Creating Objects Using Basic Geometric Shapes in Adobe Illustrator


Topic: Adobe Illustrator
Difficulty: beginner
Estimated completion time: 10 minutes

The shape of most objects represents a combination of simple geometric shapes. Therefore it is very important to learn how to work effectively with the tools that create such objects. This is what we are going to talk about today.

Creating simple geometric shapes

At the beginning of this article I want to show you some user interfaces, which shapes I have created only using simple geometric shapes.

Let’s proceed. The tools we are interested in are in the same group with the Rectangle Tool (M).

Take one of them, Ellipse Tool (L). This tool is designed to create circles and ellipses. All that will be said about working with this tool, it is also good for other tools in this group. Click on the artboard, and without releasing the mouse button, drag the tool pointer diagonally.

Release the button when we see the desired shape of the ellipse. Ellipse sizes were changing from the point of the first click towards the direction of the cursor. The corner of the bounding box is located at the point of the first click. In practice it is often necessary to fix the center of the created shape, rather than the corner of the bounding box. To get the size of the ellipse or other figure change from its center hold down Option / Alt while creating shapes.

If you need to create a circle or other shape with the same height and width, such as a square for example, hold down Shift while creating the shape.

To create a circle with the center at the first click hold down the Option / Alt and Shift buttons.
There are times when you know the sizes and other parameters of the created shape, for example, when you create App icons. Double click on the tool icon on the toolbar opens a dialog box with the parameters of the object.

Key in the appropriate values, and click on OK.

You are able to control some of the parameters of shape when it is being created using the arrow keys. For example, when creating a Rounded Rectangle pressing the Up Arrow key increases the rounding radius of its corners. Pressing the Down Arrow decreases the rounding radius of its corners.

Actions with these keys while creating the polygons using the Polygon Tool will lead to an increase and decrease of the sides of the shape.

Editing the created objects

After creating the shape, it can be edited. Selection Tool (V) is designed to change the width and height of objects. After selecting this tool the bounding box becomes active, which has square-shaped markers. These are the controls.

Dragging these markers, you can change the size and shape of the object.

If you want to change the sizes of an object without changing its shape (i.e., the height and width of the object will change proportionally), hold down the Shift key while moving the marker.

In order not to displace the object during the transformation, hold Shift + Option / Alt.

To rotate the object, point the tool pointer to one of the corner markers. At the same time the shape of the pointer should become a double-ended arrow, then rotate.

The size and position of objects can also be changed with the help of two panels. After selecting an object in the Control panel there will appear numeric fields with its coordinates, width and height. You can link the size of the object with the help of a chain icon between the numerical parameters of the width and height.

In this case, the sizes of the object will change proportionally after entering a new value in one of the fields.
Arithmetic operations can be performed in the numerical fields. For the equal sign press the button Turn / Enter or click anywhere in the current document.

Transform panel has the same options (Window > Transform).

By the way, if you are missing any panel in your Workspace, you can always find and open it from the Window menu. You can edit individual points of the object. Direct Selection Tool (A) is intended for these purposes.

To change the type of the point, use the Convert Anchor Point Tool, or Convert buttons on the Control panel.

In the next article you will learn about the other same important ways of transforming objects.

Iaroslav Lazunov

My name is Iaroslav Lazunov, I am a graphic designer from Ukraine. I am glad that I finally found the job in my life that I can share my knowledge and experiments with you in my tutorials. Follow me on Twitter or Facebook and visit my blog Vectorboom.

Posts by Iaroslav Lazunov
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