Useful Tips

Mirroring in Adobe Illustrator

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I'm trying to create a custom arrowhead in illustrator CC but can't seem to find out how.

I am trying to create my own arrow in CC illustrator, but I can’t figure out how to do it.

Created Oct 04 14 2014-10-04 14:51:30 user2898276

Welcome to GD. You would get better answers from the community if you show effort and what you have tried. We will try to help you as best as we can but at this moment it would appear you're asking for a tutorial. - DᴀʀᴛʜVᴀᴅᴇʀ 04 Oct 14 2014-10-04 15:19:14

For what it's worth, this seems like a perfectly reasonable question to me. I've used Illustrator professionally since before arrowheads were introduced, and I've always wondered if / how you can make custom ones. - aaaidan Nov 12. 15 2015-11-12 04:38:55

Here is an Adobe Illustrator Help file that gives a method for adding custom arrowheads to Illustrator CC:

Look at the end of the file, in the section "Customize arrowheads" where it says:

To define custom arrowheads, open the Arrowheads.ai file, which is located under ShowPackageContent Required Resources (for Mac) and Support Files Required Resources (for Windows). Follow the instructions in the file to create custom arrowheads.

Place the updated Arrowheads.ai file at: Plug-ins and avoid replacing the existing Arrowheads.ai file.

The "tv.adobe.com" link given above is not relevant, it tells you how to make a pattern-brush arrow, but those don't behave like real arrows.

Created Nov 03 14 2014-11-03 18:19:52 Margot

Hi Margot, and welcome to GD.SE! Thanks for your answer. Do you think you can include some more info in here, in case the link goes down? - Yisela Nov 03. 14 2014-11-03 18:41:53

The missing piece here: once edited, you have to create a new symbol definition (Window> Symbols> New). - Jens Piegsa Jun 10 16 2016-06-10 10:23:38

Creating a template for mirror painting

Open Adobe Illustrator and create a new document (File> New). The dimensions of the workspace and the color mode of the new document depend only on your preferences. Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a rectangle. no fillwhose dimensions are larger than the dimensions of the workspace. The stroke color of this rectangle has absolutely no meaning.

Turn on the Rulers (Command / Ctrl + R) and create a horizontal and vertical guide by dragging them from the corresponding rulers. Guides should go through the center of the created rectangle.

Creating guides is not necessary, they simply indicate the position of the axes of symmetry. That is, we created them for convenience.

Create an arbitrary object on the workspace. I created an arrow to indicate the direction of the path.

Select the entire layer in the Layer panel.

Now go to Effect> Distort & Transform> Transform ... and in the dialog box that opens, specify the axis of symmetry and the number of copies equal to 1. For visual control of what is happening, select the Preview option and click OK.

The template is ready, you can start drawing.

Mirror painting

Turn off the visibility of the created object (in my case it is an arrow) in the Layers panel.

Now take any of the drawing tools, for example the Paint Brush Tool (B) and create a path.

As you can see, we got instantaneous symmetry about the horizontal axis. In this case, you can draw on both sides of the axis of symmetry.

Unfortunately, this method has two drawbacks, of which I, of course, should warn you. When crossing the axis of symmetry, the connection of the created path and its mirror copy does not occur.

That is, the created path exists on both sides of the axis of symmetry. This must be taken into account and try not to cross the axis of symmetry, unless, of course, this is part of your plans.

Also, you should not cross the borders of the rectangle created in the first step and draw beyond its borders, as this will violate the entire symmetry system. That is why we created a rectangle larger than our workspace.

Pattern customization for mirror painting

You can always reconfigure the template. To do this, select the template layer and click on the Transform effect in the Appearance panel (Window> Appearance), which will open a dialog box with the effect parameters.

For example, you can change the axis of symmetry.

You can even set several axes of symmetry by selecting the Reflect X, Reflect Y options at the same time and setting the required number of copies and rotation angle.

Only in this case, in addition to symmetry, we also get a rotation about the point of intersection of the axes.

Finishing Mirror Painting

Now let's draw something. I created an abstract pattern in the style of Freehand Pinstriping.

When the drawing is finished, select the entire layer, then go to Object> Expand Appearance. Mirroring materialized in the form of ordinary vector objects.

Auxiliary elements in the form of arrows and rectangles can now be deleted. The final work looks like this:

Today I told you about how to mirror using standard Adobe Illustrator features. Maybe this way seemed to you uncomfortable and having some limitations. I want to note that this is not the only way to mirror painting. The MirrorMe plugin has recently appeared for instant symmetry in Adobe Illustrator, which is much more convenient to use and has more features.

Drawing straight lines

To draw a single straight line segment, use the Line Line tool. For a tutorial with a demo of the Line Line tool, see Using the Line Line Tool.

Select the Line Line tool.

Perform one of the following actions:

Place the pointer at the point where the line should begin, and drag it to the end point.

Click where you want the line to start. In the dialog box, specify the length and angle of the line. To color the line in the current fill color, select the option Color the line to fill color. Then click OK.

Drawing arcs

Press and hold the Line Segment tool (). Select the Arc tool.

Perform one of the following actions:

Place the pointer at the point where the arc should begin, and drag it to the end point.

Click where you want the arc to begin. To determine the point from which the arc will be drawn, click in the dialog box a small square on the fixed point locator. After that, set any of the following parameters and click OK.

X-axis length. Defines the width of the arc.

Y-axis length. Defines the height of the arc.

Type of. Determines whether this object will be closed or open.

Along. Defines the direction of the arc. Select “X axis” or “Y axis” depending on which axis the arc base should be located along: horizontal (x) or vertical (y).

Tilt: determines the direction of tilt of the arc. To get a concave arc, enter a negative value. To get a curved arc, enter a positive value. At zero slope, a straight line is obtained.

Paint the arc in the fill color. The arc is painted in the current fill color.

Note. To view the arc dynamically as you enter parameters, double-click the Arc tool in the Tools panel.

For a video on how to use the tools to draw shapes, see Drawing basic shapes.

Spiral drawing

Press and hold the Line Segment tool (). Select the Spiral Tool.

Perform one of the following actions:

Drag until you get the spiral you want. To rotate the spiral, drag the pointer in the arc.

Click where you want the spiral to start. In the dialog box, specify any of the following options and click OK.

Radius. Determines the distance from the center to the furthest point in the spiral.

Growth. Defines the amount by which each coil of the spiral will decrease compared to the previous coil.

The number of segments. Defines the number of segments in a spiral. Each complete coil of the spiral consists of four segments.

Style. Determines the direction of the spiral.

For a video on how to use the tools to draw shapes, see Drawing basic shapes.

Drawing grids

Grid tools are used to quickly draw rectangular and polar grids. The Rectangular Mesh tool creates rectangular meshes of a given size with a given number of delimiters. The Polar Grid tool creates concentric circles of a given size with a given number of dividers.

Drawing rectangular grids

Press and hold the Line Segment tool (). Select the Rectangular Mesh tool.

Perform one of the following actions:

Drag until you get the mesh you want.

Click to set a fixed grid point. To determine the point from which the grid will be drawn, click in the dialog box a small square on the locator of a fixed point. After that, set any of the following parameters and click OK.

The default size. Defines the width and height of the entire grid.

Horizontal dividers. Defines the number of horizontal dividers between the top and bottom edges of the grid. The value "Asymmetric" allows you to distribute horizontal dividers unevenly with an increase in their frequency towards the upper or lower edge of the grid.

Vertical dividers. Defines the number of vertical dividers between the left and right edges of the grid. The value "Asymmetric" allows you to distribute the vertical dividers unevenly with an increase in their frequency towards the left or right edge of the grid.

Use an external rectangle as a frame. Replaces the top, bottom, left, and right segments with a separate rectangular object.

Paint the grid in fill color. The grid is painted in the current fill color (otherwise, the fill is not set).

Drawing circular (polar) grids

Press and hold the Line Segment tool (). Select the Polar Grid tool.

Perform one of the following actions:

Drag until you get the mesh you want.

Click to set a fixed grid point. To determine the point from which the grid will be drawn, click in the dialog box a small square on the locator of a fixed point. After that, set any of the following parameters and click OK.

The default size. Defines the width and height of the entire grid.

Concentric dividers. Defines the number of circular concentric dividers in the grid. The value "Asymmetric" allows you to distribute concentric dividers unevenly with an increase in their frequency towards the inner or outer part of the grid.

Radial dividers. Defines the number of radial dividers between the center and the peripheral part of the grid. The value "Asymmetric" allows you to distribute the radial dividers unevenly with an increase in their frequency clockwise or counterclockwise.

Create a compound contour based on ellipses. Converts concentric circles to separate compound paths and adds fill to them through one.

Paint the grid in fill color. The grid is painted in the current fill color (otherwise, the fill is not set).

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