There are different ways.
Some distortions, such as Object>Transform>Shear, or Effect>Warp>Whatever, may be applied to the image itself.
For others, you may (Smart Guides are your friends):
1) With the Rectangle Tool, ClickDrag from the top left corner to the bottom right corner (Smart Guides say anchor at both corners) to create a nostroke/nofil rectangle fitting the border of the image;
2) Object>Envelope Distort>Make with top object;
3) Distort the rectangle.
And you, or others, may think of other ways to illustrate the options.
Or you may give more details.
Jacob, thank you.
I know about distorting the complete image with shear etc where the same transformation is applied evenly to the image. However, I need to distort the frame of my rectangle and have the image within follow the distortion which I select. So as I change the rectangle, the image distots to suit. Maybe I need to simply apply perspective to the image (keystoning effect) so the content distorts as I change the border of the image?
When I try Object>Envelope distort>Make with top object I am told 'the selection contains objects which cannot be distorted' (ie a placed photograph with a rectangle drawn on top of it which I have 'keystoned').
Jacob - I think I've got it to work!
I will do trials. Thanks!
You are welcome, Graham.
I hope you will post your findings.
Two apologies: first I overlooked your mentioning keystoning effect (OP), and then I overlooked you mentioning keystoning effect (post #2).
Had I not managed to do it twice, I should have suggested a simpler Envelope Distort way:
1) Create a keystoning effect distorted rectangle as desired (anywhere);
2) Select both and Object>Envelope Distort>Make with top object.
My only confusion was that I thought the 'Place' command delivered a rasterised image. It clearly doesn't and you go Object>rasterise. What do I do now on the blog? Shall I append a before and after example? How do I do that?
There is no need to rasterize vector artwork before distorting it.
If you wish to show images or screenshots, you may use the Insert Image button (the camera icon above the box where you wrte the post), and you may upload images/screenshots/files to a server and post a link. There are free websites for that if you have none yourself.
My only confusion was that I thought the 'Place' command delivered a rasterised image.
No. The Place command either makes a link to an external file (be it raster- or vector-based) or it imports an external file, translating it to native Illustrator objects (be they raster- or vector-based or text). Which of these it does--link or import--is determined by whether you turn on the Link checkbox in the Place dialog. If the file you are placing cannot be linked, the Link checkbox is unselectable.
It clearly doesn't and you go Object>rasterise.
No. Generally, you do not want to run the Rasterize command on a raster image. Doing so re-rasterizes it, which almost always degrades it. Vector paths do not have to be rasterized in order to apply an Envelope distortion.
The issue you're struggling with is linked files that you place. Illustrator can't apply an Envelope distortion to a linked file, because it exists externally.
When I File>Place a raster image, carefully ticking Link (and having it shown as Linked Images: 1,Embedded Images: 0 in Document Info), I can perform an Envelope Distort either way described in posts 1 & 5.
Not possible in CS5.
If I remember you are using an older version Jacob, so you haven't downgraded yet to a higher version?
Envelope distorting linked images in Illustrator 10 does only work with some specific file formats.
I forgot the details, but it used to be that way.
Hi Kurt, thank you for the added knowledge.
I just tried with whichever kinds I had in my image folder for the forum.
It seems to work with JPEG, TIFF, and GIF, but not with PNG (which says Linked file in the Layers palette instead of Image like the others). It only seems to work partially with an embedded PNG, any fill of the Top Object showing where there is transparency.