Join Von Glitschka for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating rounded corners, part of Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory.
- [Instructor] Welcome to Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory. Within my DVG Lab movies you've seen me use various plugins from Astute Graphics. This movie is to answer a few emails regarding rounding in Adobe Illustrator. So in this movie we're going to showcase and compare the native AI Corner Widget functionality with the Dynamic Corners tool plugin that I tend to use more frequently. So first we'll use the Corner Widget tool native to Illustrator.
So right now I have it set up so that we're going to only use the Corner Widget to do some rounding and I want to show you how to do rounding in Illustrator. I should point out though before we even jump into it that Astute Graphics was offering rounding within Illustrator before Illustrator was, before Adobe was, and it was only after they did that that Adobe basically, I'll be nice and say it nicely, but really it's not too nice, they kind of ripped them off and implemented the same functionality, but in my opinion, just did not do that great of a job with it.
And I'm going to demonstrate how it works. So you have your artwork on here, which is more geometric, and we have the freeform one over here. Now I created these specific images to demonstrate how they work. So when you're using the Corner Widget rounding tool if you're on the normal Selection tool keep in mind there's three to four different ways you can select in Illustrator, and each one of them you can access this functionality through, and that in and of itself is kind of convoluted in my opinion, but if we select this art, we're on the regular Selection tool, if I hold down the Command key those Corner Widget controls are going to come up, as you can see here.
So let's go ahead and zoom in on an area of this design specifically. And with this regular Selection we'll go in here. You can see that it gives us this Corner Widget, we can click on that, and then we're able to control that like this, and that's how you can adjust the corner. Let's Command + Z. Once again, if we pull on it notice this reader is telling us how big the radius on this is, 2.4, we can go all the way out until I can go any farther, and that's how you can round it like this.
So the same functionality as Astute Graphics. The only thing you have to keep in mind, there is no floating palette to control the functions. You have to access that in a different way. The way you would access that is you would instead of clicking once on this little node here you would have to click twice and it would bring up this, but once you select a function, right now we're on relative rounding. That's another thing, I don't like how they don't have it like written out, so I get these confused all the time. This is regular rounding and this relative rounding on the right.
So you'd pick what you want. You can do chamfered corners, you can do convex corners, you can determine a radius. Like this one, we could go 3 here, and then click OK, and it will apply that to that specific corner, that in this case we're just going to go Command + Z. So that's in a nutshell how you can control it, but that control panel is kind of hidden in the ether, that's one aspect of this feature in Illustrator that I don't like. It's not quickly accessible.
You have to first select your art, you then have to hold down Command, you then have to double-click on an icon that only comes up if the Command key is held down in order to get access to it. That's like four levels deep, that's really slow, that's not very intuitive either. So we're going to go Cancel on this. If you're with the Direct Selection tool and you have your shape selected you don't have to hold the Command key down, these will just show up. What really confused me with this when it first came out is you see the controls for the Corner Widget, oh, there it is, I can just grab it and I start pulling it, and what it does is it immediately starts rounding everything.
It just automatically assume, oh, you want every corner in your design rounded, which you can kind of get a cool look doing that, but I rarely have need to do that. Actually, I can't think of one time I've ever wanted to do that. But it is kind of cool, so maybe you could think of a design and you could apply this aesthetic to it, and it'd look kind of cool. But we're going to Command + Z out of that. So you don't want to just grab the controller and start pulling it, 'cause it'll affect everything. And this is one reason why I don't like this tool is because sometimes if on a more complex design I'm trying to select a corner, because I don't have to hold down a modifier key these widgets automatically show up and when I'm zoomed out quite a bit and I'm going to select an anchor point on a corner in a design to adjust something I might accidentally trigger this and you know what? It doesn't just trigger one corner, it triggers all the corners of the shape I'm selecting.
And so that got really annoying for me when this first came out and that's why I gravitated towards sticking with the Dynamic Corners tool. Now if you want to isolate a specific corner with the Direct Selection tool you would just select it, and then if you pull that widget out it'll actually round that corner. Now if you're doing it on the fly, for example, if I'm doing it like this, you have to pay attention to your number, so 2.82, and then if I wanted to do this one, then I'd have to pull it out, and 2. well, I can't really, it's jumping, I can't really get it to that 2.82, so I also found it's not very useful to do these kind of iterative rounding edits.
You have to actually do it in another way, which in my opinion is more time consuming, 'cause you have to go to another tool, Lasso tool, like this, select just the anchor points you want, like this. We don't want the inverted ones, we only want these external ones. Then we can go to this tool, and then if I round it then I can only round those. But, once again, if you're rounding it it's telling you what that round is, 4.1, but it also assumes, let's say you start working, you're on to something else and you get to another one, and you're going, oh, what did I round these at? And so you go back here and there's no display to tell you what radius these were.
You can double-click on this and then it will show you within the panel, but once again, that information is hidden, so it makes the process really slow. And the whole idea of adding rounding into Illustrator was to make the process faster and make it go faster. And it really isn't with the way they implemented rounding. So can you round artwork like this? Absolutely. You can just select your art and you can go ahead and decide what anchor points you want, in this case we'll take all of these and I'm just going to round all the anchor points for this design, specifically the ones I'm selecting here, like this.
And then I'll take this and I'll adjust it to what I want, maybe it's right around there. Then I'll take these, these tips, and I'll round this, maybe that's what I want. I'll take these corners and we'll go ahead and round this, like that. And then I don't want his mouth to be too straight there, so we'll add little subtle rounds, like this. So this is how you can use the Widget Corner tool in Illustrator to round stuff.
And then if we go to a more organic shape. This was a geometric shape, this is more freeform organics, in which case if we go to the Direct Selection tool, select our shape, it'll give us those controls. Now if you select an anchor point and then double-click on this icon it'll bring up the controls. The one on the left is geometric and this is relative, so I want the relative one on the right. You select it, then you have to click out of this, and then you can go here and apply this to this.
In this case it's 1.91, but in this case I want all of these points to be relative rounds. Relative means it's taking the angle on each side of the anchor point and it's matching that round to smoothly transition into those curves. So that's why you want to do that. So I'll take this and then I'll pull it out and I want this to be somewhat subtle, like this, and this is how I would round that. So can you round stuff using the Widget Corner? Absolutely, you can do it in Illustrator, it's just not going to be super fast and it's not going to be super easy and at times it's going to get in your way, frankly.
That's why I don't use it. Now I want to switch over to the Dynamic Corners tool and show you why I like it so much and why I think it is just simply a better tool. They're not equal, I think it is better, and it's better because it's more efficient with your time and it goes a lot faster. But in order to use this I had to find a way to hide it within Illustrate, hide the Corner Widget that is within Illustrator. And the way I do that is I go to View and I go Hide Corner Widget.
Now it's still going to show up if you don't do another thing and that is go to Illustrator, Preferences, Selection & Anchor Display, and then under Hide Corner Widget for angles, well, I'm going to put the lowest angle possible, which is 3, and I'm going to go OK. So now if we switch to this same art, different layer here, if I select our art and I go to the Direct Select, notice no Corner Widgets are showing up. It's not displaying. I have my tolerances set so it just won't display.
And now I'm going to go ahead and zoom in and show you why I use the Dynamic Corner tool. And that's this one right here that has a floating palette, that's really nice. And it's its own tool, so it doesn't get in the way of other selection methods, that's why I like it as well. And on this one it has all the same controls. You have True Radius, Standard, you have round corners, chamfer corners, and convex corners. I rarely use any of the two on the right. 99.9% of the time it's always rounded.
But what I like about it is when I'm rounding I don't have to go to someplace off of the point, I go to the point itself, and I can pull it out immediately and it gives me all those controls, it shows me what my tactile feedback is, and I can pull it out and it shows me what the display is, like the other plugin, but here's the difference, I can do one and I go nah, that doesn't look good, let's try that again. And I'll do another one, and I go yeah, I like that one better. And so because I like that one better all I have to do is tap on the other anchor points to apply that, the same rounding to all the other anchor points, I don't have to go in and activate a widget, I don't have to go in to a hidden window and see what the radius was that I applied and then try to match that again or plug in the number and do it that way, I can just click on these and you can see how it can round really quickly.
So this is why I use it. I'll go in and I'll figure out the radius on one and that's all I do, is I just simply do that and just copy those attributes to the other corners. I'll go here, copy this one to the other corners, and there's no wasted time. I don't have to hold the modifier key down, I don't have to click on a display icon on screen in order to bring up a popup window, in order to type in a number, in order to click OK and apply it.
It's just way slower to do it that way. Let's go ahead and just finish the mouth here, like this. So I can do the same thing in a minimal amount of time. I can also undo everything I did here. So we'll go back, we'll undo all the rounds I applied to this, like this, and with this artwork selected I can say I want everything rounded. So I can have the artwork selected and we'll do something absurd. I'll go 3 and I'll go Apply to Selection.
So it will show you that you have rounds on it. Now here's the beauty of this plugin, you can come back later and as soon as you touch on the rounding tool it's going to show you a display of everything you've rounded, which is really helpful in certain contexts of doing certain types of things. Let's go ahead and move over to this organic one. And once again, we'll pick Standard on this one, so it translates from each side of the anchor point and rounds stuff nicely. So I'll go ahead and select this one and we'll go like this, and then I'll just apply that to all of the anchors within my design, like this, and it works really, really well.
And this is why I love this tool, I use it all the time. It's probably the one plugin I use most is the rounding. It's just so beneficial, so time saving, and it's so intuitive. It just works and it works very, very well. That's why I like it. Now some people might be wondering, well if I give this artwork to somebody else and they don't have this plugin will it remove all the rounds? No, it'll just display as if they'd built the artwork that way, it doesn't remove anything.
It's dynamic in that you can go back at any time with this tool and you can simply grab the corner that it has a round applied to it and you can pull it back out or you can continue to edit that round. That doesn't matter, that functionality will always be there. And if you hand it off to somebody that doesn't have the plugin it's just regular vector art with the rounds in it. When it comes to design and art the process of creating is different for everyone and when it comes to details, like rounding, you may prefer the native approach using the Corner Widget tool or you may prefer the plugin, like VectorScribe by Astute Graphics.
As long as the results are what you intended the tools don't much matter in my opinion, but I prefer using a plugin for this type of functionality. It's faster, it never gets in my way, and it's easier to use. Remember, if you have any question you'd like to see me address in a DVG Lab movie then email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for watching DVG Lab and until next time, never stop drawing.
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.