Warping Objects with Envelope Distort
Warping is a technique that allows you to squeeze and stretch different areas of an object. You can distort selected shapes, paths, text objects, and placed bitmap graphics by repositioning points along the overlying warp grid with the Direct Selection tool. Expression Design also allows you to control the amount of points contained within the grid. You can edit the shape of the object, or any of its applied attributes, in a separate window.
Let’s give it a try:
- Select any path, shape, or text object in the document (see Figure 9). You also can select multiple objects or grouped objects.
- Choose Object > Envelope Distort > Make Warp Group (see Figure 10).
- Expression Design displays a grid (also called a mesh) over the object, as shown in Figure 11. You can select individual points in the grid by clicking them with the Direct Selection tool. Shift-click or draw a marquee to select multiple points.
- Reposition the grid points by using the Direct Selection tool (or Lasso
Selection tool) to warp the object, as shown in Figure 12.
You can reset the warp grid at any time. Expression Design allows you to revert the warp grid to its original state—that is, before any points were moved. To do so, select the warp group object and choose Object > Envelope Distort > Reset Grid.
Increasing or Decreasing Warp Grid Resolution
You can increase or decrease the number of points positioned within the warp grid:
- Adding points to the grid is referred to as increasing resolution. Increasing the number of points in the warp grid allows you to affect a much smaller area of the object when moving the points with the Direct Selection tool, thereby creating much more detailed warp effects.
- Removing points from the grid is referred to as decreasing resolution. Working with a smaller number of grid points allows you to warp larger areas of the object when moving a single point with the Direct Selection tool.
We’ll continue working with the warped objects from the previous example:
- Select any warp group object in the document (see Figure 13).
- Choose Object > Envelope Distort > Increase Resolution (or
Decrease Resolution), as shown in Figure 14. The Increase Resolution command
adds points to the warp grid (see Figure 15); Decrease Resolution removes
To reveal the warp grid for a placed bitmap graphic, you must apply the Increase Resolution command. As I mentioned earlier, it’s not necessary to apply the Make Warp Group command for a placed bitmap graphic. Simply apply the Increase Resolution command, and the overlying mesh will appear.
Editing Warp Group Objects
You can edit the shape of a warp group object, or change any of its applied attributes (such as fill or stroke color, any applied text attributes, or live effect settings) at anytime after the Make Warp Group command is applied. Expression Design then opens the warp group object in a separate document window, where you can edit the paths that make up the object. Use any of the path editing tools, or change any of the object’s applied attribute settings.
Follow these steps:
- Select any warp group object in the document (see Figure 16).
- Choose Object > Envelope Distort > Edit Warp Group (see Figure 17).
- Expression Design displays the unwarped object in a separate document window (see Figure 18). Edit the object using any of the path editing tools, such as the Pen toolset, Scissors, and Direct Selection tool. You also can edit any of the object’s applied attributes, such as fill, stroke, or live effect settings.
- Choose File > Close or click the window’s Close button in the Flip bar. Expression Design updates the warp group object in the document (see Figure 19).
Ungroup Warp Transformations
It’s possible to convert all edits made with the warp grid into Bézier points by applying the Ungroup command. However, be aware that applying this command makes editing the shape much more difficult. After ungrouping the warp group object, you can edit the object only by using the path editing tools, such as the Pen toolset, Scissors, and Direct Selection tool.
- Select any warp group object in the document (see Figure 20).
- Choose Arrange > Ungroup (see Figure 21). Expression Design removes the grid from the object but retains the warp effect. All shape edits made with the warp grid are converted into Bézier points (see Figure 22).
One of the most unique features about Expression Design is that you can revert a selected object to its original state, before any transformations were applied—not just those applied with Path Operations or Envelope Distort. Expression Design remembers how the object originally appeared even after you close the document.
- Use the Selection tool to select any path or shape that has been transformed (moved, scaled, rotated, flipped, or skewed).
- Choose Arrange > Transform > Reset Transform. Expression Design reverts the selected object to its original state.
Expression Design doesn’t allow you to reset transformations made to text objects; however, you can reset image fills that have been transformed using the Fill Transform tool.