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Graphic objects along a path? - Adobe Illustrator Macintosh

OK, folks, this one's probably dirt simple, but I've never been more than an advanced beginner in AI... I want to put 12 boxes along a radial path with no distortion or skewing, and with the bottoms of the boxes aligned to the path. The boxes will be magazine covers -- I want them arrayed in a circle. I experimented with Pattern Brush but it distorted the boxes. Any ideas?...

  1. #1

    Default Graphic objects along a path?

    OK, folks, this one's probably dirt simple, but I've never been more than an advanced beginner in AI...

    I want to put 12 boxes along a radial path with no distortion or skewing, and with the bottoms of the boxes aligned to the path. The boxes will be magazine covers -- I want them arrayed in a circle.

    I experimented with Pattern Brush but it distorted the boxes.

    Any ideas? Guest

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    Default Re: Graphic objects along a path?

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  3. #3

    Default Re: Graphic objects along a path?

    "I experimented with Pattern Brush but it distorted the boxes."

    A Scatter Brush does not distort the brush artwork like a Pattern Brush does.


    1. Draw a rectangle. Leave it selected.
    2. Effect>Distort&Transform>Transform.
    3. Click the bottom left corner of the transform 9-point proxy icon. Turn on the Preview Check box.
    4. Drag the Move Horizontal slider slowly to the right until the copy is the distance you want it from the original.
    5. Drag the radius of the Rotate icon downward slightly until the copy is rotate the desired amount.
    6. Enter the Number Of Copies desired. (Toggle the Preview Button).


    1.Turn on Smart Guides (View: SmartGuides).
    2.Draw a rectangle. Leave it selected.
    2. Rotate Tool: Press ALT (Option on Mac) and mousedown anywhere on the page. While still keeping the mouse down, move the cursor to the center dot of the rectangle. Then move the cursor straight downward. As you drag downward, a SmartGuide will appear to keep you aligned vertically. When you are the desired distance from the rectangle, mouseup. The Rotate Dialog appears. Enter the desired angle and click the Copy button. Type Ctrl-D (Command D on Mac) to repeat for as many iterations as you want.

    Assuming the curve is uniform (circular):

    1. Draw a rectangle. Copy. PasteInFront.
    2. Normal Pointer: Drag a select marquee across or around both.
    3. Object: Blend: Make.
    4. Select the Blend and the curve path.
    5. Object: Blend: Replace Spine.
    6. Object: Blend: Blend Options. Click the align to path icon (the one on the right). Turn on the Preview button. Select Specified Steps from the popup menu. Enter the desired number of steps.

    Again, this last method requires that the spine path is a uniform curve, because the distribution of blend steps in AI's PathBlends are affected by the points' control handles. There is no feature to ensure equidistant spacing.

    Now, all the above methods assume the various magazines are identical. If each of your magazines is different artwork to begin with, you will have to resort to more deliberate means to construct their positions individually. AI does not have the means by which to automatically distribute the members of a group along a path, as do other programs (it should). If AI supported the placement of in-line graphics inside text objects as do most other drawing programs, a TextPath object would be a viable workaround; but alas....

    But you can do it by means of the second method described above with a slight modification:

    1. Assume you have 12 magazine icons which you want to distribute equally along a circular curve. Draw the 12 icons. Select them all and Align them by their centers. (So they are now all stacked).

    2. Drag a selection marquee around the stack. Turn on SmartGuides.

    3. RotateTool: Alt(Opt) mouseDown anywhere on the page. During mouseDown, move the cursor over the center of the selection so that SmartGuides can sense the selection's center. Still keeping the mouseDown, move the cursor straight downward along the SmartGuide that appears. MouseUp at the desired distance.

    4. In the Rotate dialog, enter the desired angle. Click Okay. All the objects in the stack rotate.

    5. Press and hold Ctrl (Command) to temporarily invoke the Pointer. Press and hold Shift. Click on top of the stack. This de-selects the top object in the stack.

    6. Release keys. Press Ctrl D (Command D) to repeat the rotate transformation. Only the still-selected objects in the stack rotate, leaving the one you deselected behind.

    7. Repeat step 5 on the rotated stack. This again deselects the topmost object. Repeat step 6.

    8. Repeat the process of de-selecting one object and rotating the remainder until you get to the bottom of the stack.

    JET Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: Graphic objects along a path?

    Draw the square duplicate it and and align the two squares then go to Object>Blend>Blend Options choose specified steps select 11 and the orientation of aligning to a radius. Then select the two squares and Object>Blend>Make or Command Option B. Then draw your circle to a radius that is half the dimension of the square bigger than you want the inside of the to be as this method will only align to the center of the squares. Then use the scissor tool to cut the Circle but do not alter the path. Then select the circle path and the blend and go to Object>Blend>Replace Spine.

    There is a problem with this method and as a matter of fact with Illustrator in order to
    scale this configuration without scaling the size of the squares. You can undo and and get back to the to original blend to change the size of the circle and number of steps but once saved you might as well do it over as releasing the blend after saving is not that helpful. Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: Graphic objects along a path?

    I see James has this already! Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: Graphic objects along a path?

    Here's a real basic suggestion, mostly the same as Anson suggested just a little different.

    For my example I used a 5 inch diameter circle and 'magazines' of 1 inch by 2 inch.

    Create a 5 inch diameter circle. Make sure the centerpoint of the circle is visible (if its not, use the Attributes pallet to show it)

    Turn Rulers on. Drag down a horizontal guide to the Centerpoint, then a vertical one across to it. You now have the center of your 'display'.

    Convert your circle to a guide (Cmd-5)

    Draw one 1 x 2 rectangle, place its centerpoint on the centerpoint of your circle.

    Drag the Rectangle up while holding down the shift key, until its base is aligned with the edge of the circle.

    Click on the rotate tool, while holding the option key down (to get the rotate dialog box) click on the centerpoint of the circle as marked by the crossing point of your guides.

    Type in 30 degrees for the amount of rotation, click on Copy. Then Cmd-D until you have all 12 done

    Just like Anson's, this is more complicated to explain then to do. :-D
    The real difference I noticed between my suggestion and his is that you use the rotate dialog box rather than trying to 'hit' on a 30 degree manual rotation by watching the Info palette. Guest

  7. #7

    Default Re: Graphic objects along a path?

    James, you're scaring me :)

    :) Mordy Guest

  8. #8

    Default Re: Graphic objects along a path?

    "James, you're scaring me :)"

    I LIKE SmartGuides. ;-)

    Hey! Wanna see a kinda fun "happy accident" that resulted from that (admittedly long-winded) post?


    JET Guest

  9. #9

    Default Re: Graphic objects along a path?

    You guys rock! Thanks for the detailed responses. I ended up working with Anson's and Robin's method and got exactly the results I was looking for. Tried James' blend one too but couldn't figure it out... Want to try the other methods at some point too, particularly Scatter Brush.

    This is a powerful program -- thanks again for helping me dig into it a bit more.

    Aaron Guest

  10. #10

    Default Re: Graphic objects along a path?

    James... you would have had a hell of a time trying to figure out how to make that circular one on purpose! Guest

  11. #11

    Default Re: Graphic objects along a path?

    Robin-- Thanks for the option-click-rotate dialog box shortcut.. I couldnt figure out how to get the dialog box to use an axis point other than center.. that helps. Guest

  12. #12

    Default Re: Graphic objects along a path?

    This method doesn't place your objects along a path but spreads them out in a perfect circle, equidistant from each other in any size circle you want.

    1. create your shape with the Rectangle Tool (this would be the size of your magazine)
    2. click on your shape to hi-light it
    3. click on the "Rotate Tool"
    4. hold down the "Alt" key + below your shape, click to place the rotate tool marker(it should be a tiny round light blue shape) in the center of how big a circle you'd like, it's the radius measurement.
    5. that should pull up a text box for the Rotate tool. Type in for the Angle = "360/12", then click "Copy".
    6. hold down the "Command" key + click the letter "D" 12 times
    7. replace the shapes with your magazine covers

    p.s. The 360/12 is the # of shapes you want evenly spaced in a perfect circle, you could use any #.
    Rilkean is offline Junior Member
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    Aug 2012

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