How To Align Shapes/Objects to a Path

I’m sure there is an easy way to do this but I’m not finding it.

This is part of an SVG that I opened in Lightburn. The objects that appear to be text are not, they are actually vector shapes.


I need to arrange the shapes along the inside of the circle. The circle in this case is a toolpath and represents the inside of a precut wood circle.

Thanks for any help.

There really isn’t an easy way to do it, unless you are able to switch to a similar text font, and apply text to path. If not, you would have to move each character and rotate them to follow your circular shape. If you don’t think you can do it, PM me your file, and tell he how far away you want the top edge of the characters from the edge of your circle.

Thanks for the offer Ralph. I was able to fix it manually but was hoping there would be a software function as doing it by man is a bit tedious.

As @RalphU suggests, this would not be difficult to reproduce the text within LightBurn and curve in one of the ways LightBurn provides. Fonts and Text - LightBurn Software Documentation

In this case the font wasn’t terribly unusual but what if it wasn’t text? Then even if you recreated the objects the only way to align them to a path or object would be manually which becomes very tedious.

@Rick Any possibly of a way in the future to do the object alignment to path or is this something that will always need to be done in AI, Inkscape, etc and then brought into Lightburn?

Thanks for any insights, suggestions, ideas.

You can add it under “suggestions / wishes”, right next to the magnifying glass, top right, but I think such a wish already exists. If it exists, you should support this suggestion.

LightBurn does provide a ‘Copy along Path’ to allow you to align to a path, but that copies the original shape some number of times. The hard part is these shapes are random, may have multiple parts to make an object, and know nothing of each other, but we want the result to be readable as something our eye/brain sees as text. Not easy to address in a clean way once Text is turned into just paths. :slight_smile:

How do you accomplish this in these external tools?

Two-point rotate could be used to make this a bit faster, but we don’t have an easy way to align a series of arbitrary shapes to a path.

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I’m not an expert in either program but I’ll play with them a bit and get you some screenshots.

Thanks for the help so far and for at least taking an interest. I was a developer for 37 years so can feel your “guys” pain.

@Rick Here is a bit older video but does show aligning a series of object around a path. In this case he is careful to point out that the centers of the objects/circles are aligned and it will be interesting to see if the objects not being aligned affect the outcome. Also I realize these objects are circles so there isn’t a top or side that might need to be rotated like with my original letter objects or even any non-circular object so this example leaves a lot out.

Here’s the link Align objects evenly around path using Illustrator - YouTube

You can recreate your example Adobe Illustrator link easier in Lightburn. See animated GIF.

Thanks @RalphU. Unfortunately the example in the video I linked to is a poor example of what we are discussing, which is how in Illustrator you can align multiple objects along a path. A better example would have used multiple non-circular shapes like squares, triangles, stars, ovals, etc.

The take-away that Rick and I are discussing is what are the steps required in Illustrator or Inkscape to align multiple discrete objects to a path.

If you look at the first post you’ll see that I have a svg that i purchased that has some text that has been converted to object, so that while it looks like text it really no longer is so you can’t manipulate the letters the way you can text. In this case the letters could just as well be any vector object of any shape.

You’ll see in that post that the letters don’t match the curve/arc of the pre-cut sign board that I want the letters to line up with so we’ve been discussing what steps these other programs use to make this work…

If you focus just on the SVG example, and what is the easiest way to align letters that paths around a circle, It’s pretty easy in Lightburn. Using that specific example, there is no magic way to do it in CorelDraw, Illustrator or Inkscape. Illustrator does have a nice trick called making a scatterbrush, but you can’t easily control the number of shapes.

Breaking down your example. Let’s assume you want to align the top of the letters about .25" away from the outer edge of a 18" diameter circle. I traced your screen capture, and scaled it to 18" diameter. The letters aren’t the best because they were traced. They are good enough for this example.

Move the letters to the side, and draw a 17.5" diameter in the center of the 18".

Here is where you need to be consistent, and rotate and align 1 letter at a time. There is no easy way in AI or Inkscape to use the letters you have and align them to the path. But you can make it easy for yourself in those programs and LB. Here is how I do it.

Each letter need to be rotated so it is at 0 degrees, and the top of the letters need to aligned to the inner circle. I am using a circle on layer T2, so it is reference only. The height of the letters is about 1.66". Now Use Lightburns View Shape Measurements tool along with drawing a line thru the middle of each layer starting from bottom to top. You then use the LB tool to determine the rotation of the letter.

Rotate the first letter 60 degrees and it will now be good enough. then drag it to the top edge of inside circle. I also drew some reference lines that are at 15 degrees.

Select the inside reference circle and the letter W, and key in -100 in rotation box

Now do the E. You can also set your shape move increments to small numbers, so you are nudging the letters into position at top of inside circle, then rotating. If you keep both letter and circle selected, you can keep rotating in small amounts until it gets close. The angular reference lines help you get the first rotation of each letter in the ballpark.

When you get to a letter that you already positioned, select letter and duplicate. Then select letter and circle and rotate. Here I am doing E. After it is in position, select the word WELCOME, group it, and select inner circle and rotate -15.

Finish the word TO, and select the 2 words and group. now select grouped words and inner circle, and rotate until it looks good.

@RalphU What you described is pretty much how I did it for this example. Since this example is letters, if there had been a lot more text and since the font is pretty generic I could have simply deleted these letters and recreated the whole thing as a text string and used the built-in text bending or text on a path features.

This was just an example though. What my ultimate goal is, is to develop a aztec style “calendar” which has many hundreds of objects arranged in concentric circles, I’m sure you’ve seen some of them, and hand arranging, manipulating and placing each one by hand would be very tedious and time consuming.

It is possible to do this in Illustrator using the blend tool but I was hoping to not have to get that deep into Illustrator since Lightburn is much more user friendly and has become quite an advanced vector design tool.

Thanks again for such detailed information and all the time you took testing and documenting this. At the very least you have developed a resource that others with a similar situation to the original post can use.

Thanks again.

Just a thought… I guess you could create your own symbol font where each character represents one of your graphic objects. You could then use the text manipulation tools (Apply Path To Text etc.). I seem to remember being able to do this in CorelDraw, I expect you can do it in Illustrator too and it looks as though you can do it in Inkscape. There appear to be some free font editors that you could use as well.

Thank you all for this feedback. Thought-provoking. This has furthered our internal discussions about how best to provide such options. Thank you. Further investigation required. :slight_smile:

Lightburn is getting there. What @adammhaile has done with virtual arrays is a decent start. That will more likely become refined over time, because that feature can be used as both a design function and a layout function. It will be interesting to see the new functions in LB as time goes on.

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