23 Replies Latest reply on Jun 18, 2012 11:59 PM by Mark_vW

# How to distribute equal spacing with anchor points?

I am working in Lesson 5 of Adobe Illustrator CS5 Classroom in a Book, and am having a problem selecting the 2 anchor points to distribute equal space based on the bottom center anchor point of the violin.  The note said to reference chapter 2, which I have already been through, but even after reading the Illustrator Help dialog on pg 75, I am still at a loss.  Can anyone explain how to distribute this equal spacing of 2 anchors relative to one anchor point?

• ###### 1. Re: How to distribute equal spacing with anchor points?

csnpreggers,

• ###### 3. Re: How to distribute equal spacing with anchor points?

csnpreggers,

Maybe the exact wording of the task as presented in the lesson is called for.

• ###### 4. Re: How to distribute equal spacing with anchor points?

If it's a symmetrical object you are drawing (you mentioned a violin), remember that you only need to draw one half of it.

Then you reflect the whole thing about its axis of symmetry and all points will be mirrored on each side of the axis and therefore equally spaced.

Without further details it's difficult to give you a better answer.

• ###### 5. Re: How to distribute equal spacing with anchor points?

It's not possible to automatically align anchor points the way you expect it to work.

I've got the book and I think I found the paragraph you're referring to. It simply states that it is difficult to create the points in a symmetrical fashion. It actually doesn't show a way to do it. What you might do is create "helper objects", e.g. a rectangle that you use to measure the distance between anchors to recreate it on  the other side.

You might also first create only one side of that violin completely and then mirror it when you're finished. Doing it that way would be the most efficient way to do it.

• ###### 8. Re: How to distribute equal spacing with anchor points?

Thanks, everyone, for your replies.  Like you say, Monika, I may have the wrong impression about the alignment distribution.  I guess I just wanted to clear up my 'impression' by posting the literature that I had followed.  In addition, the book did not allow for further explanation as to how to achieve a precise alignment distribution between each point and the anchor point.

If I am under the wrong impression, I will take the advice to just mirror it.

The excerpt from Chapter 2 that I was trying to consult in relation to the book's reference made in Chapter 5 is the yellowish box located above.  I was trying to make the fourth bullet applicable- and I think I might just be trying too hard.  This misconception might just be my attempt to make something work that is just not capable with the software.

If anyone has any further advice or comment, I'd still love to hear from all parties.  From here, as I have stated, I will just assume to achieve the task taking the "symmetrical - mirror" approach.  Thanks again!

• ###### 9. Re: How to distribute equal spacing with anchor points?

This video might be helpful though it might behave differently than you expect this is how it works…

• ###### 10. Re: How to distribute equal spacing with anchor points?

That link is not working this should work

• ###### 11. Re: How to distribute equal spacing with anchor points?

It looks to me as if the example you posted (#6) shows precisely how not to do things. The botch-and-fudge method.

Mirror reflect copy is really the only way to go if you need to ensure that your shape is truly symmetrical.

• ###### 12. Re: How to distribute equal spacing with anchor points?

csnpreggers,

If anyone has any further advice or comment, I'd still love to hear from all parties.

Especially when working with a finished symmetrical shape, such as a violin, which may have been created using mirroring, in other words elaborating on a shape, possibly with something unforeseen in the first round, and especially when it is inconvenient to cut paths to work with one half, you may use the instructions in small print using invisible ink at the bottom of item 3 in lesson 5:

2 tips, using the Line Tool and Smart Guides:

To make sure the left Anchor Point has the same same distance from the bottom Anchor Point, first ShiftDrag horizontally with the Line Segment Tool from the right Anchor Point to cross the path, then select the violin path and click it with the Add Anchor Point Tool where Smart Guides say intersect.

Or to place both Anchor Points at the same time instead, first create a sufficiently long horizontal path with the Line Segment Tool below the violin path, then ShiftDrag it upwards to cross the violin path at the desired distances, then select the violin path and click it with the Add Anchor Point Tool where Smart Guides say intersect, both right and left.

• ###### 13. Re: How to distribute equal spacing with anchor points?

...am having a problem selecting the 2 anchor points to distribute equal space based on the bottom center anchor point...Can anyone explain how to distribute this equal spacing of 2 anchors relative to one anchor point?

To horizontally center the bottom anchorPoint between the two adjacent anchorPoints:

1. White pointer: Select all three anchorPoints involved.

2. Align palette flyout menu: Show Options (to display the Distribute options at the bottom of the palette).

3. Make sure Align to Artboard is not on.

4. Make sure Distribute Spacing is set to Auto, not to a value.

5. Click the Horizontal Distribute Space button.

JET

• ###### 14. Re: How to distribute equal spacing with anchor points?

I didn't read the whole thread so it might have been mentioned already but the distribution works precisely only on straight lines. For curved lines, I usually select the segment  where I want a point in the middle, cut the segment, paste in front, add  anchor point using the Object>Path menu, and then join the segment to the rest.

I use a 3D program which works with curves and can insert any number of points distributed equally between selected points, among other things it also allows dragging a point along the path and displaying the length of the curve from its start to the point. I'm missing this when using Illustrator and whish it had these features too.

• ###### 15. Re: How to distribute equal spacing with anchor points?

JETalmage wrote:

4. Make sure Distribute Spacing is set to Auto, not to a value.

Mac 10.6.8, Illy CS5.1: The Auto setting does not exist in my Align Panel. It's there in CS3, but not 5.1. I've restarted, rebooted, deleted preferences, repaired permissions, checked for corrupt fonts. Suggestions?

• ###### 16. Re: How to distribute equal spacing with anchor points?

Distributing anchorPoints:

JET

• ###### 17. Re: How to distribute equal spacing with anchor points?

James,

I can see that Distribute Spacing has changed after 10, to also work on Anchor Points in addition to Objects (at least until Kurt can make me see otherwise).

Two questions:

1) Can you click the centre Anchor Point as key to keep it in place and have the other two (re)Distribute on either side, and if so, which spacing is applied relative to the original spacings (in 10, with Objects, Auto > 0 and the two are pulled to touch the centre one)?

2) Can you (re)Distribute the Anchor Points horizontally without changing the shape of the violin path, implying a rather intricate underlying calculation (the shape of the rather simple path in post #16 is obviously changed)?

• ###### 18. Re: How to distribute equal spacing with anchor points?

1) Can you click the centre Anchor Point as key

If you select the anchorPoints all at once, the Auto setting can be used to distribute the spacing between the outermost anchorPoints. If you select the anchorPoints sequentially, the last anchor you select becomes the key. If the spacing value is set to Auto when you do this, the setting of course auto-resets to zero (effectively aligning, not distributing). But if you enter a spacing value, the other anchors will be spaced from the key anchor.

2) Can you (re)Distribute the Anchor Points horizontally without changing the shape of the violin path.

C'mon...are you kidding?!

Aligning anchorPoints arrived in CS3, by the way. Visible highlighting of key objects was added either CS4 or CS5; don't recall for sure.

JET

• ###### 19. Re: How to distribute equal spacing with anchor points?

The same here, Peter.

Beyond that, the input field is terribly small.

• ###### 20. Re: How to distribute equal spacing with anchor points?

C'mon...are you kidding?!

Now this is rather difficult to deny convincingly.

But the question merely reflects what seems to be the assumption/claim in Lesson 5, shown in post #6 and forming the actual basis of the OP.

• ###### 21. Re: How to distribute equal spacing with anchor points?

tromboniator wrote:

Mac 10.6.8, Illy CS5.1: The Auto setting does not exist in my Align Panel.

If you don't enter anything (and don't select a key object), it's Auto. In CS3 "0mm" (or whatever unit) was default. This always triggered an error n case you didn't select a key object or didn't remember to select "Auto". Guess that's why it was changed.

• ###### 22. Re: How to distribute equal spacing with anchor points?

Never mind. I see that it behaves "Auto" if there is no key object/anchor point selected, even though it doesn't say so.

• ###### 23. Re: How to distribute equal spacing with anchor points?

Here's how I did it.

I pasted a path in from Illustrator.

The motion keyframes are evenly distributed (and roving) so (a) the motion is even; and (b) I can stretch it to the length that I want without messing with the evenness of the motion.

Since I had six keyframes I wanted evenly spaced at two second intervals, I stretched the path out to twelveseconds.

Then I scrubbed to intervals 2, 4, 8, and 10.

At each one of those intervals I inserted a motion keyframe (which screwed up the path).  I then used the convert vertex tool to unscrew it up.

I didn't put a motion keyframe at 6 seconds because there was already a roving keyframe there.

I then used the layer marker tool to mark the two second intervals for my easy reference.

If you've discovered an easier (or more scalable) way to do it, I'd love to hear.