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In my view, the usual center page alignment of most of objects that contains more that one shape make it look a bit unbalanced and unnatural.

For example, the first image below looks very bad, the second one is the usual alignment of the center screen of most software. As I said, the third one looks very natural to me because it is balanced according to the color area.

I wonder if there is any tools in CorelDraw or Adobe AI etc. that make it (area) mass-center align?

enter image description here

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  • Hi. How did you centre the one that you think looks natural to you?
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 0:00
  • By looking very carefully. First I center it by software, then shift it until it looks natural.
    – C.F.G
    Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 4:06
  • No toolset for this youd have to build the entire tool pipeline yourself
    – joojaa
    Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 7:17
  • @C.F.G then you have found your tool already - your own eyes and brain. I'm not aware of any automated tool that can visually centre something.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 8:04
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    Yeah, in illustrator the scripting layer has path length and area. You can also see it in the info documendt info window by adjusting what to see in the hamburger menu.
    – joojaa
    Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 8:59

2 Answers 2

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Illustrator, Inkscape, et. al., in general, won't "visually" center anything. They don't have the capability at this time.

Apps merely see the bounding area which contains the selected objects and then centers that bounding area.

The app isn't aware the right side of a selection may have more visual prominence than the left side of a selection. Apps merely see the outer boundaries.

So.. No. Apps won't center based on visual prominence. Such centering must be done manually.


There is a script for illustrator which purportedly calculates area: https://gist.github.com/bryanbuchanan/11387501
I haven't used this script personally and I make no endorsement, but it's worth a shot.

Chances are there are other similar scripts out there as well if one searches.


(Sidebar: Your "correct" image seems too low to me and needs to be bumped upward a bit - it's "sinking" basically.)

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  • I dont know adobe does this to some extent to fonts. So it probably could do this. But Illustrator is a direct modeller so id expect to see this in indesign much much earlier than illustrator
    – joojaa
    Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 7:22
  • Due to the start timing of Corel or AI on old computers, I draw them with MSPaint instead. I am agree with your "Sidebar".
    – C.F.G
    Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 8:02
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    @C.F.G -- Realize I posted they can't. And currently, for design software, that's true. I didn't post they couldn't. They certainly could if developers took the time to add such a tool. But as far as I'm aware, none of the more designer-oriented software packages will at this time. I'm sure if you moved to CAD or CNC tools (perhaps 3D as well) it's more of a possibility that software has the capability. -- I did edit and reworded a bit.
    – Scott
    Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 8:12
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    Not that I'm aware of @C.F.G I don't know Corel at all really. My expertise is Illustrator. There's nothing in Illustrator to measure area... there may be a script out there somewhere for such a thing though - I'm uncertain.
    – Scott
    Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 8:16
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    Actually SEE HERE for Illustrator. (Random Google search.) Note that the "secret programers object tree" was actually removed from Illustrator at some point, or hidden better. The shortcut detailed there may not work.
    – Scott
    Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 8:20
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Inkscape has extension which finds the center of mass of a single path (no group nor a selection of multiple shapes). If you find with it the common center of the mass of your cross and circle and move manually the parts so that the found center is in the middle of the rectangle or actually in the center of mass of the frame shape, the placements are the same that you seem to want in your written text.

The same extension measures also path lengths and areas.

To use that extension you must select the cross and circle and apply Path > Union. Then applying Extension > Visualize Path > Measure > Center of Mass inserts a plus sign to the center of mass as a separate item.

Group temporarily the plus sign to the union and move the group so that the plus sign is in the middle of the rectangle or actually at the center of the mass of your outermost frame shape.

I'm sure this amount of a work starts soon to feel wrong or at least unnecessary. If one is going to make reasonable good designs in reasonable time he must develop the confidence to place the items intuitively. In addition the center of mass -principle does not at all take into the account colors nor any other weight factors that people may use, perhaps unconsciously. An example:

In the next image the right side looks for me empty, no matter the center of mass of the united cross and circle is in the middle of the rectangle.

enter image description here

If you need some formal right placement rule it obviously must be much more complicated than the center of mass -idea above.

I would place the given cross-circle combination like this:

enter image description here

This assumes the cross-circle combination is fixed. If all three items could be moved freely or if I knew something of what the items present the selection probably would be different.

I can give no formal validity proof based on any generally accepted laws. If I were forced to give some explanation for my selection I would say that it's a subjective compromise between the center of mass rule and balancing the widths of the empty gaps in both sides.

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