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Curvature tool

Curvature tool / Illustrator. How to use the curvature tool in Illustrator CC 2019 2018 2017 2015 etc for amazing curved vector designs ? Select the curvature tool in the toolbar. Click the artboard where you want to start the curvature tool path. Shift mouse position and as you move the cursor you will see the line move with you until you decide to click the artboard and release the mouse and the point will then be added at that point. Another way to use the tool is to click the artboard and click again but don't release the mouse and as you move the mouse the line will follow you around until you release the mouse. The rubber band that you see when you use the tool can be hidden (it shows the path as a preview of the end result of the dragging of the mouse) and it is hidden via the preferences command and selection and anchor display panel (bottom of the panel you will see the 'enable rubber band'). I quite like the rubber band option so I never turn it off. To stop editing with the tool, change the tool or press esc key. As soon as you start working with the tool and a path, you will see the rubber band (if the preference is set to ON).

 

Located in toolbar. The curvature can be found in the toolbar near the top and has no options beyond the functionality of creating curved (and straight lines) unless you count a single preference in the preferences section for the 'selections' and enable rubber band functionality which is a lovely way of seeing where the curve will go as you move the cursor. The curvature can be used to create curves but it also has the ability to draw straight lines as well as corner points. Select the tool in the toolbar. Set the stroke color etc as well as width profile and brush stroke (if required). Apply the curve to the artboard by clicking at different positions to create a curved line. As you click, you will notice that instead of the usual points, you will see a bigger dot. To escape, press the esc key and the tool will stop adding points (or alternatively, change to another tool)

 

Convert curved / corner. To convert between curved point and an corner point, double click the point. To convert back to a smooth curve point, double click again. As soon as you select the curvature tool and then go to any editable path, you will see the little points. and you can double click them to convert back and forth between curved and corner. This is the case for closed as well as open points. Double clicking the end points will make no change.

 

Re-start curve. You can re-start the curve at any time by again using the curvature tool. Simply select the tool and go to the curved path and click one of the end points or any of the other points but I always find it more logical to start with the last or first point). If you decide that you have selected the wrong path, simply use the esc key. For example, Select the tool and go to the path and glick the last point of the path (either end). Continue clicking to create the curved path. Press esc to stop the tool. Re-starting the line segment path (or any other path) with the CT - the paths do not need to have originated from use of the tool such as the line segment tool etc. You can go to the line segment tool in the toolbar and create a basic line and then select the path but that is not required. Go to the CT and click one of the ends of the line segment tool. Continue to click with the path to create a curved path. Press Esc to stop using the tool or change tools.

 

Closed paths. How to change the curve into a closed path ? You will find the the tool is always trying to create a closed path and always seems to be heading back in that direction. You can just hover over to the start point with the current curve (rubber band if on) and click that to close the path. If you are not actively working on an open path and want to close that path, go to one of the open points and click that and then go back to the other end of the open path and click that and you now have a closed path.

 

Zigzags. You don't have to use the curvature tool to create just curves, you can use it to create amazing zigzag designs. For example, select the tool and click the artboard and add your first point. Move to a different position, up and across and double click again to create another corner point. Move further along and down and double click again in a zigzag motion. Repeat for as many points you want to add. Press esc to stop generating the points. Go to each of the points added and double click them to turn smooth points / curved points into corner points. Avoid clicking the end points of your new zigzag design. To make it easier to create a regular zigzag I would suggest using the view menu and show grid and then you will be to click on the grid to create a more regular design. The result can then be saved to the CC library for future use in your work. You can also add all kinds of effects to the new zigzag.

 

Selecting points. Selecting points and moving points by using the curvature tool . You can move the curve by simply going to a point and selecting the point and drag in any direction. For example, hover over a point created and click and select and drag in any direction as well as just click on the point and move along the curve to change the curve and repeat with other points. You can also select the points with the standard tools such as the direct selection tool and move paths that way, as soon as you re-select the tool and the path will be turned back into a path that can be manipulated by that tool. You can create all kinds of smooth paths as well as extreme distorted points by manipulating the points - simply drag the segments or the points and the path will be molded and shaped in all kinds of ways.

 

Add / delete points. To add a point, go to the curve with the curvature tool and avoid any existing points and click with the tool to add a point. You will see a little cursor change when you are over the line with a little '+' dsplayed. You can add multiple points to the curve as with any normal path. The more points you add to the path with the tool just makes it harder and harder to edit though. To delete, select that point using the tool and press the delete key. You can continue to add additional points to the curve in countless ways. The points can then be dragged along the path as required.

 

Width profiles and curves. You can use the curvature tool with width profiles (beautiful strokes) to create amazing lines. The generated curve / path is a standard path and as such you can add a width profile to it. For example, select a curved path and go to the width profile (found at the top of the application in earlier versions or via the stroke setting in the properties panel with CC 2019 etc) and add a profile to the path and then change the stroke width setting. Add more points to the curve as required. You can use it to create all kinds of lovely brush stroke designs (and you can also add brushes to the line as well). You can manipulate existing basic paths.

 

Closed paths. If you have a path such as a circle or brush stroke or star etc, you can just select the curvature tool and then manipulate that path with the tool such as moving or adding points or removing points or changing points from smooth to corner or dragging segments to different positions. For example, draw a circle with the ellipse tool and then go to the curvature tool and click one of the points on the curve. Simply drag up or left or right to distort the original circle. You can drag the point closer to the other points (again distorting the circle). You can double click one of the points and instead of a circle, you will have a quick teardrop design with one corner point. You can also double click other points on the circle to turn it into a leaf or eventually a rhombus / diamond shape. You can click anywhere else on the circle path and then drag that point inwards or outwards to distort the original circle. You can select any of the points on the closed path and press the del key to remove the point. For example, create a star using the star tool and then go to the tool and double click all the points on the star to create a more rounded star design. Again, you can click on any of the points with tool and then move the points to distort the star design.

 

CC Libraries and saving work. All kinds of new and unique designs can be created using this new feature of AI CC. You can also save any of the generated curves to your CC library and then use them again in future projects as well as use the artworks in applications such as Photoshop and Adobe After Effects and Adobe Premiere. You can drag the design back onto the artboard from the CC library and then modify the artwork in countless ways. You can also save the artwork to the symbols panel and then use the design as a symbol and re-apply the design as symbol instances. The artwork generated can also be used with features such as the brushes and strokes as well as swatches. You can also export the artwork as an AI file as well as a PDF (more useful) and also as a SVG file and the SVG artwork can be quickly used in Photoshop as well as on web pages. The export command can be used to export the curve design for use in Affinity Photo as well as Affinity Designer and also GIMP and Inkscape (such as saving the design as a PNG file or SWF or JPG)

 

Photoshop. The curvature is also available in that application as well so you can use it to create amazing designs but features such as variable width profiles as well as tools such as vector effects etc are not available. You can do much the same as described above such as clicking the artboard and adding points as well as the removing or deleting those points. The points and curve can then be manipulated by other tools in the application and the result can also be saved / defined as a custom shape.

 

 

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