Perhaps you are looking to do a blend then make the curve path then use the command to replace the spine.
That is One instance to the largest size then another at a distance to the smallest size you Object>Blend Blend Option to specify the number of steps
and then make the blend Object>Blend>Make Blend and then draw the curve you want it to follow path, select both the path and the blend and then go back to Object>Blend>Replace Spine.
yes, except that the blend is a non linear one, more of a gaussian easing in and out. - a bell shaped curve to control scaling. sounds like it might be easier to just do it manually.....
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If you want to scale a set of Symbols to a specific shape rather than path you can use and Envelope to control the scaling in conjunction with the Symbol tools.
This was done quick and easy to show the basic premise of scaling to a shape rather than just along a path.
Here's a quick movie to show how....
Probably won't work for every need.. but may come in handy.
thanks to both of you for your attentive help.
I would say that the envelope strategy is more like what I'm after, the only missing piece is needing the symbols to be aligned at one edge along a path - think trees in profile or elevation along a orlling hillside - one curve defines the profile of the hill and another would decsribe the height of the trees relative to the ground...maybe i can fake it with the symbol sprayer by sifting enough so they look more or less aligned...or ...is there a way to go in and manually adjust symbol positions once sprayed - and without expanding its apparance?
Well that sounds like you can do it with a simple blend I see no ned
to use the sprayer why the great desire to use the spreader?
Wait a second you just want an envelope distort make with mesh that is all you need.
And you can edit the content as well.