VectorScribe Plug-Ins For Illustrator | Manipulate Points And Paths | Tools

Youtube video on subject

Plug-in set

VectorScribe plug-in set is a powerful set for Adobe Illustrator, from Astute Graphics. Check out their website for the demo set as well as more info as well as their freebie plugins

Initial thoughts

I love Astute's Phantasm set - the halftone tool is amazing, also the color tools have proved very useful, MirrorMe, WidthScribe etc they are all amazing. This set (dynamic shapes, PathScribe etc) also has proved very useful - this time in the manipulation of paths and they are all super easy to use.

Toolbox / panels

The set adds a few new tools to the tool box as well as some new panels to the window panel. To get the full tool you need the toolbox and the panels, and there are an awful lot of settings available on those panels but they are generally all well laid out and fairly obvious in their use.


A powerful tool to manipulate segments, you can drag segments and re-shape a path in 1000s of different ways. Instead of the standard technique of working from the points, this filter works on paths so you can click anywhere along the path and manipulate the path - in most cases this works really well and you can pull and push the paths to create some truly unique shape decorative graphics without adding any additional points. All very effective and very useful. I have already used the filter to create many weird and wonderful shape decorative graphics. You can also manipulate the path / points using the numerical input. The only thing I would love to see there is an up-down control so I can shift the points 1pt at a time. Just entering numbers is such a cold way to approach path editing. You can also smooth points, split paths - all very useful features. If you select a symbol and then expand via the object menu, you can then use the plugin to manipulate all kinds of symbols.

Dynamic measure

Interesting tool, certain there are many great uses for it. Great for showing distances between certain parts of a path, as well as angle. Neat. The generated measurements can also be converted to standard paths which are then locked. The preferences dialog alone comes with more options than you find in many filters. Select dynamic measure tool in toolbar. Click anywhere in the art board. Drag the tool to another position (you will see a display giving details of distance etc). When you pass over a path, you will see an indicator saying how many points etc. Click to end Youtube video on subject


A quick way to modify the constraining angles used by the main application. Not exactly certain I will ever use this but I am certain there might be times. I use smart guides but generally only in 45 degrees but perhaps I would like them to be in 30 degrees (why not 10 degrees?)

Dynamic Shapes

Allows the creation of a donut, circle, square etc but in a live manner. You can use the tool's panel and tool to manipulate the interactive points on the design as well as change various settings as well as scale, location, angle etc. If at any point, you go wrong you can always go to the right side menu and select basic shape to return everything to the default. You can add in pie slices for some of the vectors as well as rounding / corners as well as other functionality, also you can quickly create a new shape and continue to work with that for rapid vector designs. Shapes include also speech bubbles, gears, hearts, arrows etc Once you are happy with your design you can remove the dynamic status or just expand it via the object menu. Youtube video on subjectYoutube video on subject

Dynamic Corners

Corners, well the application already has this but this implementation is really well done and easy to use via the tools (for individual changes) and via the panel for multiple selected points or the entire path. You can create all kinds of unique corner designs with star shapes, rectangles, paths etc. You can round them, chamfer, negative space etc as well as apply different methods and also still use the interactive features. Youtube video on subject

Extend Path

One of the new tools is the powerful extend path tool. It can also be called a remove / erase path tool as well as the extend path works in both directions and proved to be one of the best and most fun tools of the new version. I love it. I love using the tool with strokes, with width profiles and much more. Start with a basic line and you can create wonderful smooth curved designs in seconds. As mentioned, you can also remove or erase the line which is very, very handy. Just select one of the markers that appear as you hover above the start and end points of the line and drag and the line can be extended or removed with a flourish. You can also stop mid-flow and modify the direction of the curve. The direction of the extend is already visible in a preview line and if that direction is not the intended direction, just stop and modify the curve (such as turn the curve up or down or left to right etc using the standard draw tools or perhaps PathScribe) and then continue with the stroke. You can also use the tool with closed path but the closed paths must be split (to create an open path - use the PathScribe). Very intuitive and just plain fun. Youtube video on subject

Reduce, Youtube video on subject

Smart remove brush

You can find it in the tools. Double click to see the settings (basically tolerance). Set it low, and less points will be removed but it will keep the shape of the applied path; set to 100 and it will remove more but it still keeps the general shape of the path, open path or closed. This is a great tool to remove the excessive points created when you use the blob brush or width profiles etc (on expanding). Simply apply the tool over the part of the path or paths you want to change and you can see the point vanish away. Super smart. Youtube video on subject


The panels have all been updated throughout and there are just zillions of great features on all the panels, some that appear to make little sense but can be quite powerful applied right. There is also a right side menu with a lot of additional functions

Minor issues

There are places where sliders would help where they have just an edit field (I really don't like up / down functionality) and some areas where interactivity would be a great help. Dynamic shapes has pie features, angle features etc in some but not in all but still there are a powerful set of tools. So many icons and tools, perhaps if they could be colored slightly differently, it is hard to work out which tool is which.

Thumbs up

Overall. 9.5/10 effects tool. I found most of the tools very useful and will use in many different projects such as creating custom shapes, brush designs and more. The new features are a wonderful topping on top of an already powerful plugin set.