156: Illustrator Live Mirroring

We design and cut a fair amount of custom-shape badges and signage, and oftentimes the shapes we end up using are symmetrical in some way. Even when we get more creative with the shape, like in the layered LED badge we made for an Ingress event, there is symmetry in the final design.

Using live mirroring in Adobe Illustrator has made it easier to conceptualize and prototype shapes. In the example above, I added two Transform effects to the design’s primary layer, which allowed me to draw one quadrant of the Ingress design and visualize the complete piece as I made changes.

Jen and I decided to take this a few steps further with this month’s project, using the same Live Mirroring techniques but on a rotational transform and with a mirror step. The end result is an easy-to-use template that will let you create designs with six mirrored “spokes,” similar to snowflakes.

We each created a couple designs to create small tokens out of some spare wood, the results of which are pictured below.

I’ve also included the .AI file set up for easy live-mirrored drawing. Just start drawing on the main layer to get started, or look into that layer’s Appearance settings to see more about how the mirroring was set up. I recommend drawing just in the white slice of the circle to get started, then as you’re more comfortable with how the art automatically mirrors you can draw in whichever section you like! Just click the picture of the template below to download the zipped .AI file.

Click the blank rotational mirror template above to download the zipped .AI file!

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