Crystallize Tool for Illustrator Tutorial

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By Andrew Buckle, Updated : 2021

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Crystallize tool in Illustrator is a powerful tool to manipulate and distort designs in all kinds of unique ways to create the most amazing open and closed paths, it is found in the toolbar (in the same location as the wrinkle warping tool) and can be used with open and closed paths. This tutorial shows you how to use the crystallize tool.

 

1. Where ?

The crystallize tool can be found below the width tool in the tool panels. It works on standard paths and not type (unless expanded) and other objects. It can be used to great effect with blends as well as meshes and warps and repeat and more. You can use tool in most of the recent versions of the application. It is a path distorting / warping / points generating / tangling / shaping tool for all kinds of amazing artworks.

 

2. paths to distort and warp

Access the tool and work on the path or paths or selected paths by applying as a brush stroke and applied over different areas of the path or paths. The points will shift and points will be added depending on the detail / complexity settings. The paths will move inwards or outwards depending on the tangent / anchor settings as well as the direction of brush stroke and intensity and width / height of the Illustrator crystallize tool.

 

3. Access settings

Access the different settings for the tool by double clicking the tool or pressing return. You can then change the width and height of the brush, they can be 300 and 300 or 10 and 600 etc and if the width and height are different then the angle of the brush can be changed. Once you have changed the settings and left the panel then you can apply the brush / tool and distort the points etc of the path or paths.

 

4. Complexity and detail to add more points

You can increase the detail and complexity and add a lot more points, it is an interesting effect and creates some intense line designs but it can mean your path has 100s of additional points and can cause the application to slow down in a serious way.

 

5. Intensity and creating wow artworks

You can set the intensity to 100% and you will generate a lot of points and extreme distortion. If you want to apply the effect multiple times it is probably best to reduce to the intensity to 5% etc or if you want to add just a subtle distortion around the edge of the design

 

Or a subtle distortion using a low setting for the intensity for the effect. Keep the complexity low and detail low as well but still many points will be added but they will just cause a slight ripple to the edge of the path

 

5. Use tangents or / and anchors

You can also change the vector tool to only work with anchors or only work with tangents (in and out) which will change the end result of the shaping. You can create all kinds of unique artworks using the tangents / anchors, turning them off and on. They are also useful once you have finished using the tool and you can then further manipulate the designs with other tools such as the direct selection tool or shaper tool etc

6. Angle to change the direction

You can change the angle direction and make a big change to the direction of the effect

 

30%

 

60%

 

7. Use the tool with meshes etc

You can also use the tool with many other features of the application such as using it with meshes and create beautiful painter like effects. Create a mesh using the toolbar and then add the colors and then apply the tool over the entire design or just a couple of points. You can also re-color the artwork in endless ways using the swatches The generated mesh design can also be easily saved to the symbols panel for future use.

 

8. Open paths / closed paths

You can use the tool with open paths (such as spiral designs) as well as closed paths, paths without fills, paths with multiple fills etc. The artworks generated can also be used as an amazing resource for brushes. You can also color the generated lines with features such as the swatches as well as perhaps apply graphic styles to the lines to create even more unique designs and these can all be manipulated via the appearance panel and additional options can be added to each of the paths generated.

 

9. Repeat feature

You can also use the tool with the powerful repeat feature found in the object menu and repeat and radial. You can use it before you enter the repeat or use it within the repeat and you can combine the effect across multiple instances of any object modified. You can use it to create some seriously complex designs but it should be noted that it will generate a lot of paths and if the paths have a lot of points, this can be a resource killer.