You can attempt to use a Pattern Brush in the Brushes Palette. Select the object you want to copy to the oval, make a new Brush>Pattern Brush with the New icon in the palette and then assign the stroke to the brush the same way you would assign a color to the brush.
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You can als ry the method of doing a blend with specified steps and Replacing the spine.
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Can anyone please tell me if theres a way to copy a motif evenly around an ovel shape in AI?
Not intuitively, no.
Pattern Brushes will distort the tiles.
Scatter Brushes should work for this, but do not, because they fail to handle path ends correctly. Dashed Strokes have the same problem.
Illustrator Blends cannot evenly distribute their intermediate steps; the distribution is affected by curve handles.
Just another well-known example of how Illustrator piles features upon features and tools upon tools and still fails for any of them to perform the simplest things adequately.
Ridiculously Unintuitive Workaround:
1. Select the ellipse.
2. Filter>Distort>ZigZag. Size: 0. Points: Smooth (but doesn't really matter). Ridges Per Segment: (Think "points per segment" and set as desired. Understand, because you are starting with an ellipse, which has four segments, you will be limited to total numbers of instances which are divisible by 4.
4. Delete. This leaves just the anchorPoints behind as so-called "stray points."
5. Effect>Convert To Shape>Ellipse. This is to create objects which have a size other than zero.
6. Object>Expand Appearance. Makes the ellipses actual paths.
7. Store the artwork that you want to repeat as a Symbol. Then run the Replace With Symbol script that can be found here.
If your motif is blendable, you may:
1) Create two instances of the motif at a suitable mutual distance;
2) Create the blend with a specified number of steps that is one less than the desired total number, resulting in one too many (you will have two on top of each other);
3) Create the oval and cut it with the Scissors Tool where you want the first/last motif instance;
4) Object>Path>Add Anchor Points (a number of times);
5) Select blend and oval and Object>Blend>Replace Spine.
Undo 5) and repeat 4) and 5) if/as long as the distribution is ueven.
Thanks for all the help! Just realised how much there is I don't know : )
Jacob/Wade, thanks, I think your suggestions are the best solution for my problem.
I went through your steps, Jacob, and all seems straight forward except when I select object>blend at step 5 'replace spine' isn't highlighted?
I'm pretty confident I've done steps 3 and 4 correctly so maybe not doing something right in steps 1 and 2? Any thoughts?
dabadamsdesign, you are welcome.
Are you sure you are selecting both the blend and the oval (otherwise there is nothing to replace the spine with)?
Got it! Thanks Jacob.