This is one of those tricks that I felt stupid I didn’t know after I learned about it. I’m sure others out there know about it, but there must be some that don’t. This transform function works in CS3 and CS4. I’m not sure about earlier versions of Illustrator, so if anyone knows, post a comment. I came across this trick when watching episode 58 of Layers TV, a great Adobe videocast.
I’ve always been envious of Photoshop’s Transform. When transforming an object in Photoshop, it is easy to quickly shear, add perspective and distort the element you are transforming. I thought you couldn’t do this as easily in Illustrator. I thought you had to rely on the Free Distort Effects or Mesh distortions. I even remember trying over an over again to get the Transform Tool to work in this fashion. Now I realize I was just doing it wrong.
First, use the Transform Tool (E) and select an object. Click and hold on one of the corners and then press the Command Key (Ctrl for Windows). Now you can easily transform the shape like in Photoshop. Make sure you click and hold on the area before you press the Command Key, or else it will not work. While using the Command Key, You can also use the Shift Key to constrain moments, use the Alt / Option key to constrain the transform to a perspective transform, or use the Shift Key and Alt / Option keys simultaneously!
Again some of you probably know about this function, but for those of you that don’t, this trick should be a welcomed one!