I'm designing a template for product packaging. While designing, I'd like to have the layout as it would be printed out flat, but I'd also like to have different 'views' (front, back, bottom, etc) so that they can be easily show to other people.

I'd like to do this with a transform so that I won't accidentally have any differences between the layout and the views.

Here is what I'm trying to achieve: http://imgur.com/a/3Ponj#0

First I apply the transform effect to the "Original" (rotate, move horizontally and vertically) (image 2)

Then I add a compound clipping mask so that the "C" panel isn't shown in the view I just made (image 3)

So far so good. When I try to add another transform effect is where the problem arises (image 4)

As you can see, the second transform is including everything from the first transform. Is there a way around this? Or maybe a better way of doing what I'm trying to achieve? I am using AI CS5.5.


3 Answers 3


The Transform Effect only allows for the replication of the effect on all copies. THere's no way to create copies via the Transform Effect and then alter each copy independently.

A better solution....

Set up the first item and then drag it to the Symbol Panel. This will turn the layout into a symbol. Copy the symbol on the artboard and rotate it, mask it, scale it, etc.

If you then need to edit the original, simply double-click the symbol in the Symbol Panel. All edits will be reflected in all copies.


One way to do what you indicate in your link is to place the file as a linked file 2 (or 3) times in a second document, and apply clipping masks as needed. You edit the original document and then update the links in the second document. I haven't done this exact thing in Illustrator, so I am presuming the clipping mask will not need to be updated, but I am fairly certain that rotation, offset, and scaling settings will survive a link refresh of the same file.

AFAIK, Illustrator supports live links in this manner, as does InDesign (Photoshop does not).

I have used Illustrator to build up multiple versions of a logo with different components and wordings and even made contact sheets showing them all in a single sheet, all of it using linked files to simpler versions of components. The only thing I am not sure about is the clipping mask. I may have done it I just can't remember.

TLDNR; you set up a second document which is used for display purposes (not editing) and drop multiple links to the same file so they reflect the most recent edited version.


A series of Transforms on one object will not solve this, as you've discovered.

You only need one file but you will need to place a link to the file inside itself. Illustrator (and InDesign, iirc) will allow you to place a file inside itself as a link so you can skip the multiple files horatio mentions.

Once you've placed a self-replicating link, you can get all the transforms set up to your liking. Now you can go back to the original and view the transformed edits in almost realtime (every time you save).

In this set-up you may find a couple of things helpful:

  • Set up your transformed sample on a separate artboard so you can export it in isolation, if desired.

  • On your second monitor (a must, imho) you can set up the transformed objects in their own window and use your main monitor to work on the original.


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