Powerful Duplication in Illustrator for a Stamp Shape

    Corrie Haffly
    Corrie Haffly
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    One of my favorite tricks to use in Illustrator which I forgot to mention in my “favorite Illustrator tips” blog is Ctrl-D (Command-D), which allows you to duplicate your last transformation and is especially useful when you’re copying objects and want them to be spaced an exact distance apart. The command can be found under Object > Transform > Transform Again. In this example, I’ll make a postage stamp shape, using Ctrl-D to duplicate the circles that I’ll eventually cut out of the sides.

    Start with a rectangle and a little circle on the edge of the rectangle. (I’m not too concerned with exact dimensions here, so I’ll resize the rectangle “to fit” the circles eventually.)

    Use the black arrow tool to select the circle, then Shift-Alt-drag (Shift-Option-drag) the circle to the right to duplicate it (and constrain the movement to a straight line). Move it over as far as you think it will look good when cut out of the rectangle.

    Now, don’t do anything else, but immediately hit Ctrl-D (Command-D). The circle will duplicate itself again, at the exact same distance as your original move! Keep hitting Ctrl-D until you have enough circles to fit the top of the rectangle.

    Now, Alt-drag one of the circles to the side of the box to start the vertical line of circles. Shift-alt-drag that new circle down so you have two circles along the vertical side. Ctrl-D to duplicate that move several times until the circles line the vertical side of the box.

    What I find is easiest now is to select the top row of circles, then Shift-Alt-drag them down to the bottom line of the box and create a copy. Then I select the vertical column of circles and Shift-Alt-drag them to make a copy on the other side. Finally, I end up with this:

    In the Pathfinder palette, click the “Minus Front” button to cut the circles out of the rectangle to get this result:

    And after importing this vector stamp shape into Photoshop, adding a picture, some text layers, and a drop shadow, this is what I get:

    I’ll be out of town this next week… so have a great one!

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Powerful Duplication in Illustrator for a Stamp Shape

    How can I duplicate objects in Illustrator using keyboard shortcuts?

    In Adobe Illustrator, you can duplicate objects using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+D (Windows) or Command+D (Mac). This command duplicates your last action. For instance, if you moved an object 10 pixels to the right, using this shortcut will duplicate the object and move it another 10 pixels to the right. This is a quick and efficient way to create multiple copies of an object in a specific pattern or direction.

    Can I use the duplication feature to create complex shapes?

    Yes, the duplication feature in Illustrator can be used to create complex shapes. By duplicating a basic shape multiple times and arranging them in a specific pattern, you can create intricate designs and patterns. This is particularly useful in creating stamp shapes, logos, and other graphic elements.

    What is the difference between duplicating and copying in Illustrator?

    Duplicating and copying in Illustrator may seem similar, but they serve different purposes. When you copy an object (Ctrl+C or Command+C), it is stored in the clipboard and can be pasted anywhere in your document. On the other hand, duplicating an object creates an immediate copy in the same location as the original object. The duplicate command also remembers the last transformation applied to the object, allowing you to repeat it.

    How can I duplicate an object along a path in Illustrator?

    To duplicate an object along a path in Illustrator, you can use the ‘Blend’ tool. First, create the object and the path. Then, select both the object and the path, and go to ‘Object’ > ‘Blend’ > ‘Make’. This will create copies of the object along the path. You can adjust the number of copies and their distribution along the path in the ‘Blend Options’ dialog box.

    Can I use the duplication feature to create a mirror image of an object?

    Yes, you can use the duplication feature in Illustrator to create a mirror image of an object. First, duplicate the object. Then, go to ‘Object’ > ‘Transform’ > ‘Reflect’. In the dialog box, choose the axis of reflection (horizontal or vertical) and click ‘OK’. This will create a mirror image of the object.

    How can I duplicate an object in a circular pattern in Illustrator?

    To duplicate an object in a circular pattern in Illustrator, you can use the ‘Rotate’ tool. First, create the object and set the rotation point. Then, duplicate the object and apply a rotation. Repeat the duplication and rotation until you have created a circular pattern.

    Can I change the color of duplicated objects in Illustrator?

    Yes, you can change the color of duplicated objects in Illustrator. Simply select the duplicated object and use the ‘Fill’ and ‘Stroke’ options in the ‘Tools’ panel to change its color.

    How can I duplicate a group of objects in Illustrator?

    To duplicate a group of objects in Illustrator, first select all the objects you want to duplicate. Then, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+D (Windows) or Command+D (Mac) to duplicate them.

    Can I use the duplication feature to create patterns in Illustrator?

    Yes, the duplication feature in Illustrator is a powerful tool for creating patterns. By duplicating a shape and applying transformations (like scaling, rotating, or moving), you can create intricate patterns.

    How can I undo a duplication in Illustrator?

    To undo a duplication in Illustrator, you can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Z (Windows) or Command+Z (Mac). This will undo your last action. If you want to undo multiple duplications, simply press the shortcut multiple times.