Join Mike Rankin for an in-depth discussion in this video Working with dynamic corners, part of Learning Astute Graphics for Illustrator.
With a dynamic corners features in VectorScribe, you can add corner effects to any path with total ease and efficiency. You have precise control over the shape and size of rounded corners, and you can edit those corners easily too. Either individually, or as a group. And VectorScribe's dynamic corners work well alongside the live corners features of Illustrator CC. So let's take a look at the dynamic corners features of VectorScribe. I'll start by opening the dynamic corners panel, which I can get by choosing Window > VectorScribe > Dynamic Corners Panel.
And I'll click the panel to get the dynamic corners tool. And the controls here are similar to what you get with Illustrator CC's live corners. When I move my cursor over a corner of an object, I see a preview of a rounded corner. The radius of this corner is the number that I see in the panel. And I can change it if I want before I create the corner. So I can go to the panel and change 100 pixels to 50 pixels. Go back over in the corner, and I can see the change. I can also use the panel to choose the style of a rounded corner.
And there are three choices, regular corner, which is a typical rounded corner. Negative corner, where the corner is rounded towards the center of the object. And chamfered corner, which is a straight beveled edge. I'll select rounded, and there are several ways that I can add rounded corners. With an object selected, I can click Apply To Selection, to round all the corners. I'll undo that, and to apply rounding to individual corners, I can click on them one at a time, and again I'll undo. Or I can hold the Option key or Alt key on windows, and drag my cursor over them, or I can hold Option+Shift, and drag over any portion of the frame to round all the corners.
When I move my cursor over a radius point, I see the radius of the rounded corner. And also note that this is how dynamic corners look when they're selected. The corner is bold and you can see these three points. And when I drag on any of the points or the corners themselves, I can resize them. Note that you can use the dynamic corners preferences if you need to change the color or the style of the corner display. To open the preferences, double click the dynamic corners tool, or press Return or Enter when you have the tool. And you can see the controls here for the Radius Arrow, the Radius Point Style, the Annotation Color, and the Radius Annotation, which shows the radius number.
As long as I leave the preference for Radius Arrow turned on, I can still see my dynamic corners, even when they're not selected. So if I click away, I can see those arrows, and know that these are dynamic corners. I have to click on either the corner, or the radius point, to select it again. And I can Shift+Click to select more than one corner if I need to. And I can drag to adjust them. If I drag all the way out, I can remove the rounding. And I can remove it from a single corner, by double-clicking on the radius point. And I can easily click to add corners back.
I can also use the panel to enter a specific value if dragging isn't precise enough, so I'll Shift+click to select all four corners. And use the panel to change them all to 50 pixels. Next, let's look at the Method controls in the panel. With these you can change the shape of your dynamic corners. True Radius means the corner will always have a circular shape, because the distance from the radius point to the corner is constant. Standard is similar to what you'd get with Illustrator's round corners effect, and it's also like the relative rounding option in Illustrator's live corners.
Now you won't notice any difference between these two methods when you're dealing with a corner that's 90 degrees, but when the angle is much greater or smaller than 90 degrees, you'll notice a big difference. So, let's start with true radius. I'll delete this object and take the pen tool, and I'll draw out a couple of angles. One that's larger than 90 degrees, and I'll remove the fill, and one that's smaller than 90 degrees. Then I'll click on both corners with the dynamic corners tool. And notice how the corners in this case are circular arcs and the distance is always the same to the radius point.
And that's the distance that I see here in the panel. Now let's make copies of these paths, by switching to the selection tool and Option or Alt dragging down. Then get the dynamic corners tool again, click to select the corners,and change the method to standard. Notice how the distance to the radius point is not constant in these ones. And for the angle less than 90 degrees, the standard rounded corner is much smaller than the one that I created with the true radius method. And for the angle greater than 90 degrees, the standard corner is larger than the one that I made with the true radius method.
Next, let's see how you can use dynamic corners alongside Illustrator CC's live corners. I'll select all these angles and delete them. And If I draw out a star, and click on it with the direct selection tool, I can see these live corners' controls. I can either select an individual point and drag its control, or I can select the whole path, and drag on any of the controls, to round all of the corners equally. In the Control Panel, I can see the corner radius, and I can click to see the corner style, and the rounding method, and these are very similar to the options you get with dynamic corners.
I can also take the dynamic corners tool, hover my cursor over any of the Illustrator's live corners, and click to convert it to a dynamic corner. But it's a little tricky sometimes to go from a dynamic corner back to a live corner. If I switch back to the direct selection tool, and I try to drag, Illustrator sees the corner as up here, and I don't get much of a result. So I'll undo, and this is because there's a fundamental difference between live corners and dynamic corners when I use the true radius method in the dynamic corners.
You can see it if I switch back to the dynamic corners tool, and click away from the star. The arrow here is pointing to a point that was created when I converted this corner from a live corner to a dynamic corner. But if you look at Illustrator's live corners, they always exist in between points. So the addition of the point in the middle of the converted curve really confuses the live corner feature. But if I really wanted to convert back to a live corner, it's easy to do so with the help of the path scribe tool which is also part of VectorScribe.
We'll cover path scribe in detail in a later movie, but for now, let's just show the panel by choosing Window > VectorScribe > Path Scribe Panel. And I'll take the path scribe tool, and click on that one point that was created by the dynamic corners tool. In the Path Scribe panel in the top row, I'll click on the last button on the right. This is the smart remove point feature, and it will preserve the shape of the rounded corner as it removes the point. And now I can click again with the direct selection tool, and work with this as a live corner.
And finally, let's see how you can convert Illustrator's round corner effects into dynamic corners. I'll select the entire star again, and drag out all of live corners. Then I'll choose Effect > Stylize > Round Corners. I'll keep the radius at 50 pixels, and click OK. And to convert this effect to dynamic corners, all I have to do is click to make sure the whole path is selected. And then in the panel, get the dynamic corners tool, enter a radius of 50 pixels, choose the standard method, and click Apply To Selection.
And now I have dynamic corners instead of an effect. So as we've seen in this movie, the dynamic corners features in VectorScribe are simple to use and powerful. They give you precise control over the size and shapes of your corners, and allow you to work intuitively and efficiently. And you can also easily convert Illustrator's live corners and corner effects to VectorScribe's dynamic corners.
- Working with dynamic corners and shapes
- Editing paths with PathScribe
- Connecting and straightening objects
- Drawing circles and arcs
- Using the Snap to and the Rotate at Collision tools
- Mirroring text and images
- Creating vector halftones
- Editing path segments with InkScribe
- Using DynamicSketch
- Working with the WidthScribe brush tools
- Stippling vector graphics, photos, and text
Skill Level Appropriate for all
Q: This course was updated on 5/23/2014. What changed?
A: The author added a new chapter (Using Stylism) featuring eight new movies, on working with effects like drop shadow, feathering, inner and outer glow, and more.
Q: This course was updated on 04/15/2015. What changed?
A: The author added new movies on WidthScribe and Autosaviour Pro, and updated two movies describing the abilities of the entire suite of plugins and the process of installing them.
Q: This course was updated on 02/19/2016. What changed?
A: We added a new chapter, "Using Stipplism," which covers stippling vector graphics, text, and photos with the controls and stipple symbols in Astute Graphics's new Stipplism plugin for Illustrator.