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The Basic Steps

Here, you will learn how to create a horizontally mirrored shape. (The same thing can be achieved mirroring vertically, but it just confuses the discussion.)

  1. Create a new image.

  2. Introduce a guide as a center line by dragging the guide out from the ruler. To make a shape that is mirrored horizontally (or across a vertical axis), drag the guide out from the ruler at left.

  3. NOTE

    You have to have Show, Guides turned on to see the guides. Rulers have to be visible to create these guides. Pressing the (Opt)[ALT] key while dragging will change the orientation of a guide from horizontal to vertical or vice versa; so technically, the guide can be dragged out from either ruler.

  4. Draw half the shape that you want to mirror (see Figure 2). Mirrored shapes can be perfect halves drawn all to one side of the mirroring line (such as the arrow example in Figure 1), or they can contain some overlap (such as the tailpiece example in Figure 1).

  5. Figure 2

    The left half of this heart will be mirrored to create the right half, so the two sides are perfect mirrors.

  6. When the path is complete, select the whole side with the Component Selection tool. If the path is complex (more than just a single closed path), you may want to group paths using the Combine command before the next step. This can make complex sets easier to handle.

  7. WARNING

    Be sure that all paths are closed before combining, or you may get some unexpected results.

  8. Copy the selected path.

  9. Paste. This will duplicate the path in exactly the same spot—you will not see the difference onscreen until you move the path.

  10. Flip the duplicate (use the Transform Path Scale function and change the H [height] or W [width] setting to -100, or choose Flip Horizontal or Flip Vertical from the Transform Path menu).

  11. NOTE

    The input values on the Options bar, and Flip Vertical and Flip Horizontal on the menu are available only after selecting one of the basic Transform Path functions.

  12. Use the center line to snap the duplicated part into alignment as a continuation of the other half. This does not have to be perfectly aligned at this point.

  13. Figure 3

    This step need only roughly align the two halves side-to-side. The next step (step 9) will take care of the vertical alignment.

  14. Select the two halves of the shape with the Component Selection tool, and use Align on Center to align the halves vertically.

  15. NOTE

    Top and bottom alignments work just as well in this case; they would just use different reference points for the result.

  16. Combine the paths into a single shape by clicking Combine on the Options bar.

  17. Figure 4

    With the two halves perfectly aligned and combined, the shape is now a perfect whole, and it is ready to be used or stored.

  18. Choose Define Custom Shape from the Edit menu. This will open the Shape Name dialog box, which contains a preview of the shape and will allow you to change the name. Selecting [OK] stores the shape in the currently open shape set.

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