A bit puzzled today, I am following this tutorial on creating a Mandala in Illustrator which uses the principles of locked layers and Transform Copies, it's been generally working great, however I notice some strange misalignments and I am unable to achieve 100% mathematical accuracy.

The ellipse is not sliced on an angle perfectly on the right like it is on the left. The ellipse is aligned horizontally and the Align To is set to Artboard.

Any ideas what's going on here?

enter image description here

This then starts to create a bigger knock on effect as it transforms around the guides. enter image description here

My angle is 60° and my Copies is 5 as corresponding in the video. enter image description here

  • have you checked the Align to pixels / Align to grid View options? are they active?
    – Luciano
    Commented Oct 22, 2018 at 13:50
  • 1
    Hard to tell what's wrong without having access to the document. Could it be related to stroke width?
    – Wolff
    Commented Oct 22, 2018 at 16:12
  • I don't know if it is the case, but Illustrator traditionally was not very exact when snaping objects.
    – Rafael
    Commented Nov 21, 2018 at 21:24
  • Is your rotation pivot directly in the center?
    – curious
    Commented Dec 17, 2019 at 3:30

1 Answer 1


A 1 or 2 pt difference in the guide placement will show variation compared to the Effect.

The Effect, being automated and based upon the artwork bounds, is accurate, your guides are inaccurate or fail to take in the bounds of the artwork - meaning the paths without a stroke may meet your guides. However, the effect uses the preview bounds of objects, not spines. So a 1pt stroke means the effect is adding 1/2pt to either side of the artwork therefore changing final placement of copies.

You might try constructing the skeleton in Outine Mode (View > Outline Mode) without any appearance attributes (fills/strokes) applied to the actual paths. You may find the skeleton construction is more accurate this way.

  • either i dont get it or its just plain wrong somehow. Cant decide
    – joojaa
    Commented Oct 22, 2018 at 19:08
  • 1
    @joojaa the guides may be constructed based on absolutes of spines. But the effect uses the relative bounds on the preview image. It's also not impossible that the guides themselves are positions a point or two off. Or the object alignment with the center rotation point is 1 or 2 pts off. Basically the Effect is always accurate in it's math, was my point.
    – Scott
    Commented Oct 22, 2018 at 19:13

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