looks like two little pieces of a chain that are broken in half. And that's what these little lines out to the side signify, that it's broken. If I click here, it snaps it back together and it looks like a chain again. And so when this is checked on, you can tell that by it looks like this, I can scale up and down in proportion as big or as small as I would need it to be. Now, if I uncheck that box, then, when I scale it up or down, I can actually free distort it in any way that I want.
Now, also with this box unchecked, I have the ability to come to the middle here. And you notice, when I come to the middle point, I have the little shear icon that appears. That means I can sheer this. Left, right, any direction I want. I can also kind of drag it up or down at the same time while I'm doing that to create some really interesting shapes. Now, this is something that previously, you had to use something like the Sheer tool to do, but now you're able to do it right here inside of the Free Transform tool. Now, you've also got the perspective to stork this is where you can come to 1 of the corner points and you can actually change the vanishing point of objects.
And so you just come to the corner points and make adjustments like so, you can create some really intriguing shapes remember this started out as a rectangle now it almost looks like some sort of kite, or something that we might be flying. (LAUGH). So I could actually draw a little streamer on it, and it looks like a kite. Pretty cool. Now, the last option here is going to be free distort. And free distort basically just allows you to come to any corner point on the object. And just free distort it in any way that you see fit. Just like so, pretty easy. So there you go.
That's the new Free Transform tools and this is how they work in regular Illustrator but let's take a look now at how this look on a touch enabled screen like a Wacom Cintiq, for instance. Okay, as you can see, I have the ability with this touch enabled screen to just simply select the Free Transform tool. Once I have the Free Transform tool up, I have the same controls. I can constrain it, so I can go in or out horizontally or vertically in proportion. I can unconstrain that, and then I can free distort it any direction I want.
I can then also use the Perspective Distort tool to change the vanishing point, either make it go farther away or closer to me, just like so. And then I'll finally tap here to enable the free distort mode, and once I'm in free distort mode, I can take my finger or the pen and go to any one of these corner points and just click and drag to manipulate them directly on the screen, which is pretty cool. It should also be noted that Illustrator now supports touch gestures as well so let's take a look at that now as you can see here I can pinch and zoom using just my two fingers to zoom in and out of the document that I'm working on. I could also create a couple of artboards so let's do that real quick I'll switch over here to the Artboard tool.
And I'll just come out here and draw an artboard, something like that, and let's draw another one, this one a little bit bigger, something like that. Now once I have the Artboard tools drawn, you can see this, I can actually swipe across the artboards, just like that. If I'm in artboard editing mode, which I am currently with the Artboard tools selected. I can actually tap on an Artboard, and then I can use my fingers to rotate that Artboard around. Just like that.
So as tablets and touch-enabled screens continue to evolve and become a more integrated part of our workflow. Applications and gesture support like the ones found in the latest update to Illustrator, will become increasingly more important, and I assure you, that this definitely just the tip of the iceberg.
Note: Adobe Creative Cloud is updated on a regular basis. We will add more tutorials as features are added or changed, so check back often.
- Placing multiple files at once
- Unembedding raster graphics
- Searching for fonts and swatches
- Loading images in brushes
- Working with Automated Corner Generation
- Using the updated Free Transform tool
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: This course was updated on 01/16/2014. What changed?
A: When Creative Cloud applications are updated, we refresh our training to make sure it covers the latest features and interface changes from Adobe. This update covers Illustrator's redesigned Pencil tool, reshaping with the Pen tool, and Live Corners.