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Free-form path bending

From: Draw Better and Faster with Illustrator CC

Video: Free-form path bending

In this movie, I'll show you how you can directly drag curved

Free-form path bending

In this movie, I'll show you how you can directly drag curved segments using the white arrow tool in order to achieve free-form bending. Now, you might say well DQ you've always been able to this. You've always been able to drag curved segments using the white arrow tool. While for the sake of demonstration I'm going to start things off. In Illustrator CS6. So I've got this Z right here that I created in the previous movie. I'll go ahead and select the white arrow tool, which I can get by pressing the A key. And then, I'll marquee this top segment like so.

Now notice how this control handle is going up and to the left. And this control handle's going up slightly and way over to the right. Notice if I now drag the segment directly, that those control handles remain in lock step with their original levers. So in other words the angles of the control handles do not change, and this happens no matter what so if I go ahead and marquee this segment right here, and drag it around you can see that I can link then each one of the control handles, but I can not change it's angle.

And as a result if I drag too far, I end up getting this kind of effect right here. Now some folks like that, but most of the time I find at least, when working inside of Illustrator, that I want to just be able to drag that curve segment anywhere I like. And that's the way it now works inside Illustrator CC. So I'll go ahead and switch over to the new program and working inside this same free-form Z document here. I'll go ahead and select the white arrow tool or the direct selection tool, if you prefer. Again, you can do so by pressing the A key.

And then I'll marquee this top segment. And now notice that I can drag it to any place I like, and the control handles will move automatically in order to conform with the angle of my drag. And now, I'll go ahead and drag this segment like so, let's say, I might want to move this anchor point up, just a little bit, and now notice, I could go ahead and drag this control handle, like so, in order lift up this side of the segment. Or I'll press control Z or command Z on the Mac to undo that change.

I could position my cursor directly under the handle. And notice that I get that same cursor we saw in the previous movie, that is, the black arrowhead with the little arc underneath it. And if I drag some place in this region right here, along this curved segment, then I will bend it more over here on the left hand side than I do on the right hand side. So you have this amazing degree of control as you can see here. And that is to say, you've got an entire free-form control. Now,if you want, you can while dragging a segment.

And we're not pressing the Alt key or the option key on a Mac, by the way, in this movie, we're just dragging a curved segment with the white arrow tool. If you want to constrain the control handles so that they're perpendicular to the segment. Then you press and hold the Shift key as you drag. Now, you're not going to find that many uses for it sometimes it's going to be helpful as in the case of that king chess piece in the previous movie. But if you don't want that, then of course, you just release the Shift key in order to produce this effect right here. And then, I'll go ahead and drag this guy up a little bit as well. Now, notice that we have two much of an arc right here.

That is, the anchor point sort of too close to this bottom segment. So what I could do. Watch this. I'll go ahead and drag the segment. And as I drag it I'll press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, keep it down until you release your mouse button. And now if I press Ctrl + Y or Cmd + Y in a Mac, to switch to the outline mode, you can see because I had the Alt or Option key down, when using the white arrow tool when dragging a curve segment. You go ahead and create a copy of that segment, which means now I can go ahead and click off the path outline to deselect it, grab this anchor point, move it up to about here.

Let's say should end up looking pretty good, and I might even drag this segment down, right along this left-hand area so that I can bend the left side without modifying the right side that much. And I could just go ahead and drag up on this guy on the righthand side as well if I wanted to. And then I'll press Ctrl+Y or Cmd+Y on a Mac in order to switch back to the preview mode. You can see that we've got a little bit of a wedge. Right there because this open path outline is filled. We're going to go ahead and press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z on the Mac to undo that last move. So I'll press Ctrl+A or Cmd+A on the Mac to select all of the paths outlines and then I'll join them together by switching back to that shape builder tool.

And I'll go ahead and Shift-drag, that allows me to marquee by the way when I press the Shift key. I'll Shift-drag around all these path outlines in order to join them into a single outline, like so. Alright, now I'll switch back to the white arrow tool, and notice that we can also create a wave inside the path outline, which is something we couldn't really do before. We could create that weird loop that we saw at the beginning of the movie. When the control handles cross. But let's say you want this segment to wave up, and then down and around.

Well, then what I could do is go ahead and marquee this segment. You want just the one segment to be selected. And then drag down on this portion, like that. This is something we've never been able to do before. So, you don't have to meticulously drag control handles anymore, which is amazing. You can just drag at the segments themselves. Alright, now I'll marquee this one, and do the same with it. I'll go ahead and move, it's right side down, and then I was too far out, by the way. That's why that kind of went wrong. So now I'll scoot in on the left hand side and oops.

I went ahead and dragged the entire path outline. And that's because I wasn't paying attention to my cursor. So I'll press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z on a Mac, to undo that change. I'll go ahead and marquis that segment. And this time instead of having the white arrow cursor, which is what I had before when I dragged the entire path. I'll go ahead and make sure that I have a black arrow head along with the little arc and I'll drag up like so, and then I'll go ahead and drag down on the segment right at this location there. Now, you've got to be working with a curving segment, by the way.

If you drag on a straight segment, you're going to move the entire segment which is the way it's always been inside of Illustrator. If you want to modify the curvature of a straight segment. You have to either switch over to that Anchorpoint tool, as we saw in the first movie of this chapter, or you can just go ahead and select the Pen tool and then press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and drag that segment like so, in order to add some curvature to it. And I'm going to do that for each one of these straight segments I'm going to bow them out a little bit by Alt dragging or Option dragging every single one of them.

Just for a little bit of pizzaz here I'm going to press the Ctrl key or the Cmd key on the Mac in order to access that last used arrow tool which was the white arrow tool of course. And then I'll drag this anchor point right there so that we have more of a flare at the end of the Z. And I'll go ahead and Ctrl drag on a PC, Cmd drag on the Mac. This anchor point right there down, and then still with the Ctrl or Cmd key down, I can go ahead and drag that curve segment like so in order to move it up a little bit. And then I'll press Ctrl+Shift+A or Cmd+Shift+A on the Mac in order to deselect the path outline.

And tha's how you bend curve segments with complete free-form control, not only bending arcs, but also adding waves to your curve segments, using the white arrow tool here inside Illustrator CC.

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Draw Better and Faster with Illustrator CC

20 video lessons · 8881 viewers

Deke McClelland
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