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Ok AD Gurus...I need your help once again.  I have searched the forums with no luck.  I may be searching under the wrong terms so if you have a link to an existing thread, I would appreciate pointing me in that direction.

 

My wife got a Cricut for Christmas and the design software is garbage.  Luckily, Affinity Designer is my go to app and I have been able to help her on many occasions.  Today she asked me to convert some PNG files into SVGs for her to cut.  I use the Image Vectorizer app but the results aren't that great.  The circles have flat spots and are funny shaped in general.

 

I decided to clean up the template for her and there are a bunch of small circles that need to be placed on a circular path evenly spaced.  How can I align and space these shapes easily?  I am sure there is a trick or tool that I am overlooking.  I have attached some screenshots so you can see what I am trying to do.

 

The first screenshot is the monogram.  She has a handful and if I can set up the template, the letters are much easier to do.  The second screenshot shows the potato shaped circles.  The last shows the circles I created and will cut out of the shape once aligned...just need to figure out how to align perfectly with proper spacing.

 

As always, thanks in advance for your help!

 

Chad

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This has been covered a couple of different times on this forum.

 

The easiest way is as follows:

 

1. Draw a circle using the circle shape and hold the shift key to constrain its proportions.  

2. Drag the circle to the top of your design in the 12 o'clock position.

3. Select the circle and duplicate it using either Copy/Past or Command J key combinations.

4. Drag the second circle to the 6 o'clock position while holding the shift key to keep it in perfect alignment.

5. Decide how many dots that you want your overall circle to contain.  Make sure it is an even number and divide it into 360.  (ex. 360 dots divided by 46 = 7.8260869565º of seperation)

7. Click on the center rotation spot in the transform window.

8. Select both upper and lower circle and hit CMD-J to duplicate them.

9. In the rotation box (transform window) enter the degree of separation that you came up with.

10. Continue to hit CMD-J until your circle fills up with the required number of duplicate shapes that you wanted.

 

 

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This is how I would do it if I were setting up a design from scratch. There are an uneven amount of circles in this design so I was hoping there was a way to evenly space them along a path. This would come in handy with other files as well.

 

I have already completed the monograms for my wife so she could cut and apply the vinyl but I am still curious about placing shapes on a path and if there is a way to do so.

 

Thank you for your reply, I do appreciate it.

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[…] I am still curious about placing shapes on a path and if there is a way to do so.

 

Not now, but on roadmap. Quick workarounds: Circle with a dashed stroke, text path.

 

First one took under one minute to rebuild it exactly with the snapshot in background.

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There is currently only one way of dealing with an odd number of items to duplicate using the CMD-J Power Duplicate method similar to what Signguy suggested that I am aware of, & it is neither very easy or elegant.

 

The basic idea is to use the "Show Rotation Center" option to offset the rotation center of the first item to duplicate to the desired center point of all the items. Depending on the symmetry of the design, this center point can be determined by selecting the group that includes all the items in the imported file or by adding a shape snapped to its edges (or if necessary by eye) & noting the x/y coordinates of that center point in the transform panel. If needed, create a new shape & using the Transform panel, move its center to that possession. Use its shown center point as a guide for where to place the offset center point of the first item to duplicate.

 

That is not very easy to do to accurately to begin with, but the next step is even harder. As with Signguy's method, figure out the needed angle between two items (the easy part) & then (since the Transform panel does not honor offset center points) you have to drag the rotation of the first duplicate to that angle using the rotation handle in the workspace (the hard part). It can be done with reasonably high accuracy, but it may require zooming out and moving the pointer very far from the initial click location to get fine enough control over the angle.

 

Once that is accomplished, it is easy to use Power Duplicate to add the remaining items, but don't be surprised if it takes several tries to get this right.

 

Assuming they add offset rotation center support to the Transform panel in the future, this should be much easier to do but for now it is the only way I know to do what you want, other than with the various totally by eye approximations you probably already know about.


Affinity Photo 1.7.2, Affinity Designer 1.7.2, Affinity Publisher 1.7.2; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.2.153 & Affinity Designer 1.7.2.6 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

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I have heard of people finding the circumfrance of the circle and then making a line the same length of the circle circumference.  Then you could space your 45 shapes (or what ever the odd number is) evenly across the line using the space horizontally tool.  Then you could create a new brush using those shapes.   Create a new circle using the brush and I guess this might work.  Especially if you have different kinds of shapes that need to be spaced evenly.  I know it's possible but it sounds like a pain to me.  Plus, if she is using a vinyl cutter, the brush would no longer be a vector shape that could be cut out.  

 

It would just be a lot easier to make an even number of circles and rebuild it.  I doubt that anyone is going to actually count the number circles other then you. 

 

On a side note, how are you exporting your AD files into your cutter software? What format? 

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Her cutting software recognizes SVG files but it isn't very consistent.  We were just selecting "SVG for export" and it was working great for the last 7 months.  Then, about a month ago, it would no longer recognize the files.  I played around with different software, extensions, etc and kept having problems.  I changed the SVG export to "SVG for Print" and it recognizes them once again.  The Cricut Design Studio is very buggy so I won't be surprised if I have to find a new work around for her in the near future.  For now, it is working great.

 

On a side note, how are you exporting your AD files into your cutter software? What format? 

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More or less, yes.  If you take a peak at the screenshots in the original post you will have a better idea. I was hoping to find an easy method as I could incorporate the technique into my workflow on a more regular basis.

 

Hi Chadstyle,

I'm not sure i understood your question...

Are you asking how to align an uneven amount of circles evenly around a center or just an easy way to do it?

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Thank you for the reply and detailed explanation.  I originally was doing what SignGuy mentioned but was hoping to find a more automated and accurate way of completing the task.  It does't look like there is a simple solution currently available so I will have to use methods like yours to reach my desired look.

 

Thanks again!

 

There is currently only one way of dealing with an odd number of items to duplicate using the CMD-J Power Duplicate method similar to what Signguy suggested that I am aware of, & it is neither very easy or elegant.

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Out of curiosity, what did others refer to this process as?  I was thinking "Text on a path" crossed with "Shape alignment" but none of my searches yielded results.  I always do my best to search thoroughly and you may notice my overall post count is quite low in comparison to how long I have been using the app but I attribute this to a great community and search bar ;)

 

This has been covered a couple of different times on this forum.

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Thank you for the reply and detailed explanation.  I originally was doing what SignGuy mentioned but was hoping to find a more automated and accurate way of completing the task.  It does't look like there is a simple solution currently available so I will have to use methods like yours to reach my desired look.

 

Thanks again!

 

Actually, I was playing around with this again.  If you want an odd number, just divide the number into 360 like the above option.  So 360/45= 8º of separation.  Follow the same procedures as above but change the color of the bottom circle that you put in the 6 o'clock position (This will help you to identify it later).  Enter your rotation into the rotation box and duplicate it all the way around the circle (not just half way like before).  Now just delete the offending circles that you changed the color on and you should now have your evenly spaced and odd numbered circles in a circular pattern.

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This seems like the best option so far.  Thank you for putting so much time into my question, you have gone over and above.  

 

Actually, I was playing around with this again.  If you want an odd number, just divide the number into 360 like the above option.  So 360/45= 8º of separation.  Follow the same procedures as above but change the color of the bottom circle that you put in the 6 o'clock position (This will help you to identify it later).  Enter your rotation into the rotation box and duplicate it all the way around the circle (not just half way like before).  Now just delete the offending circles that you changed the color on and you should now have your evenly spaced and odd numbered circles in a circular pattern.

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Here's a video showing an easy and precise way to do it. I've placed 67 circles around a circle in this example but you can use whatever number you want.

Place the expression (360/67) in the Rotation input field in the Transform panel to ensure you get a precise result (not the value in degrees).

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Here's a video showing an easy and precise way to do it. ...

That method is an excellent one if you are starting from scratch but there are some things to be aware of if you are trying to clean up/repair an existing design that opened up in Affinity with some irregularities like the misshapen circles in the example from the first post.

 

The most obvious one is if the imported design is not symmetrical, it may be difficult to determine where to place the guidelines the bottom edge of the first rectangle is snapped to.

 

The other is that if the circles (or whatever other set of circumferential shapes you need to duplicate) are not touching in the original design, you will need to add a step after creating the first rectangle to resize the shape from its center to reduce its size to match the original's dimensions before grouping & duplicating anything. If you don't get that right, you would have to either start over or resize each duplicate individually, which would be tedious.

 

This would be much easier if the Transform panel honored offset center points for entering rotational values, although determining the exact offset center point for the rotations still could be problematic.


Affinity Photo 1.7.2, Affinity Designer 1.7.2, Affinity Publisher 1.7.2; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.2.153 & Affinity Designer 1.7.2.6 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

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That method is an excellent one if you are starting from scratch but there are some things to be aware of if you are trying to clean up/repair an existing design that opened up in Affinity with some irregularities like the misshapen circles in the example from the first post.

 

The most obvious one is if the imported design is not symmetrical, it may be difficult to determine where to place the guidelines the bottom edge of the first rectangle is snapped to.

 

The other is that if the circles (or whatever other set of circumferential shapes you need to duplicate) are not touching in the original design, you will need to add a step after creating the first rectangle to resize the shape from its center to reduce its size to match the original's dimensions before grouping & duplicating anything. If you don't get that right, you would have to either start over or resize each duplicate individually, which would be tedious.

 

This would be much easier if the Transform panel honored offset center points for entering rotational values, although determining the exact offset center point for the rotations still could be problematic.

 

R C-R,

I think you are missing the point. If the original design is not symmetrical the problem is in the original design not in the solution to make it symmetrical/right. If the idea is NOT to correct/perfect the original then there's no point in finding solutions like this to make it look right in first place. Just trace over it or simply adjust the corrected result to fit whatever needs you have.

I'm merely showing a process here. When recreating the original design you can put it on a layer below to serve as reference to determine the circle sizes, center/alignements, whatever is needed.

 

It certainly would be much more easier if the Transform panel would honour the offset center or to have a way to blend objects along a path. I do hope these things get implemented at some point. Meanwhile we have to use whatever is already available whenever is possible and that's the point of this discussion/thread.

This is not intended to replace the need/implementation of more sophisticated/advanced tools. I agree with you that we need them.

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R C-R,

I think you are missing the point. If the original design is not symmetrical the problem is in the original design not in the solution to make it symmetrical/right.

What I meant was sometimes it is necessary to clean up an imported vectorized design without changing its symmetry, or lack thereof. For instance, some pattern like the one in the first post might have a set of circles or other shapes circumferentially centered & evenly spaced around some point other than the center of the overall pattern or any of its other elements. This could make it difficult to find that center point & place a pair of intersecting guidelines there.

 

In this case, there is no problem with the original design, just in finding the center point accurately enough to duplicate that part of the design with cleaned up replacement shapes without noticeably altering its overall appearance.

 

Since your method assumes one can start from scratch, placing the guides in some convenient location, or equivalently that it would be easy to find the center of the set of shapes in an imported file, I thought it worth mentioning that this may not always be true.


Affinity Photo 1.7.2, Affinity Designer 1.7.2, Affinity Publisher 1.7.2; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.2.153 & Affinity Designer 1.7.2.6 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

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Great solution, Miguel … and thanks for using Numi in your video. I hadn’t known about this handy little tool. Just downloaded.  :)

 

(By the way, what screen recording software are you using?)

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Starting from scratch or not is irrelevant. You can move things around anytime and use the original as a reference if needed to determine sizes, centers, whatever necessary. There's no need to over complicate this.

All I'm saying is sometimes it is not easy to determine centers or sizes accurately enough to get acceptable results with Power Duplicate based methods. ChadStyle did say he was looking for a technique he could use on a regular basis, & with some designs that not infrequently does complicate things enough that one has to resort to other, more tedious & less precise methods like tracing over the original.


Affinity Photo 1.7.2, Affinity Designer 1.7.2, Affinity Publisher 1.7.2; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.2.153 & Affinity Designer 1.7.2.6 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

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Hey all,

 

So sort of two different topics here right. 

1) place an (odd) number of circles evenly around in a circle.

2) evenly distribute objects along a path that's not so friendly. Could be a spiral, free-form curve.... whatever.

 

A more robust distribute toolset, which we obviously need (and I believe is in the works?), could of course address both issues in one tool.

 

But for now....

 

1) I have a different option other than CMD-J worth mentioning (imho). CMD J is very powerful, but for a large number of objects it can get a bit.... tedious. Even if you're CMD-Jing just a few elements, grouping, doing another transform, CMD-Jing, grouping etc....

This method takes about a minute (if I'm not talking trying to describe what I'm doing  ;)) .

And that's a minute if you're doing 9 objects or 999 objects.

Video (sorry about the clickety-clack... I come down hard on my keys).

 

2) That's a tougher one. Could be done.... but very labour intensive, and relying a little too much on eyeballing etc.

I would use the tape measure concept discussed in an earlier thread (can't find it at the moment) to place nodes and divide the path in order to snap objects to end points. Like I said, PITA.

EDIT (smacks forehead): Of course ;)  you can just use a copy of the curve as a Text path and use a bullet character (circle, square, or something more ornate) tabbed at even distances (or just use letter spacing). Then convert to curves. 

If you know how to make your own font it could be anything  :) .

 

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Could it be that you mean this infamous thread, JimmyJack?  ;)

 

 

Yes, those were the days and this was meant by text path.  :)

 

The first workaround (circle with a dashed stroke) seems to be the quickest. But we are sure, the best solution will be version 1.5. Soon.

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