So, in Illustrator, there's a tool called the free-transform tool (shortcut is E), and while stretching an object, by holding control, it changes to the perspective stretch (allowing me to pull just one corner). The perspective stretch is sometimes neat, but I don't always want it. Sometimes I just want a generic stretch. But I can't find online or anywhere in the program how to do a basic free transform. E.g.:

Perspective vs. Non-Perspective

1 Answer 1


That's not so much a transformation as it is a distortion. Transforming alters the entire shape, whereas distortion only alters a portion of the shape. All "transform" operations tend to alter everything at least to some minor degree.

If you want the second example just draw an angled shape above the rectangles and use the Pathfinder Panel to subtract the tops of the rectangles.

I suppose you could also use an envelope to distort things. Or group the rectangles and use Effect > Distort & Transform > Free Distort

enter image description here

  • Well doing the subtraction is obvious, but I'm working with text, and thus changes the scenario completely. The picture I have is just an example. But the envelope definitely clarifies it for me! I guess a note on that though is, why is the distort effect so terribly unincorporated and hard to work with?
    – Codesmith
    Aug 6, 2015 at 14:46

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