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Drawing spline curves with Round Corners

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

Video: Drawing spline curves with Round Corners

In this exercise I'm going to show you how to round off the corners in this straight-sided path that represents the canoe full of brave warriors that are pursuing this underwater panther creature over here. It's an Ojibwe thing. Notice by the way, when I'm doing these big scrolls like this, when I scroll a path completely off screen and then back on screen using the Hand Tool, that Illustrator shows the path that had been off screen as being very jagged when it comes back on. That's just to make things quicker, that's just a quick previewing function.

Drawing spline curves with Round Corners

In this exercise I'm going to show you how to round off the corners in this straight-sided path that represents the canoe full of brave warriors that are pursuing this underwater panther creature over here. It's an Ojibwe thing. Notice by the way, when I'm doing these big scrolls like this, when I scroll a path completely off screen and then back on screen using the Hand Tool, that Illustrator shows the path that had been off screen as being very jagged when it comes back on. That's just to make things quicker, that's just a quick previewing function.

As soon as you release your mouse button, everything gets better. Anyway, I happen to be in the Outline mode, and I'm working inside of a catch up document called Straight -sided canoe.ai that's found inside the 07_path_tool folder for those of you are just joining me. And you can tell that this straight angular path here does need to be rounded off because the background image, the image inside the tracing template here isn't nearly that angular. So go ahead and click on the shape in order to select it with the black arrow tool.

And then I'm going to go up to the Effect menu, and I'm going to choose Stylize and I'm going to choose the Round Corners command and that brings up this dialog box here. It's set to a Radius value of 12 points, for me anyway. Let's say I go ahead and, well I'll leave it at 12 points, because I'm not really sure what that's going to give me. What it means by the way, 12 point radius means that it's really assigning circles with a radius of 12 point to each one of these corner points. It's really, they're really quarter circles for what it's worth. But it's difficult to know whether you've got the value right or wrong without previewing it. So what you probably want to do is turn on the Preview checkbox, but imagine your disappointment when you see that nothing happens on screen whatsoever. Is that because the value is way too low? No, because we chose Round Corners from the Effect menu, we are applying a live effect. That means that Illustrator is not harming the original path outline one iota.

It's only applying the effect in the Preview mode and when you print the document, and that's a pretty big deal of course, because it affects how the document really looks, but you're not going to see the results of the Round Corner effect in the Outline mode. So for now, you might as well just click OK because you're working blind. In order to see what you're doing, go ahead and press Control+Y or Command+Y on a Mac or choose the Preview command from the View menu in order to switch to the preview mode as we've done here. Now we can see the round corners, you can see the black stroke with the white fill that represents what the shape is going to look like on screen and in print, but meanwhile we're seeing the original angular path as well, because the path remains the same path it ever was.

The question becomes how in the heck do you modify it? Now that you can see what you're doing, how do you modify your rounded corner settings because you probably do want to change them? Well the first thing I'm going to do is switch my fill to transparent. Fill is active inside the toolbar so I'll just go ahead and press the / key to make it transparent and the reason I'm doing that is so that I can see through to my underlying template even in the |Preview mode. This when I would expect that I go up to the Effects menu and choose one of these round corner functions that are at the top of the Effect menu, like I could choose this command right here, Round Corners or I could go to my original Stylize - Round Corners command down here. Either one is going to give you the same results, which is this: A warning. Illustrator is saying to you, Hey you're not editing the effect, you're applying a new heaping helping of this effect. Is that what you really want to do? Goodness no, is your answer. No, no, no, I want to edit the effect, so just cancel out. What do you do? Well what you do is you go over to the Appearance palette.

So with the path still selected as it is, you go to the Appearance palette, if you don't see the Appearance palette, go to the Window menu, choose the Appearance command, and then you'll notice this item right at the top of the list here called Round Corners. Double-click on it. That is the rounded corners effect that's applied to my path. Now if you click on Preview and let's lower this value precipitously down to 3 points, let's say and then press the Tab key in order to invoke the Preview function. Now you can see it happen real time live in front of you.

I'm going to suggest we take this value up to 14 point. I'll press Tab to accept. Now it may surprise you, because you might think these guys, these warriors, the brave warriors, they're way too rounded, they look peculiar. The reason, not that they looked all that realistic in the first place, but we don't want them looking like that. The reason I'm going with 14 point is because that suits the underside of the canoe very nicely. In order to reinstate some of my corners, some of my angularity associated with my warriors, I've got to revisit the path with the Pen Tool. So go ahead and click OK in order to accept your new round corner setting, then get the Pen Tool.

Let's go ahead and zoom in even farther on this canoe, why don't we. And here's what you do. You've got to add points, like so and don't click directly on the point because if you do that you'll delete it. You need to click just close to the point like this in order to add a new point. Notice that makes things more angular because the Round Corner function has less room in order to round things off between those two anchor points, and what we're taking advantage of here is the spline curve mode. Now Illustrator's widely known as a Bezier drawing application, you may have heard that before and it's so named after this fellow named Pierre Bezier, this French man who was a car designer, still around, I believe, still with us, I think.

And he invented this awesome Bezier drawing system, and it is the better drawing system, but it's also the more difficult drawing system. What we're seeing here is an older drawing method known as spline curves, that will keep things nice and round except where you have points clustered together, and then it'll try to keep things more angular. It does tend to be pretty easy to work with because you just add points where you want corners, but it makes editing a little more difficult as we'll see. So now that we've added a sufficient number of points to sort of angle things off, as you saw me do on screen just now, you can then switch your white arrow tool and drag those points where you want them to be. Don't go ahead and drag them directly on top of each other. Just move them very close to each other.

You can play around with these some more if you want to. I'm pretty happy with what I've got, because after all, I don't need this to be exactly right because the original petroglyph that I'm working from, that photograph of that petroglyph, wasn't all that super accurate as well. It was pretty stylized, I dare say. But yet I still seem to be working, what's that about? I believe you spell it with a C, as in compulsive. I can't stop. Stop me, stop me from editing. I can't stop reshaping. I must go on. Anyway you can drag these things where you want them to be and notice that the path is never quite hitting the points. So the anchor points are always tugging at the path as they are here. Now if you click off the path, that means it can be difficult to locate your anchor point, you can't just click on this stroke because the path's not really there. What you have to do instead is marquee around an area and say, Oh there is, and now continue to drag your points to the places that you want them to be. This is pretty good.

And you know what? This is good enough. I'm left-handed, so I'm going to start using my right hand to slap my left hand in a second. I must stop, must stop editing. This is good enough. Looks really great actually. I'll click off of it. This is my final version, for real. My final version of the brave warriors inside of the canoe. In next exercise we will begin to see how you really to go about creating real curves with the Pen Tool as we explore the real Bezier curve model.

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This video is part of

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

114 video lessons · 37005 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  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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