Aligning eliptical shapes in Illustrator

Futuremotion's picture

Very broadly, I'm having a bit of difficulty attempting to align elliptical shapes to each-other in specific ways.

If you look at the attached image (a simple hypothetical example), all I'm trying to do is position the darker blue circles within the larger lighter blue circle such that the intersecting edges of each ellipse align *absolutely and exactly* on top of each-other.

The intersections I am talking about are highlighted via the red ellipses.

I cannot for the life of me finagle Illustrator to accomplish this deceptively complex task and I've just resorted to approximation.

Anyone have any idea? It would be a huge help as I've spent hours tonight trying to figure out how to reliably do this. :(

vilbel's picture

You could of course use some math, and adjust the positions manually.

oldnick's picture

CorelDraw has a "Snap to Object" function, which accomplishes such requests with mixed success, but I don't know if Illustrator offers this option.

Igor Freiberger's picture

There is no aligment tool to achieve this in Illustrator. The Snap to object available in CorelDraw is an old lacking feature in IL. And more I work with FontLab, less I like Illustrator.

But these techniques can help:

1.
Simply use Outline view (Ctrl+Y), increase the zoom and do manual alignment. Although manual, it is absolutely precise when you work at maximum zoom. This would be my first choice.

2.
If you know where you want each ellipse to touch the other, you can use Snap to point.

Enable this option under View menu. With pen tool, create nodes where you want ellipses to be aligned. Drag and drop one ellipse to another positioning you mouse over the created nodes. When close enough, ellipses will snap.

You can let this a bit easier increasing the Snap to point option in Preferences > Selection and set Snap to point to 8 (the max value).

This procedure may be not the more quick to your need, but to handle it can be useful in a number of situations.

Igor Freiberger's picture

Addition: in IL CS4 and CS5 you can Ctrl+drag objects from their points to make them snap. Unhappily the snap criteria is still the point, not the object, thus you must create additional points prior to dragging.

Futuremotion's picture

Freiberger: Thank you so much for such a detailed, thought out reply. All of that helped tremendously.

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