In Lesson 1 of the Point Editing series, we learned some general information about points and how to select them. If you haven’t gone through that lesson, you definitely want to do that first. Today, we’re going to talk about moving points. We’ll go over why you might want to move a point, ways you can move a single point, and how to move several at a time.
Tutorial level: Intermediate to Advanced
Note: This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click the link and purchase something, I receive a small commission. You pay the same price. This helps me to be able to keep my business going and provide more tutorials. I will always be honest about my opinion of any product.
One thing you can do with a selected point or set of points is to move them to a new location. Why would you want to do that? Because you can change the look of the design completely by moving the points. You can move points in and out, change the location of a corner, etc.
There are 2 ways to move a point or set of points–
- With the arrow keys on your keyboard.
- By dragging the selected points with your mouse.
Here’s an example. I’ve got a square here, but I want to make it a different shape. Notice that I’m already in Point Editing mode, so you can see the nodes at each of the 4 corners.
Moving points individually with arrow keys
Let’s say I want a trapezoid (OH NO – not geometry class again!). Here’s what I want:
- The line segment along the top to be shorter than the line segment on the bottom. That makes it a trapezoid.
- To keep the other 3 sides the same equal lengths they are now. For that, I want to move the points along the same horizontal line that they’re currently on. In other words, I don’t want them to move up or down — just sideways.
- The 2 angles in the top corners to be the same. That means I need to move the upper 2 points inward the same amount.
The best way to effect all this is by using the arrow keys on my computer keyboard.
I’m going to start with my upper left point. I select it, then use the right arrow to move it inward.
Next, I select the point at the top right and use my left arrow key to move it the same amount inward.
Now I’ve quickly accomplished all those goals.
Here are some hints for moving points with your arrow keys:
- If you want to move 2 points separately by the same amount, keep count of how many times you click your arrow key as you move the first one. Then move the second point by the same number of clicks.
- Hold down the SHIFT key on your computer keyboard to move the point in larger increments of distance.
- When you are moving points by equal amounts with your arrow keys, don’t zoom in or out during the process. That can alter the result. The closer in you are to the shape, the shorter the distance each mouse click moves the point.
Moving points simultaneously with arrow keys
Let’s start back with that same square. This time, instead of a trapezoid I’m going to make it a parallelogram. That means I can move both the upper left and upper right points at the same time. That’s faster than doing them individually, and it also means I don’t have to keep track of how many times I clicked the arrow key. But since I do want to keep the sides all the same length, my points need to stay on the same horizontal line — move side to side only. My arrow keys are again my best bet.
First, I’ll select both points with one of the 2 methods described in Lesson 1. How do I know I’ve selected the ones I want? They are both white now and I see 2 line segments in red.
Now I can move both points simultaneously with my left or right arrow key, depending on which direction I want the shape to tilt.
I like the look of this, but let’s say I want to make it squattier. While my top 2 points are still selected, I can use my down arrow on my keyboard to move them down at the same time by the same amount.
Moving points by dragging
So far we’ve been working with very strict, even movements in a straight line. But you don’t have to do that. You can be much freer and quicker in moving your points if you drag them. You’ll probably use this more when you have shapes with curves or that aren’t as symmetrical as a square.
Here’s a hummingbird. Let’s say I like it, but I want the beak to be longer and the chest to come out more. Clicking and dragging will work better for this.
First, I’m going to select just one point – the end of the beak.
Once selected, I can then drag that point around. I can get quite a few different looks by just altering that 1 point.
Now let’s look at the chest. If I select and move just one point, I’m going to get a funny-looking bird.
So I’m going to select multiple points instead. Then I can move them all at the same time to move that chest out.
Here’s my original hummer (red) and my altered one (blue).
Do you see how much different I can make my shape look? That gives me a good deal of designing power.
Yep, sometimes it’s hard to see with just still images. So let me show you a video of how to move your points.
I’ve done all of this just by moving my points to new locations. But there’s a great deal more you can do with points to customize your design. Next time in Lesson 3, we’ll talk about adding and deleting points.