Illustrator: 2014 Creative Cloud Updates
Illustration by John Hersey

Illustrator: 2014 Creative Cloud Updates

with Justin Seeley

Video: Working with Pencil tool fidelity

One of my favorite new features recently inside of Adobe Look how much smoother that is.

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Watch the Online Video Course Illustrator: 2014 Creative Cloud Updates
46m 47s Intermediate Jun 18, 2014 Updated Oct 06, 2014

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Want to stay up to date with the latest Creative Cloud has to offer? In this course, Justin Seeley tackles Illustrator, keeping you apprised of all the latest enhancements and new features. New chapters will be added every time Adobe releases a major update. To start, Justin reviews Live Rectangles, the new Pen and Pencil tool behaviors, and the ability to find missing fonts with Typekit. Check back often for new tutorials.

Justin Seeley

Working with Pencil tool fidelity

One of my favorite new features recently inside of Adobe Illustrator CC has to be the new revamped pencil tool. And in this latest version of Illustrator CC the pencil tool gets even better with added fidelity options. And that's what we're going to explore in this movie. So I'm going to make a brand new document here and just hit OK. If you're not familiar with the changes to the pencil tool, or if you're just now upgrading to CC from an older version like CS3 or CS2, the pencil tool has been completely redesigned. Whereas before, when you had the pencil tool you'd just click and draw out some sort of nasty looking shape that really didn't represent what you were trying to do.

Now when you double-click on the pencil tool, you have these pencil tool options including fidelity here at the top, which will allow you to control exactly how the pencil tool behaves as you draw. Now if you push it over to the left that's going to perform much the same way the original pencil tool did. So for instance, if I hit OK and I just draw something that looks like this, little wave. And then let's click away from it so you can see it. When I zoom in here you can see, see how it just, it finds every little hand movement that I make and its just not smooth at all.

And that's one of the frustrations people had with the pencil tool. They would click it, they would try to draw something, it would look really bad, almost child-like and it was just a frustrating tool. So they wound up trying to use the pen tool or the blob brush or something. And often times you just weren't able to do what you wanted to do with it. Now, with these new fidelity options, when I double-click the pencil tool, I can come in here and do something like this, dragging it all the way to the right. And then when I have the pencil selected, let's do the same kind of shape here, I'll just follow the exact same lines. Look how much smoother that is.

Not quite as many anchor points all throughout here. Let's select everything on screen. Look at the amount of anchor points up here versus the amount of anchor points down here. Very smooth, very flowy, it looks really really good. And so drawing with this new pencil tool is really easy. Especially with a mouse, which is not something that you would think. I mean, drawing with a mouse has traditionally been kind of hard, but with an option like this, it's very easy to create nice, smooth paths. So, what's different in this version of the pencil tool versus the pencil tool that shipped, lets say, six months ago? Well, there are more fidelity options in here and the latest version you actually have five fidelity settings versus four fidelity settings.

So in the middle it's just kind of be, you know, middle of the road, not accurate, not quite smooth. Just kind of right there in the middle. It's still going to recognize some of those unnecessary hand movements maybe, but it's also going to do its best to reduce the number of points that you see on a path. If you drag it to the left here to this little middle point, that's going to be a little bit more to the quote unquote accurate side, meaning it's going to, not smooth as much, but also it's going to make sure that it picks up more of those extra hand movements, and if you go all the way over to the left, of course, that's like old pencil tool, which I wouldn't even go over there.

Then if you go over here, in the middle between this one and smooth, this one is going to attempt to smooth things out just a little bit more. So let's take a look at this one right here. I'll go hit OK, and let's draw this. Same kind of thing. You can see here it's got more anchor points probably than we would have liked. It's not quite as smooth, but still, not bad at all. If we do this and then go back to this middle one, let's take a look here. And again I'm just following the same kind of path. You can see here that this one definitely has sort of that flat, you know, not smooth appearance.

It's not quite as jagged as this top one but there, you can kind of see all the differences between all of those options. You know, you've been able to do this for a while now where you change the fidelity options, but now we have even more levels of control than we did before, so I highly recommend that you check it out. I also recommend that you check out my previous movie on the pencil tool so you can see all of the cool options it has, including completing paths and joining paths together. There are many different things that can be done with this tool and I think when you accompany that with the ability to adjust the fidelity at these small increments, you really have a powerful drawing tool that doesn't necessarily replace, but really supplements, powerful tools like the pen tool.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator: 2014 Creative Cloud Updates .

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Q: This course was updated on 10/06/2014. What changed?
A: We added a new chapter covering the October 2014 changes to Illustrator CC, which includes the new Curvature and Join tools, auto-sizing text, and Design Libraries.
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