Grids, Guides and Collisions

Grids, Guides and Collisions

VectorStyler provides a number of tools and options to help accurately position, size and rotate objects. When moving objects on a canvas using the mouse, the position of the object is determined by the mouse movements. This type of positioning may not be sufficiently precise, in many designs and workflows.

The following options can be used to position objects accurately:

  • The Grid can be used to setup precise object locations, and to snap object positions to these locations while moving.
  • Guidelines are used to align and position objects at specific locations. Guidelines can be rotated to enable more object alignment options.
  • When rotating objects, the rotation angle will snap to the angle of guidelines and grids on the current canvas and artboards.
  • Each artboard may contain its own grid and guideline settings.
  • The frame of other objects can be used to precisely align objects to other objects. This snapping option is also known as smart guides.
  • When editing nodes of paths, points can be positioned along arbitrary shapes.
  • When resizing objects, the size of the object can be snapped to specific object sizes, marked as size references.
  • Collision snapping can be used to detect collisions between object shapes when moving objects, and position objects to a precise distance from another object.
  • Formation snapping can be used to position objects in geometric formations with other objects.

Overview

This chapter describes the various snapping and guiding options available in VectorStyler as follows:

  • The most common snapping options are described in this section.
  • Grids - Describes how to setup grids on an artboard or the canvas, and how to create complex grid systems.
  • Guidelines - Describes how to create, modify and use guidelines to position an object. It also contains the description of the Guidelines panel to create and manage guideline groups.
  • Collisions - Describes how to use collision snapping to position objects with arbitrary shapes, and how to customize collision distances.
  • Formations - dDescribes how to use formation snapping to create object arrangements, and how to configure the formation snapping options.
  • Snapping Options - Describes how to use the Snapping panel to control various snapping and guiding options.

Snapping Commands

The various snapping options can be selected and enabled from the View - Guides menu. The following options are available:

  • Enable Snapping - Enable or disable all active snapping options. This option must be enabled to be able to use any of the active snapping options. When disabled, the active snapping options remain active, but are not used.
  • Show/Hide Grid - Show or hide the grid in the current document. The hidden grid can still be active for snapping.
  • Show/Hide Guidelines - Show or hide the guidelines in the current document. The hidden guidelines can still be active for snapping.
  • Show/Hide Slices - Show or hide the export slices margins.
  • Lock Guidelines - Lock or unlock the guidelines on the current artboard or canvas.
  • Make Guides - Convert the selected objects to guidelines. Guideline objects use collision snapping mode, when Snap to Guidelines is enabled, even if collision snapping is disabled. For more details on using guideline objects, see the Guidelines section.
  • Release Guides - Release the selected guideline objects to regular objects.
  • Snap to Grid - Enable or disable snapping to the grid. When enabled, the coordinates defined in the grid settings are used to position objects.
  • Snap to Guidelines - Enable or disable snapping to guidelines. When enabled, moving objects close to the guidelines of the current artboard and canvas will snap the object margin to the guideline. This includes colliding with guideline object shapes, and snapping arbitrary object shapes to rotated guidelines.
  • Snap to Artboard - Enable or disable snapping to the artboard margins.
  • Snap to Slices - Enable or disable snapping to export slice margins.
  • Snap to Objects - Enable or disable snapping to object margins and center axis. This option is also known as smart guides in other applications. The object snapping options take into account the document view rotation angle, to allow for better object positioning.
  • Snap to Size References - Enable or disable snapping object sizes to selected reference sizes. Reference object sizes can be selected using the Size Reference option from the Object menu.
  • Snap to Shapes - Enable or disable snapping points to object shapes. When enabled, moving points close to object shapes will position the point on the object shape.
  • Collision Snapping - Enable or disable collision snapping. Collision snapping uses collisions between arbitrary object shapes, to position objects at colliding locations, or at arbitrary distances. For more details, see the Collisions section.
  • Formation Snapping - Enable or disable formation snapping. Formation snapping uses the location of other objects, to position the moved objects at geometric formations with other objects. For more details, see the Formations section.

Snapping to Objects

One of the most common snapping mode, used to position objects, is the Snap to Objects option from the View - Guides menu. The snap to object option is also known as smart guides in other applications.

When snapping to objects is enabled, moving and resizing objects will adjust the selected object positions, when it is close to the axis defined by other objects. The axis of other objects is defined by the horizontal and vertical margins, and the center lines of the object. Snapping to objects enables the easy alignment and positioning of multiple objects, relative to each other.

In VectorStyler, the document view rotation angle is also taken into account when snapping object margins and center lines. When the view is rotated to a nonzero angle, the object bounding box will be considered in both the document (zero) and the view (nonzero) angle. This creates additional snapping options for object shapes, as the direction of the snapping axes will be at a nonzero angle.

  • Check the Snap to Objects option from the View - Guides menu, to enable snapping to object margins. The Enable Snapping option must be checked.
  • Move objects on the canvas. When the moved object margin or center axis gets close to the axis of another object, the moved objects are positioned to match the margins in a direction.
  • The matched object snapping is indicated with red lines.
  • Rotate the document view to snap objects at nonzero angles.
  • Rotate the document view to snap objects at nonzero angles, relative to the document coordinate space.
  • By default, objects are snapped only to other objects that are visible at the current document zoom and rotation.
  • The Snap to Visible Only option from the Snapping panel menu, enables or disables snapping to visible objects only. When enabled, objects are snapped only to other visible objects. When disabled, objects outside of the visible area are also considered for snapping.
  • The Snap to Object option accessed using the Options button in the Object Options view, can be used to disable snapping to an object.

Snapping to Shapes

When editing paths and curves with the Node tool, the path nodes can be positioned on other object shapes, by using the Snap to Shapes option from the View - Guides menu.

When the snap to shape option is enabled, moving point like selections will position these points on the closest shape. This option can be used to place path nodes over other shapes.

The Snap to Shape option accessed using the Options button in the Object Options view, can be used to disable snapping to the shape of an object.

Snapping Sizes

In some workflows and designs, resizing objects is done with the intent to set the object width or height, to the size of an other object. This can be achieved using the Snap to Objects option, if the objects are perfectly aligned in the current view rotation, or in the document space.

The Snap to Reference Sizes option enables or disables snapping to other object sizes, regardless of the position of those objects. Reference object sizes can be selected using the Size Reference option from the Object menu. Snapping to non-aligned object sizes, can be useful when creating multiple similarly sized objects.

To snap objects to reference sizes, use the following steps:

  • Select the objects whose size will be used as a reference size. Use the Size Reference option from the Object menu, to enable the size reference on these objects. Multiple reference sizes can be enabled in a document.
  • The size reference objects can also be on other canvases of the same document.
  • Enable the snapping option using the Snap to Reference Sizes option from the View - Guides menu.
  • Start resizing an object or a selection of multiple objects.
  • When the object size is close to the size of a size reference object, the resizing snaps to the reference size.
  • Existing size references can be removed, by selecting the object, and unchecking the Size Reference menu.

Using size reference objects is a good way to limit the various object sizes to snap to. This may not be the preferred choice when the current design contains a few objects only, or when snapping to all other object sizes is required.

To snap to any object size (not just size references), use the Snap to All Object Sizes option from the Snapping panel menu. When enabled, resizing objects will snap the size to any object size visible with the current document zoom and rotation.