This is something that happens to folks all the time, and it can drive you CRAZY! You accidentally hit something and all of a sudden see a little circle with crosshairs in it in the middle of your design. Then you can’t figure out how you did it and how to get rid of it. That’s called the Center of Rotation.
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What in the world is it?
With Designer Edition and up, you can change the anchor point when you rotate an object. By default, it’s the very center of the design. In my picture above, that little target is right in the middle of the flower. When I rotate it, that middle stays put and the rest of the flower moves around it. It’s like a spinner in a board game — the middle is attached and the arrow spins around that fulcrum when you flick it.
I’ve drawn lines through the center and middle of my flower for reference. When I rotate it, it’s moving around the point where they cross.
But you can change the anchor point. Say it’s the lower left corner of the shape that you want to stay put. Select the shape and you’ll see the center of rotation. Grab that target and drag it to the lower left corner like this. Notice I’m talking about the bounding box, not the shape itself.
You might see a dotted line back to the center, depending on where you place the target. That indicates the center of rotation has moved. Now when I rotate, it’s moving around that lower left corner.
You can even drag it outside the shape. That’s useful when you’ve got multiple shapes you want to put around a circle. Here I’ve dragged the center of rotation to the center of the circle, made several copies stacked on one another, then rotated 2 of them. (You could also use Object on Path for that).
Want Designer Edition so you can move the center of rotation? Get 10% off here. Look for it in the Software and Digital section under “Silhouette Studio License Keys.” Add it to your cart and make sure you’re signed in, then use the coupon code 10OFF.
How the center of rotation affects replicate
The software also takes the center of rotation into account when you use the Replicate options like making rotated copies. Let’s say I’ve made a flower petal shape and I want to have 5 rotated copies. That would give me 6 petals rotated evenly. Here’s what happens when I use that with the default rotation.
That doesn’t exactly look like a flower. Here, I’ve moved the center of rotation straight down from the petal and outside it. That’s going to leave room for a flower center. Now when I make 5 rotated copies, I get this result.
Now it looks like a flower.
How do I turn the center of rotation on and off?
If you don’t see that little target in the center of your shape, the movable center of rotation is off and the shape will rotate around that default center position. You don’t have to do anything different. But people often turn it on by mistake and have no idea how to make it go away. It’s especially annoying when you try to grab and move a shape, you instead move the center of rotation, then you’ve got this weird line across the shape that’s very distracting.
Fortunately, it’s really easy to get rid of (which is also why it’s really easy to turn on accidentally). Just type a letter o on your computer keyboard. That keyboard shortcut toggles it on and off.
Get 10% off Designer Edition at Silhouette America by clicking here. Look for it in the Software and Digital section under “Silhouette Studio License Keys.”
It’s easier to understand the moveable center of rotation if you see it in action. Here’s a short video:
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