Transform Again (IMPROVED)

1. Transform Again is a cool little trick to do in Illustrator. Try it out first by making a circle.

2. This is a very tedious part, so please read carefully. Now choose the ROTATE tool in Illustrator. DO NOT change your tool until I tell you from here on.

3. Now this is the tedious part. You see the little light blue cross hair in the middle of the circle? While your rotate tool is selected, click and drag the blue rotation axis cross hair down to the bottom of the circle as you see on the screenshots.

4. Again, staying in the rotate tool, you are going to rotate the shape left or right just a little tiny bit, HOLDING THE ALT KEY (COMMAND KEY FOR MAC), just like how you see on the screenshots.

5. After you finish step 4, this is where you can move to another tool. Now go to OBJECT > TRANSFORM > TRANSFORM AGAIN.

Now keep hitting CTRL + D (COMMAND + D FOR MAC) and it should execute some interesting results.

6. Now lets try it with another shape. We will use the star shape tool this time.

7. Draw out the shape like you see on the screenshot above.

TIP: You can add more corners to your star like how I did on the screenshot by hitting the up and down arrow key. Drag the star shape in your Illustrator document while you still have your left mouse button held down, and hit the up and down arrow key on your keyboard. The up key will increase corners, down key will decrease corners. You can create a triangle this way in Illustrator.

8. This time we are not going to drag the rotation axis. Keep it in the middle. Select the ROTATE tool and hit ENTER. A dialog box should appear. Now set your rotation measurement (again keep it tiny), check the preview button to see where it rotates to, and hit COPY. Rinse and repeat by hitting CTRL + D (Transform Again).

9. My result.

14 Responses to “Transform Again (IMPROVED)”

  1. Fink from 501 Graphic Design said:

    I never could get this one to work, and I’d really like to. Every single time, when I hit ‘Enter’ and bring-up the dialog box, it resets my rotate axis to the center of the circle. Any ideas on what i could do? Thanks.

  2. Fink from 501 Graphic Design said:

    Well, if I manually rotate it, it works perfectly. My only problem will be manually rotating my object to a desired, specific angle.

  3. Synergy said:

    It’s your lucky day. I uploaded a video version of this today.

  4. Albert said:


    I had the same proble as above and the video helped me to
    get around this ‘hit > enter’ problem, however, I still can’t get this to work
    the ‘hit > enter’ way. I’t duplicates the circle on top of the original one despite
    setting a different angle. Any ideas of what I’m doing wrong?


  5. Synergy said:

    You don’t hit enter when you want to duplicate. You want to hit CTRL + D for REPEAT. To put it easily.

    Make a shape.
    Hit enter while rotate tool is selected.
    Type in a random rotation angle. A good example is 45 degree’s.
    Hit “COPY” so it duplicates.
    Then hit CTRL + D.

  6. ev said:

    In Windows, for CS2, you have to use Alt and left click to get the axis center to stay where you want it, then set angle within dialog box as described above.

  7. m said:

    I had trouble getting this to work too.
    cs4 on windows- it works like this
    1. draw circle
    2. select rotation tool
    3. drag to bottom of circle
    (steps1 & 2)
    4. Hold the Alt key while you drag the circle slightly, this makes the new circle that can be transformed.
    5. Then just punch ctrl D, until it looks like the picture.

  8. ayo said:

    Took me awhile to figure this one out.

    Here’s how it worked for me

    1. Draw Circle
    2. Using the Rotation Tool, Drag the axis to desired spot whilst holding the ALT key.

    This should pop up the menu where you decide how many degrees you would like to rotate your shape, after which you can repeat it again by pressing CTRL+D or CMD+D.

  9. saher said:

    video explained it all!! nicely done!!

  10. Anonymous said:


  11. LEEN said:


  12. Bettina said:

    This is very amazing!!! I never thought that those images can be done easily. Your tutorials are basic and the foundation to complex designs. Once again thank you very much!!!!

  13. Chris said:

    You’re welcome. :)

  14. Apryl Babyak said:

    Hm, I am ok with this but nevertheless not entirely certain, thus i am gonna research a touch more.

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