I would like to know if there’s the possibility to move and modify (lines/edges) of a shape not using the axies of the document/artwork but the axies of the shape/edges itself in Adobe Illustrator.

I mean something similar that happens for the 3d object in the 3d environment.

For example, in the image below I would like to move/edit the object using the gray axies. For a regular shape like a square is possible edit using gray axies but isn't the same for others shapes.

enter image description here

Here an example of how it works with a 3d object.

enter image description here


  • Sure, its a bit cumbersome, so usually its easier to make a line and slide against that. Mainly because adjusting the direction is hidden under settings and making a tangent line is a 3 click combo that is easily recorded as action at the same time you get opportunities for a very accurate move. – joojaa Nov 6 at 14:34

Unfortunately, Illustrator has no real 3D structure to speak of. Much of the time trying to mimic what is so basic in a 3D app is overly convoluted and troublesome in Illustrator.

There may be third-party plugins which might help, such as the Protractor Panel -- which is part of VectorScribe from AstuteGraphics.com -- or CadTools from HotDoor.com. Whether or not these will assist with your needs, only you can determine. There are free trials available.

Barring plug-ins, this comes down to adjusting the Constrain Angle in the Preferences then resetting it. (The Protractor Panel, mentioned previously, simply adds a UI panel for this preference setting, making it more accessible.)

I'd hazard a guess that most users merely adapt and learn to move paths carefully -- which can be done easily with the Direct Selection Tool (white arrow). Unfortunately, Illustrator contains no inherent constraining to random angles on the fly.

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  • alt linetool type select drag delete line – joojaa Nov 6 at 16:42
  • Yes, that works too... Just pointing out that there may be workarounds.. but it's not an inherent thing like in 3D apps. – Scott Nov 6 at 16:43
  • i often wondered about the fact that 2D apps deliberately chose to hide the transformations of object hierarchies. Anyway 3D apps need these gizmos to get anything effectively done. – joojaa Nov 6 at 16:45
  • This, in particular, has always annoyed me about Illustrator. There's no logical reason I can think of as to why AI can't merely constrain to an angle. – Scott Nov 6 at 16:55
  • it seems to be a paradigm thing since 2D anything seem to have same problem – joojaa Nov 6 at 21:36

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