A Whole Lotta Changes Goin' On - The Transform Each Command in Illustrator

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Illustrator Transform Each Command: Introduction

transform each dialog
An often overlooked feature of Illustrator is Transform Each. Transform Each allows you to perform several transformations at the same time. This week we'll take a look at this command and see how it can save you time and make your work more efficient in Illustrator.

You can find the command at Object > Transform > Transform Each. The diagram in the red circle is the point of origin: this is the point around which the transformations will be created. Make sure this is set to center for now by clicking the small box in the center of the diagram. It probably is, unless you have changed it, because center is the default. As you can see from the dialog, you can make several transformations from this dialog: you can scale, move, rotate or reflect, one transformation at a time or as many as you wish. There is also a copy button to allow you to apply the transformations at the same time you make a copy.

02
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Illustrator Transform Each Command: Putting it into Practice

25 point star
Let's use the Transform Each command to make a quick flower shape. Activate the star tool and set the options to: Radius 1: 100; Radius 2: 80, Points: 25. Click OK to create the star and fill the shape with a solid color. Mine is gold and the stroke is a medium brown.
03
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Illustrator Transform Each Command: Duplicate

duplicated
Make sure the start is selected, and go to Object > Transform > Transform Each.
Set these options:
  • Scale: 90% horizontal and 90% vertical
  • Move: 0% horizontal and 0% vertical
  • Rotate: 20 degrees
  • Click the copy button.
04
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Illustrator Transform Each Command: Duplicate 8 Times

duplicated 8 times
You should have a second copy of the star shape on top of the first, and the new copy should be selected. Without deselecting, hit command/control +D to duplicate the effects 8 times. You will get a nice flower effect very fast, like the one on the left above. You could add a center to this for a fast stylized flower. The one on the right was duplicated 30 times.
05
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Illustrator Transform Each Command: Gradient

gradient
For a variation, create another star with the same settings, but do not add a stroke. Fill this one with a gradient. Repeat the Transform Each command using the same settings as before. This one was made with the Magenta, Yellow gradient that comes with Illustrator CS in the Color Combinations gradient library. To load it, open the Swatches palette options menu and choose Open Swatch Library > Other Library. When the Finder (or Explorer if you are using Windows) opens, choose Presets > Gradients > Color Combinations.ai. After you apply the gradient, open the Gradient palette and change the gradient type from "Linear" to "Radial".
06
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Illustrator Transform Each Command: Variations

transform
Use a custom radial gradient, and try another one. Vary the number of points on the star (the one above has 20 points) and the angle and number of duplications for a different look, and you can make a whole bouquet in a few minutes.
07
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Illustrator Transform Each Command: Other Uses for Transform Each

dots

That is not the only use for the Transform Each command, however! You can use this command to evenly space objects across an area or the page. Show the ruler (cmd/ctrl + R) and ctrl-click (Mac) or right-click (PC) and choose Pixels to change the unit of measurement to pixels.

Draw a circle and open the Transform Each dialog. My circle is 15 pixels across. Give it a fill color and a stroke if you want. Mine is red, without a stroke. With the circle selected, open the transform each dialog again. Use the following settings and click the copy button:

  • Scale: Horizontal 100%; Vertical 100%
  • Move: Horizontal 30 px; Vertical: 0 px. These settings will depend on the size of your circle; my circle is 15 pixels, so I used 30 pixels for the Horizontal measurement
  • Rotate 0º
  • Uncheck: Reflect X, Reflect Y, and Random. Check Preview if you want.
  • Click the center of the to set the point of origin at the center.

Now you should have two circles. Note: Using cmd/ctrl + D at this point would copy the circle at the same distance as many times as you type the command. Use this if you just want a row of dots (or any other object).

08
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Illustrator Transform Each Command: Other Uses for Transform Each (Continued)

pattern
Select both circles and open the Transform Each dialog. Use the following settings to make a second group of two circles below the first.
  • Scale: Horizontal 100%; Vertical 100%
  • Move: Horizontal 15 px; Vertical: -15 px. These settings will again depend on the size of your circle; my circle is 15 pixels, so I used 15) for the Horizontal measurement and -15 for the Vertical distance to move down 15 pixels
  • Rotate 0º
  • Uncheck: Reflect X, Reflect Y, and Random
  • Click the center of the to set the point of origin at the center, and click the Copy button to create two new dots offset below the first row.

Select the two bottom circles and change their color, then select all four circles and drag them to the Swatches palette and drop them in to save them as a pattern swatch.

09
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Illustrator Transform Each Command: Other Uses for Transform Each (Continued)

scale the pattern
Use as a pattern fill for any object or text. If the pattern is too large (or small) for the object you are filling, you can scale the pattern. Double click the scale tool in the toolbox and in the Scale dialog, check Uniform and fill in the percentage you want to scale the pattern. In the Options section, check ONLY the Patterns box and click OK.

This is the basics on the Transform Each command. To really understand it, the best thing you can do is to experiment with all the settings. Happy transforming!

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Your Citation
Froehlich, Sara, Contributor. "A Whole Lotta Changes Goin' On - The Transform Each Command in Illustrator." ThoughtCo, Mar. 3, 2017, thoughtco.com/transform-each-command-in-adobe-illustrator-1701849. Froehlich, Sara, Contributor. (2017, March 3). A Whole Lotta Changes Goin' On - The Transform Each Command in Illustrator. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/transform-each-command-in-adobe-illustrator-1701849 Froehlich, Sara, Contributor. "A Whole Lotta Changes Goin' On - The Transform Each Command in Illustrator." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/transform-each-command-in-adobe-illustrator-1701849 (accessed January 20, 2018).