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Drawing a continuous arc

From: Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials

Video: Drawing a continuous arc

In this exercise we're going to draw this nicely curving line right here and we're going to do so using the Arc Tool, which is one of the simpler tools you use inside Illustrator, although there are a lot of interesting keyboard tricks available to you when you're using the Arc Tool. The great thing about the Arc Tool though, is that it ensures nice smooth curves, so that we don't have any weird hitches or transitions inside of our curves. And I'm working inside of The template.ai file and the only change I've made to this file so far, is to add this vertical line here as per the previous exercise.

Drawing a continuous arc

In this exercise we're going to draw this nicely curving line right here and we're going to do so using the Arc Tool, which is one of the simpler tools you use inside Illustrator, although there are a lot of interesting keyboard tricks available to you when you're using the Arc Tool. The great thing about the Arc Tool though, is that it ensures nice smooth curves, so that we don't have any weird hitches or transitions inside of our curves. And I'm working inside of The template.ai file and the only change I've made to this file so far, is to add this vertical line here as per the previous exercise.

If you're working along with me inside the original Horus.ai, illustration more the power to you. I'm going to select the Arc Tool from my little Line Tool palette here, or I could select the tool from the Line Segment Tool flyout menu. Either way, go ahead and grab that Arc Tool and then you might just start dragging with the tool to get a feel for how it works, and in my case I'm drawing an arc clockwise inside of my illustration. That's fine for now, no problems there. Note that you can press the Shift key while using the tool to draw a perfect quarter circle, like so.

I'll go ahead and release that key. I can also press the spacebar to move the arc on the fly. Now I'll release the spacebar. Another key you can press, you can tap the C key in order to close off that arc, so that your drawing a quarter oval, or press the C key to make those closing lines go away once again. Finally you can press the up and down arrow keys. This is a wacky one. You can make the slope more convex or more concave. So this is the result of pressing the up arrow key. This is a result of pressing the down arrow key.

Now if you get things all messed up like this and you want to return to your nice fluid arc once again, then just go ahead and release the mouse button, undo the addition of that line by pressing Control+Z or Command+Z, and then click with the tool in order to enter the Arc Segment Tool Options dialog box. Now, if you click with the tool you will end up creating a new arc after you accept these settings. If you click OK, you will create an arc. Compare this, there's another way to work. If you don't want to create an arc, you just want to reset your settings. You can press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to bring up the Arc Segment Tool Options here.

Then go ahead and enter 50 for your slope, and then click OK. Nothing happens. In other words, you don't make a new arc, but you did modify the default settings for the tool and now if you start dragging, everything's better once again. I'm going to undo that line, because now we're going to draw the real arc here. I want you to start dragging at this location here. So at this horizontal guideline, and I'm going to drag downward and notice I'm going in the wrong direction. That is my arc is progressing in the wrong direction and I'm going to flip it by tapping the F key. That's all it takes. Just tap the F key and it'll go the right direction, and only do that of course if it's going the wrong direction in the first place. But just note, the F keys flops it back-and-forth. Very cool function.

Once you get to this location here, go ahead and snap to this bottom guideline, this bottom ruler guide and then release and you have drawn your arc. Now in my case it's not filled and stroked properly. For some reason, for whatever reason I have a transparent fill and stroke. So I need to go ahead and lift the attributes using the Eyedropper Tool. I need to click on one of these lines here in order to lift the proper attributes. Bear in mind when using the eyedropper that you need to exactly click the right location. If you click slightly off center you can end up filling this line instead of stroking it. So you need to click dead center inside of that line here, inside one of the properly stroked lines.

And that's a function of having selected that Object selection by path only Preference setting in a previous exercise. Remember that one? So if you selected it then, you need to make sure to click dead center in the middle of a stroke with the eyedropper. Just an FYI in case you run into trouble, but in my case, everything is A-OK. I am ready and raring for the next exercise in which we'll add this little spiral at the end of our arcing line.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials
Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials

114 video lessons · 37004 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
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  1. 59m 53s
    1. Welcome to Illustrator CS3 One-on-One: The Essentials
      2m 0s
    2. The unwelcome Welcome screen
      6m 35s
    3. Browsing Illustrator artwork
      4m 53s
    4. Bridge workspaces and favorites
      6m 8s
    5. The anatomy of an illustration
      7m 2s
    6. Examining a layered illustration
      5m 38s
    7. Customizing an illustration
      5m 21s
    8. Creating a new document
      6m 12s
    9. Changing the document setup
      6m 51s
    10. Saving a document
      6m 14s
    11. Closing multiple files
      2m 59s
  2. 1h 3m
    1. Preferences, color settings, and workspaces
      55s
    2. Keyboard Increment and Object Selection
      5m 52s
    3. Scratch Disks and Appearance of Black
      6m 43s
    4. Establishing the best color settings
      5m 35s
    5. Synchronizing color settings in Bridge
      4m 3s
    6. The new CS3 interface
      3m 55s
    7. Organizing the palettes
      9m 4s
    8. Saving your workspace
      2m 33s
    9. Zooming and scrolling
      3m 39s
    10. Using the Zoom tool
      5m 27s
    11. The Navigator palette
      3m 37s
    12. Nudging the screen image
      2m 50s
    13. Scroll wheel tricks
      3m 11s
    14. Cycling between screen modes
      5m 56s
  3. 1h 4m
    1. Why learn Illustrator from a Photoshop guy?
      1m 32s
    2. Introducing layers
      4m 37s
    3. Creating ruler guides
      6m 34s
    4. Creating a custom guide
      3m 28s
    5. Organizing your guides
      5m 50s
    6. Making a tracing template
      3m 34s
    7. Drawing a line segment
      4m 10s
    8. Drawing a continuous arc
      4m 17s
    9. Drawing a looping spiral
      5m 17s
    10. Cutting lines with the Scissors tool
      6m 45s
    11. Aligning and joining points
      7m 58s
    12. Drawing concentric circles
      3m 45s
    13. Cleaning up overlapping segments
      6m 21s
  4. 1h 9m
    1. The anatomy of a shape
      1m 1s
    2. Meet the Tonalpohualli
      4m 8s
    3. Meet the geometric shape tools
      3m 47s
    4. Drawing circles
      6m 36s
    5. Snapping and aligning shapes
      7m 0s
    6. Polygons and stars
      7m 0s
    7. Rectangles and rounded rectangles
      6m 16s
    8. The amazing constraint axes
      6m 30s
    9. Grouping a flipping
      7m 37s
    10. Combining simple shapes into complex ones
      6m 36s
    11. Drawing with Scissors and Join
      6m 3s
    12. Cutting and connecting in Illustrator CS3
      3m 49s
    13. Tilde key goofiness
      2m 55s
  5. 1h 22m
    1. Three simple ingredients, one complex result
      33s
    2. Introducing Fill and Stroke
      3m 42s
    3. Accessing color libraries and sliders
      7m 8s
    4. Using the CMYK sliders for print output
      5m 6s
    5. Using the RGB sliders for screen output
      4m 39s
    6. Color palette tips and tricks
      4m 46s
    7. Creating and saving color swatches
      4m 14s
    8. Trapping gaps with rich blacks
      7m 58s
    9. Filling and stacking shapes
      5m 17s
    10. Dragging and dropping swatches
      6m 16s
    11. Paste in Back, Paste in Front
      5m 43s
    12. Filling shapes inside groups
      5m 16s
    13. Pasting between layers
      3m 34s
    14. Joins, caps, and dashes
      5m 50s
    15. Fixing strokes and isolating your edits
      7m 35s
    16. Creating a pattern fill
      4m 38s
  6. 1h 22m
    1. The power of transformations
      1m 25s
    2. From primitives to polished art
      4m 4s
    3. Clone and Duplicate
      6m 15s
    4. Moving by the numbers
      4m 16s
    5. Using the Reshape tool
      6m 30s
    6. Modifying, aligning, and uniting paths
      7m 0s
    7. Using the Offset Path command
      4m 25s
    8. Styling and eyedropping
      4m 11s
    9. The wonders of the translucent group
      5m 37s
    10. Making a black-and-white template
      3m 48s
    11. Scaling and cloning shapes
      4m 26s
    12. Enlarging and stacking shapes
      5m 6s
    13. Positioning the origin point
      6m 50s
    14. Using the Rotate and Reflect tools
      5m 16s
    15. Series rotation (aka power duplication)
      4m 3s
    16. Rotating by the numbers
      5m 15s
    17. Rotating repeating pattern fills
      4m 32s
  7. 1h 4m
    1. Points are boys, control handles are girls
      2m 16s
    2. Tracing a scanned image or photograph
      4m 34s
    3. Placing an image as a template
      5m 32s
    4. Drawing a straight-sided path
      5m 36s
    5. Moving, adding, and deleting points
      5m 51s
    6. Drawing spline curves with Round Corners
      7m 56s
    7. Smooth points and Bézier curves
      8m 12s
    8. Defining a cusp between two curves
      4m 37s
    9. Adjusting handles and converting points
      7m 4s
    10. Cutting, separating, and closing paths
      7m 31s
    11. Eyedropping template colors
      5m 11s
  8. 1h 28m
    1. Paths never rest
      1m 42s
    2. Meet Uzz, Cloying Corporate Mascot
      2m 22s
    3. Exploring the Appearance palette
      5m 37s
    4. Snip and Spin
      7m 28s
    5. Adding a center point
      3m 57s
    6. Keeping shape intersections
      3m 8s
    7. Lifting fills and selecting through shapes
      4m 14s
    8. Saving and recalling selections
      5m 18s
    9. Rotating is a circular operation
      7m 35s
    10. Lassoing and scaling points
      6m 8s
    11. Using the Transform Each command
      5m 9s
    12. Using the Magic Wand tool
      6m 46s
    13. Converting paths and text to rich black
      2m 27s
    14. The overwrought lace pattern
      3m 21s
    15. Eyedropping Live Effects
      5m 39s
    16. Merging strokes with a compound path
      6m 32s
    17. Selecting and scaling independent segments
      6m 30s
    18. Pucker & Bloat
      4m 49s
  9. 1m 59s
    1. See ya for now
      1m 59s

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