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Aligning Independent Objects to a Curved Path or Circle

New Here ,
Dec 11, 2018 Dec 11, 2018

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Hi,

Need some help.

I want to align various different shapes around a circle evenly.
I DO NOT want to create a blend of these objects. They're each individual shapes and I want to keep them that way.

Is this possible?

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Participant , Dec 11, 2018 Dec 11, 2018

Hi!

I am going to assume all your objects are designs in all different sizes and shapes, right?

I will refer to them as 'designs' from now on.

And I will also assume you want to place them all around a circle.

1. Create a symbol (just read on, you'll see why)

Create a square the size of the biggest of your designs.

Then create a symbol from it. I know, you don't want to use a square, but wait, i am not done.

2. Create a circle

Next, create that circle.

Place an instance of the 'Rectangle' symbol you just

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Community Expert ,
Dec 11, 2018 Dec 11, 2018

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Advocate ,
Dec 11, 2018 Dec 11, 2018

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-You could select all of your objects and evenly distribute the alignment to your liking.

-Next, create a pattern brush.

-Apply the brush to your circle.

- If you need to, you can edit the pattern brush to adjust the spacing between the objects to your liking.

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Community Expert ,
Dec 11, 2018 Dec 11, 2018

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When I need to do that, I rotate a simple object (a star, perhaps, or another circle) from the center of the circle.

  • Select the star (which is positioned where you want it on the circle) > select the rotate tool > option + click the center of the circle to open the rotate dialog and position the pivot point
  • In the Rotate dialog box, type 360 divided by the number of shapes, maybe 360/7 or 360/13 to let Illustrator do the math on the rotation angle > Ok
  • Cmd + D to repeat the transformation as many times as is necessary
  • Replace the shape with the real object. For precision, align centers of one star with one object, using the star as the key object.

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Participant ,
Dec 11, 2018 Dec 11, 2018

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Hi!

I am going to assume all your objects are designs in all different sizes and shapes, right?

I will refer to them as 'designs' from now on.

And I will also assume you want to place them all around a circle.

1. Create a symbol (just read on, you'll see why)

Create a square the size of the biggest of your designs.

Then create a symbol from it. I know, you don't want to use a square, but wait, i am not done.

2. Create a circle

Next, create that circle.

Place an instance of the 'Rectangle' symbol you just created on top of the circles' topmost point.

Select circle and instance and align them horizontally.

3. Add guides

Place two guides, one horizontal through the circle's centre.

The other one is vertical, through the circle's centre as well.

So now you have a cross hair in the middle of the circle. The vertical one also goes through the centre of the instance of the symbol, right?

4. Rotating

Select the instance.

Next, type 'r' to activate the 'Rotate' tool.

Then click on the crosshair, where the two guides cross.

Rotate the instance as much as you need around the centre point of the circle. If you need a straight angle you can hold 'Shift'. The rectangle will be rotated 45 or 90 degrees.

To create a copy while you rotate, simply add the 'Alt' key. This means you hold both 'Shift' and 'Alt' while you rotate.

Release the mouse first, and the keys last.

You now have a copy that is rotated over the amount of degrees of your choice, and with the centre of the circle for reference.

Hit 'Ctrl-d' to repeat this step: you now have three instances. Continue until you have enough.

If you need really special angles you can use a radial grid.

5. Fun!

Then comes the fun part.

Create a symbol from each of your special designs, the ones you want to rotate around the circle.

Next, select the first 'rectangle' instance you want to change into one of your own shapes.

Go to the 'Symbols' panel.

Select the symbol you want to use instead of that rectangle.

Click on the 'Symbols' panel top right arrows to open the menu.

In the menu, choose 'Replace Symbol'.

The rectangle is now replaced with your special design AND the rotation is respected.

I hope this helps!

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New Here ,
Dec 11, 2018 Dec 11, 2018

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This was a good solution. I didn't replicate it exactly, but with a bit of modification it'll work perfectly for me! Thank you!

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Community Expert ,
Dec 11, 2018 Dec 11, 2018

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Michael,

I believe the 1 step fake blend may come in as an accurate but simple alternative.

0) Cut the circle where you wish to have the centre of (the (Bounding Box of) one of the objects (called the first one);

1) Place all the shapes with equal spacing (or distribution, whichever is preferable) horizontally, with a copy of the first one as the last one;

2) Object>Blend>Blend Options, set Spacing>Specified Steps = 1, and Orientation>Align to Path;

3) Object>Blend>Make (shuddering over the the intermediary funny shapes is optional);

4) ShiftSelect the circle and Object>Blend>Replace Spine;

5) Object>Blend>Expand, then Direct Select the intermediary funny shapes and delete them (you may hold hold Alt/Option to delete in one go, and you may hold Shift to select and delete all in one go).

This will give you the desired distribution of your shapes as a Group (or in 5) you may Ungroup and just Select the funnies and have the shapes ungrouped).

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Participant ,
Dec 11, 2018 Dec 11, 2018

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@michael61432708: glad to help!

The beauty is that the symbols will keep even spacing because the rectangle is as wide as the widest of your designs. Works like a charm.

I also really like using that polar grid (I remove the concentric circles to create a fine grid. I even used it for perfect degrees it seems such a boring tool but I would be sad if it ever left Illustrator!

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New Here ,
Feb 06, 2023 Feb 06, 2023

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Just did this by creating a new font using the shapes and then typing it on a path. Your objects don't have to be letters, you'll just have to assign a letter or glyph so you can type them. You can make whatever shape you want! HIGHLY suggest Fontself Maker (https://www.fontself.com/), it's 100% worth the cost.

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