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I want to copy a shape in 45 degree increments around the center of a circle. Is it possible to do this while keeping the shape's horizontal alignment - i.e. if its a square being rotated, its bottom half should always be parallel to the X Axis of the Artboard.

EDIT, as pointed out in the comments, I'm looking for this kind of rotation (actually it would be better described as a translation)

enter image description here

  • 1
    So basically you just want their centers placed on a circle and not rotate the objects at all? – joojaa Nov 12 '16 at 8:57
  • Something like this picture? – joojaa Nov 12 '16 at 9:53
  • @joojaa Exactly - like in that picture, yes – Binaromong Nov 12 '16 at 11:09
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There are several ways to approach this.

  1. The typical way, most what graphics designers do is to build a guide scaffold to find the positions with smart guides and clone dragging.

    enter image description here

    Image 1: Using Guides and smart guides to snap to intersections

    The downside of this is that its a bit tedious, and is a it hard to repeat if needed. The upside is that this is pretty straightforward for most tasks and requires almost no thinking, and extends to many more problems.

  2. A slightly more conceptually complicated, mathematical approach is to consider composing it out of 2 separate transforms. One with offset center rotation and one rotate each to counter rotate the object with transform each. In the case of squares this is pretty fast.

  3. You can use Blend and replace spine as explained in this answer under Parametric blend in Illustrator. The benefit of this approach is that you can adjust the number objects easily later.

  4. You can script this pretty easily the cooridnates for the pattern entries are just simply:

    sin(i*angle)*radius
    cos(i*angle)*radius
    

    Again look up the answer in 3 for a script scaffold.

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