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Using Envelope Distort

Using the Envelope Distort feature on Bitmap and Vector Objects

(2-Minute Training)

Welcome to Expression Design. When you first launch the program, you'll find the artboard (white area you draw or create in), the tool box to the left. This is where the main tools for creating and manipulating exist. To the right is the property inspector; here you can organize your artwork/ objects using the layers panel, change the color or other various properties using the appearance panel.

You can customize the interface by docking and undocking Toolbars, and changing Option settings.

Let's get started.

  1. So to begin with open Expression Design and Open the file. Activate the selection tool , Select the mouse image. Go to Object/ Envelope Distort/ Increase resolution. Repeat the last step so that you have at least a 4x4 grid.
  2. Activate the direct selection tool to select and manipulate the points of the warp grid to reshape the mouse image. Important to remember that this is a non-destructive function. If you go to Object/ Envelope Distort/ Reset grid the image will reset to its original proportions.
  3. Using a warp group on a vector object is a little different. Use the pan tool to navigate to an empty part of the canvas. Activate the pan tool using the Spacebar. Doesn't matter if your off the artboard or not for this lesson. Activate the Ellipse tool , click and drag out a shape. Use the appearance panel to give the shape a fill color.

    Go to Object/ Envelope Distort/ Make Warp Group. Again you get the warp grid that you can now affect using the direct selection tool.

  4. Lets say that you're not happy with the color and you wanted to add another shape. Simply clicking the fill tab and changing the color in the appearance panel wont work on a warp group. To edit a Warp Group, you need to go to Object/ Envelope Distort/ Edit Warp Group. Now you've entered the Edit Warp Group View. Right away you can see the lines for the grid. If you select the object with a selection tool you can easily change the color using the appearance panel or add shapes or other artwork using the drawing tools. I will click and drag out a few more ellipses and change the colors.

  5. Simply dismiss the view or toggle to the originating document to view the changes.

This lesson was designed to provide a quick introduction to using Warp Groups with bitmap images and/ or vector artwork in Expression Design.

This short lesson was created by Jesse Brown, a freelance designer and presenter for Total Training. Jesse's keen design sense and "big picture" sensibility are among the reasons his skills are in high demand. Total Training, Inc. (, with offices in California and New York, is a pioneer in innovative video-based training for leading software applications. Total Training is best known for its superior product quality, entertaining content, and strategic partnership with Microsoft which includes tutorials in Microsoft software boxes.