1 2 Previous Next 48 Replies Latest reply: Sep 4, 2013 12:33 AM by ashtangakasha RSS

    Moving, aligning, and distributing objects

    community help Community Member
        • 1. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
          Lee Littlewood Community Member

          It would be helpful, when discussing the "Distribute" command, to mention that one cannot distribute objects inside a group. Following the printed instructions and getting nowhere builds up a lot of frustration.

          • 2. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
            Wade_Zimmerman Community Member

            Use the selecction tool select the group and double click to enter group isolation now select the art in the group and a method of distributing. When done, click somewhere outside of the group to exit isolation, your objects are still grouped, but arranged differently.

            • 3. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
              Richard Critz Community Member

              It doesn't appear that one can distribute objects relative to a key object, though the verbiage above would seem to indicate otherwise.  I have a rectangle with 3 small circles inside it.  I select 4 objects, click Vertical Align Centers to get them lined up (this works). I then click again on the rectangle to make it the key object and select "Horizontal Distribute Centers" and it piles all of the circles on top of each other as though I had clicked "Horizontal Align Centers" instead.  I'm at a loss how to make this work.

              • 5. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                Richard Critz Community Member

                I don't know how to show it any better than the steps I just outlined.

                1. Draw a rectangle
                2. Draw a circle inside it.
                3. Change the circle fill to make it easier to see (optional)
                4. Option-drag the circle twice to create a total of 3 circles
                5. Select all 4 objects
                6. Click Vertical Align Center (either on the control panel or the Align panel)
                7. Click the rectangle to make it the key object (it gets the bold blue highlight)
                8. Click Horizontal Distribute Center (either in the control panel or the Align panel)
                9. Observe that the circles are now right on top of each other instead of being distributed.
                10. Edit->Undo to reverse this
                11. Repeat step 7
                12. Click Horizontal Align Center and observe you get the same result as for step 8
                • 6. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                  Wade_Zimmerman Community Member

                  Here is what you do

                   

                  1. Select the rectangle and copy if

                   

                  2. paste it in front of the original rectangle command or control C

                   

                  3. Go to Object>Artboarrd>Convert to Artboard

                   

                  4 select the 3 circles

                   

                  5. Choose align to artboard as the orientation

                   

                  6 Choose the vetical distribute to center

                  • 7. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                    Wade_Zimmerman Community Member

                    You take a screen shot and use the camera icon toattach it to your message the camera icon is in the tool bar of the reply message window.

                     

                    Screen Shot 2012-05-25 at 11.48.41 AM.png

                     

                    Screen Shot 2012-05-25 at 11.49.30 AM.png

                    • 8. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                      Richard Critz Community Member

                      Thank you, Wade.  I would never in a million years have figured that one out!

                      • 9. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                        Richard Critz Community Member

                        I'm sorry, I wasn't clear.  I know how to take a screenshot and attach it here.  I don't see how a static image illustrates the problem is what I was trying to say.  In any event, the artboard trick works, though I would never have worked that one out on my own.  Thanks again for your help!

                        • 10. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                          emil emil Community Member

                          I guess it is a bug then. It should distribute the selected objects between the sides of the bounding box of the key object. Good thing that the artboard doesn't have the same bug.

                          • 11. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                            Wade_Zimmerman Community Member

                            I think it is a bug Richard should be aware that this should have worked what I gave him was a work around.

                             

                            You know I am si used to looking at tha the users icon and seeing the name under it I actually thought 16 oposts was his call name?

                             

                            LOL!

                            • 12. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                              Richard Critz Community Member

                              I agree that it's a bug, though I haven't figured out how to submit it as such.  Out of curiosity, I tried it in CS5 and the problem exists there as well.  Who knows how long it has actually been broken!

                              • 14. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                                JBinReno

                                Can anyone help me with Illustrator's equivalent to Freehand's Paste Inside feature? That was one of my favorite features in Freehand and I cannot for the life of me figure out how to accomplish the same effect in Illustrator. Help! Please!

                                • 15. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                                  [scott] Community Member

                                  I don't think it's a bug at all.

                                   

                                  Note, if you stack your 3 circles, they behave the exact same way with the vertical align/distributes buttons.

                                   

                                  You can't distribute to a key object if the key object encompases all other objects. You can align centers, which is what is happening.

                                   

                                  How would you expect it to work? It may be a good feature request, but I can't see current behavior as unexpected or incorrect.

                                   

                                  CS5 shows identical behavior to CS6.

                                  • 16. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                                    [scott] Community Member

                                    JBinReno wrote:

                                     

                                    Can anyone help me with Illustrator's equivalent to Freehand's Paste Inside feature? That was one of my favorite features in Freehand and I cannot for the life of me figure out how to accomplish the same effect in Illustrator. Help! Please!

                                    Start a new thread if you have an unrelated question.

                                    • 17. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                                      Richard Critz Community Member

                                      I expect it to distribute the non-key objects evenly within the bounds of the key object.  Given that the current behavior is identical to the Align behavior, it doesn't seem reasonable to me that Align and Distribute should work identically.

                                       

                                      I filed a bug report.  We shall see what, if any, response that draws.

                                      • 18. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                                        Wade_Zimmerman Community Member

                                        Well perhaps we are wrong look at the video and tell me what we are missing?

                                         

                                        http://www.wadezimmerman.com/videos/Distribute.mov

                                        • 19. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                                          [scott] Community Member

                                          But how can "Horizontally/Vertically Distribute Centers" use the bounds of an object? The very name of the tool states "centers".

                                           

                                          I respect the need to "Evenly Distribute within Object" but that's not what the tools are currently. Which is why I'd say feature request, not bug.

                                          • 20. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                                            emil emil Community Member

                                            [scott w] wrote:

                                            ...

                                            How would you expect it to work?...

                                            In the same way when the objects  are aligned to the artboard as shown in the image posted by Wade. Any shape or open path has a bounding box and it should be used for the distribution of the other object's bounding boxes within it.

                                            • 21. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                                              emil emil Community Member

                                              [scott w] wrote:

                                              the very name of the tool states "centers".

                                              Where does it say centers?

                                              • 22. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                                                [scott] Community Member

                                                emil emil wrote:

                                                 

                                                In the same way when the objects  are aligned to the artboard as shown in the image posted by Wade. Any shape or open path has a bounding box and it should be used for the distribution of the other object's bounding boxes within it.

                                                 

                                                 

                                                But that would be "Distribute Within" not "Distribute Centers"

                                                 

                                                Not arguing against the need for it. Simply stating that it's not there and it's not lacking in a tool or command which clearely states "Centers" in it's name.

                                                • 23. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                                                  [scott] Community Member

                                                  emil emil wrote:

                                                  Where does it say centers?

                                                  Hover over the buttons to get the Tool Tip.... "Centers" is in each button name.

                                                  • 24. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                                                    emil emil Community Member

                                                    it seems to me that the person hired to write the tool tips for Adobe checked how the bug behaves and then gave it an appropriate name. Apparently s/he missed to check how it works with the artborad and give a tool tip name based on that.

                                                    • 25. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                                                      [scott] Community Member

                                                      That's entirely possible. But it is always centers except where Align to Artboard is selected.

                                                       

                                                      You could always copy the rectangle, convert the rectangle to an artboard, distribute to artboard, then delete the artboard, and paste in front/back to get the rectangle back.

                                                      • 26. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                                                        kisanbhat Community Member

                                                        How one aligns a face of a triangular object to a another face of a dis-similar triangular object

                                                        • 27. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                                                          Wade_Zimmerman Community Member

                                                          But is called distribute for a reason and why would it behave the same exact way as the align to center tool what would be the  prupose of two tools doing the same thing from the same feature seems like absolutely a lot of work for absolutely no gain.

                                                           

                                                          if there is a purpose for this then I for one fail to see it iw ould be pleased if someone was able to enlighten us all about such situation and why would it behave differently for align to artboard and not that way with a key object?

                                                           

                                                          Regardless of how it worked before Ican only say it is a bug that probably got set aside and was never addressed.

                                                          • 28. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                                                            Wade_Zimmerman Community Member

                                                            Well what you think of this for instance when selected to align to selection

                                                             

                                                            http://www.wadezimmerman.com/videos/itsABug.mov

                                                            • 29. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                                                              ashtangakasha Community Member

                                                              @kisanbhat,

                                                               

                                                              Do you mean how to:

                                                               

                                                              Move one triangle so the controls points of one side are on the same line with the control points of one side of the second triangle?

                                                               

                                                              Do you care WHERE on the second triangle's side the first triangle's control points land? There are a lot of possible ways to align one face to another.          

                                                               

                                                              In any case, there's no specific command to move one polygon face into alignment with another, although Astute Graphics has some nice plugins for that kind of thing (they're not quite ready for CS6 yet, as of June 5 2012).

                                                               

                                                              One approach would be to turn on Smart Guides, and then move one triangle until a vertex snaps to one side of the other triangle. Then select the Rotate tool and move the center of rotation until it snaps onto the same vertex. Then rotate until the two sides align on top of one another. The rotation won't snap, unfortunately, but you can get a very close approximation.

                                                               

                                                               

                                                              • 30. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                                                                ashtangakasha Community Member

                                                                I assume this is the kind of alignment you're referring to:

                                                                triangle.png

                                                                • 31. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                                                                  emil emil Community Member

                                                                  ashtangakasha wrote:

                                                                   

                                                                  ...The rotation won't snap, unfortunately, but you can get a very close approximation.

                                                                   

                                                                   

                                                                  the smart guides will snap the rotation.

                                                                  • 32. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                                                                    kisanbhat Community Member

                                                                    ashtangakasha wrote:


                                                                    I assume this is the kind of alignment you're referring to:

                                                                     

                                                                    Yes that is exactly what I wanted to do,

                                                                    How did you manage that.

                                                                     

                                                                    Can you come all over again?

                                                                     

                                                                    Thanks a ton.

                                                                    • 33. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                                                                      ashtangakasha Community Member

                                                                      @kisanbhat,

                                                                       

                                                                      As I said, there isn't any direct way to make a point on one polygon snap onto a stroke on another polygon unless you move just the one point (which of course changes the shape of the path). But you can get very close visually.

                                                                       

                                                                      I recommend turning on Outline mode (Ctrl-Y) so you won't be misled by stroke thickness or antialiasing.

                                                                       

                                                                      If you want one apex to align perfectly with an apex on the second triangle, Smart Guides will snap the points together as you drag one triangle so that onecorner touches the other triangle's corner.

                                                                       

                                                                      If you want the faces to align without any of their control points being on top of one another (as in my illustration in an earlier post), then you'll have to do without snapping. (With the Direct Select tool, you can snap a single point on the first object onto a second object's path, but the other points won't move.)

                                                                       

                                                                      What I would do is turn OFF Smart Guides so there won't be any inconvenient snapping to verticals, horizontals, etc. Then zoom in, and drag the first triangle until one apex is visually aligned on the desired side of the second triangle.

                                                                       

                                                                      Leave the first triangle selected. Click the Rotate tool (R), find the little "center of rotation marker", and drag the marker until it snaps onto the apex you just positioned.

                                                                       

                                                                      Then click anywhere on the artboard and drag. This will rotate the first triangle around the marked apex, and you can visually align the side on top of the other triangle's side.

                                                                       

                                                                      It would be nice if Smart Guides provided this kind of snapping, because then you'd get mathematically optimized alignment of the two points of the first triangle along the edge of the second triangle, but they don't work that way. I highly recommend visiting AstuteGraphics.com to try their "SubScribe" tool, which I believe is free. It should be updated for CS6 very soon now. (Their other vector tools are also quite amazing.)

                                                                       

                                                                      I hope this helps. If you need more info, I made a short video:  http://acobb.com/temp/rotateTriangle.wmv

                                                                      • 34. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                                                                        emil emil Community Member

                                                                        Here's how snapping perfectly works with the Smart Guides.

                                                                        you have two objects A and B with differently oriented sides and you want to move and rotate object A to align one of its sides to a side of object B.

                                                                         

                                                                        Pick the direct selection tool (white pointer), hold Alt and click on object A to select it.

                                                                        Move the cursor over the path of object A and the Smart Guides will say "path" or "anchor" depending on where the cursor is.

                                                                        Click on the path or an anchor of object A and start dragging it towards the path or an anchor of object B. Press and hold the Ctrl button down while dragging to make Smart Guides say "path" or "anchor" when the mouse cursor is over one of these from object B and drop object A by snapping it to object B at the desired point of a path or anchor.

                                                                        Pick the Rotate Tool and move the cursor over the intersection  point where you dropped under the cursor object A over B and the Smart Guides will say "intersect". Click there to define the center of rotation of the Rotate tool.

                                                                        Move the cursor over the line of object A that intersect object B and the Smart Guides will say "path" or "anchor" depending on where the cursor is. Click on any point of the path or anchor of the path's segment of object A and drag it over the intersected line of  object B until the Smart Guides say "path". Release the mouse there when the rotation is snapped and you are good to go.

                                                                        • 35. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                                                                          kisanbhat Community Member

                                                                          ashtangakasha wrote:

                                                                           

                                                                           

                                                                          I hope this helps. If you need more info, I made a short video:  http://acobb.com/temp/rotateTriangle.wmv

                                                                           

                                                                           

                                                                          Thanks a ton I will check it out

                                                                          • 36. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                                                                            kisanbhat Community Member

                                                                            emil emil wrote:

                                                                             

                                                                            Here's how snapping perfectly works with the Smart Guides.

                                                                            you have two objects A and B with differently oriented sides and you want to move and rotate object A to align one of its sides to a side of object B.

                                                                             

                                                                            Pick the direct selection tool (white pointer), hold Alt and click on object A to select it.

                                                                            Move the cursor over the path of object A and the Smart Guides will say "path" or "anchor" depending on where the cursor is.

                                                                            Click on the path or an anchor of object A and start dragging it towards the path or an anchor of object B. Press and hold the Ctrl button down while dragging to make Smart Guides say "path" or "anchor" when the mouse cursor is over one of these from object B and drop object A by snapping it to object B at the desired point of a path or anchor.

                                                                            Pick the Rotate Tool and move the cursor over the intersection  point where you dropped under the cursor object A over B and the Smart Guides will say "intersect". Click there to define the center of rotation of the Rotate tool.

                                                                            Move the cursor over the line of object A that intersect object B and the Smart Guides will say "path" or "anchor" depending on where the cursor is. Click on any point of the path or anchor of the path's segment of object A and drag it over the intersected line of  object B until the Smart Guides say "path". Release the mouse there when the rotation is snapped and you are good to go.

                                                                             

                                                                            Thanks emil I will try this too.

                                                                            • 37. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                                                                              kisanbhat Community Member

                                                                              emil emil wrote:

                                                                               

                                                                              Here's how snapping perfectly works with the Smart Guides.

                                                                              you have two objects A and B with differently oriented sides and you want to move and rotate object A to align one of its sides to a side of object B.

                                                                               

                                                                              Pick the direct selection tool (white pointer), hold Alt and click on object A to select it.

                                                                              Move the cursor over the path of object A and the Smart Guides will say "path" or "anchor" depending on where the cursor is.

                                                                              Click on the path or an anchor of object A and start dragging it towards the path or an anchor of object B. Press and hold the Ctrl button down while dragging to make Smart Guides say "path" or "anchor" when the mouse cursor is over one of these from object B and drop object A by snapping it to object B at the desired point of a path or anchor.

                                                                              Pick the Rotate Tool and move the cursor over the intersection  point where you dropped under the cursor object A over B and the Smart Guides will say "intersect". Click there to define the center of rotation of the Rotate tool.

                                                                              Move the cursor over the line of object A that intersect object B and the Smart Guides will say "path" or "anchor" depending on where the cursor is. Click on any point of the path or anchor of the path's segment of object A and drag it over the intersected line of  object B until the Smart Guides say "path". Release the mouse there when the rotation is snapped and you are good to go.

                                                                               

                                                                              Thanks a ton.... It worked as I wanted it. Perfect solution.  Thanks again.

                                                                              • 38. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                                                                                ashtangakasha Community Member

                                                                                @emil,

                                                                                 

                                                                                Thanks for clarifying the use of Smart Guides with the Control modifier, and with the technique of dragging on a path with Smart Guides. I hadn't realized those techniques would do what we were discussing. Your previous comment ("the Smart Guides will snap the rotation") was so brief that we didn't know what procedure you were referring to.

                                                                                 

                                                                                There are a couple of basic technique heres, in your solution, that are important enhancements of the way dragging objects works (compared to having Smart Guides turned off).

                                                                                 

                                                                                One Smart Guide benefit is that you can use the Control key to make the "guides" identify more parts of an object. I've used Smart Guides for years, and had not discovered this feature.

                                                                                 

                                                                                Another important benefit is that the Rotate tool can snap a path to a path (i.e., not dragging a control point, and not dragging "on the artboard") when Smart Guides are turned on and you use the Control key. (This apparently reverts Smart Guide behavior to the way it worked in CS3.)

                                                                                 

                                                                                These two observations make the Smart Guides feature much more powerful, and I appreciate your pointing them out to us.

                                                                                 

                                                                                And thanks also to Kisanbhat for asking this interesting question in the first place!

                                                                                 

                                                                                [Note: I should perhaps also mention that Smart Guides in InDesign don't seem to honor the Control key as they do in Illustrator. InDesign Smart Guides are more limited, as far as I can determine, and seem to work primarily with anchor points. I don't believe the triangle problem would be as easily solved in InDesign.]

                                                                                 

                                                                                [edit: added note about InDesign]

                                                                                • 39. Re:  Moving, aligning, and distributing objects
                                                                                  ashtangakasha Community Member

                                                                                  I was experimenting a little, and found that it's not necessary to use the Direct Selection tool or the Control modifier key to do this operation.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  With the regular (black) selection tool, select the first triangle.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  Drag the first triangle until one edge intersects the second triangle.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  Click the Rotation tool, and drag the center of rotation -- it will snap onto the intersection.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  Click on the first triangle's edge, and drag until it snaps to the path of the second triangle.

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