Zoom Transform Creation in Illustrator Tutorial

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By Andrew Buckle, Updated : 2022


Learn how to use transforms to create zoom designs in Illustrator by using strokes added to paths and adding live effects



1. Transforms in Illustrator

In Illustrator, select a shape, a circle is a great start point. Stars, squares, they can all be used. Use the properties panel or the toolbar to remove the fill from the shape, you only need the stroke. Set the stroke weight and color.

The key panels for this activity are the appearance and properties, find them in the Window's menu.


2. Add Zoom transform via the Effect menu

With the path selected, use the effect menu and distort and transform. Use the transform command. Set the scale for the transform, set to greater than one hundred percent.


Set the number of copies to more than ten. The preview should be on, if not, click the preview box. The transform should be visible, the zoom transform has been applied.


3. You can still modify the shape

The shape can still be modified. The stroke weight and color can be altered. Dash and width profiles are also available via the properties panel Instead of a basic stroke design, dashes can be added. Width profiles to add a special touch with a hand-drawn look.


The shape itself can be distorted by moving the anchor points and handles. Use the direct selection tool to drag and distort the design.

4. Appearance panel for the zoom transform

The process is all live, you can alter any of the settings such as the parameters of the transform via the Appearance panel.


5. Graphic styles to store zoom transform

The transformation can be saved to the Graphic Styles panel. Instant hit. Select a new shape, click the style. You will see the zoom transformation add to the Styles.


6. Expand the zoom transform

Expand the object via the object menu and expand appearance. If you wish to continue with the transformation, don't expand.

7. Repeat feature and zoom transform

Illustrator added a repeat feature. Select the transform shape, go to the Object menu, and the repeat command. The Object will be duplicated about a central point. You can change the radius. You can change the number of instances. The transformation is still live, you can double-click one of the designs. Edit it, distort it, color it. Scaling and rotation can also be applied.


Create limitless designs in seconds. To exit, right-click and select exit isolation mode. Sadly, the repeat feature is not an appearance. It cannot be added to the Graphic Styles panel.

8. Record steps in the actions panel

You can record all the above steps. Use the Actions panel and record.

9. Use the Appearance panel to add strokes

Use the Appearance panel for additional strokes. Go to the right side menu of the Appearance panel, click the Add new stroke command. The stroke can be any color. It can be set to smaller or bigger than the existing stroke. Add multiple strokes to the transformation. Use to create exciting zoom transformations.

10. Zoom transform and type

Create dramatic type effects using the Zoom transforms. Select a circle or square, and set the fill to nil, set the stroke to black. Go to the Effect menu, distort and transform and apply the Transform command. To create a zoom, set the scaling great than 100%. Set the number of copies. Go to the Graphic styles panel located in the window menu. Right side menu, create a new style.


Type something.


Apply the graphic style, instant zoom effect. The type is still live and editable. Use multiple rows for more impressive results. Change the color, change the width profile.


Go to the Touch Type tool, located in the toolbar beneath the Type tool. The Touch Type tool manipulates individual characters. Move, rotate, scale the type. The zoom transform correspondingly changes.


If you want regular paths, go to the Object menu and Expand.


Using the latest version, use the Object menu and Repeat and Radial. The result is still live. Modify the radius, modify the instances. To edit, double-click an instance. The Touch Type tool is available in isolation mode. Re-order the characters. Right-click and select the 'Exit Isolation Mode' command.


You can add multiple strokes to your design. Use the Appearance panel, right-click and Add Stroke command. The strokes are independent, one can be blue and the other, green. Set different widths. Set different profiles.


Warp the shape? Select and go to the Object menu, Envelope Distort, Make with Warp. The zoom transform type is now not editable.