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2.6 How to Use the Curvature Tool in Illustrator

Hello, illustrator learners. In this video, we are going to draw these icons using the curvature tool. It's like the pen tool, just a bit easier. Let's get started. All right, to get started, let's make a new blank document, so File, New. It's already loaded with my last thing I've done, okay. So I've set it to inches and it's just remembered. Landscape, US letter, okay. I'm gonna click Create. I'm gonna bring in something we're gonna trace and a little tip for you. If you are bringing in things to be traced, if I leave it here, you can see it's kinda offset a little bit to the right of my screen. It's gonna put my trace document overlapping this edge here. But if I quickly go to View and go to Fit Upward to Window, okay, so it's in the center. Now,when I bring it in, it's going to be in the middle. It's a weird little quirk. All right, so go up to File and go to Place. In your exercise files, there's one called redraw icons.png. And just make sure it's a template cuz it's gonna put it on its own layer, fade it out so we can trace it over the top. Click Place, awesome. Okay, so there's my redraw layer. And we're gonna use this thing here called the curvature tool. That looks very close to the pen tool. If the word pen tool is not new to you, you probably know the pencil. Which we're gonna cover in the next video, is man, it's hard to learn. Not impossible, just harder than the curvature tool. It's a new tool, the curvature tool. I love that Adobe Illustrator invented this tool, it's super quick, super easy, I love it. It's like the simplified version of the pen tool. Okay, so give it a click. And what we're gonna do is we're gonna zoom in on this, it's meant to be a pallet, like an artist's pallet paint thing. Zoom in again. And we're gonna start with a circle in the center here. So we could just use the ellipse tool, I know, but we're learning the curvature tool. And for a circle, just so you know, there are four points that make up a circle. And how you use the curvature tool to do it is you click it once at the top, once on the side, once on the bottom, and you can see there, I'm gonna start again. Click once, nothing happens. Click again, and you're like, this is not very curvature tool like. Okay, and it's not until you kind of move the mouse out, I'm not doing anything, it just kind of starts guessing about what you wanna do, which is super cool. Click once at the bottom, click once there, click once more to close it all up, and it's a pretty good circle. I haven't done it perfectly but it's pretty clever. What I'll do as well is I'm going to turn my fill to none and my stroke to black one point. You do that as well, or pick anything. [LAUGH] Just turn the fill off in the middle so we can see through. So drawing circles, easy enough. What we're gonna do now is this outside where there's curves going each way. So where do you know how to collect? We kind of know from the circle here that there kind of should be a point out here, maybe one at the bottom. But all the rest of them are like where do I put this curvature tool? And the answer is it's just where the apexes are, where the middle of a curve is. So you can kind of see there's a curve here and there's another curve going the other way. I'd say that's the middle of this one and kind of there's the middle of this one going that way. So let's start there in this dip. So I'm gonna click once, remember nothing really happens. I'm gonna click the second one at the top here, cuz that feels like the middle, this feels like the middle of this one. We can move them afterwards, don't worry. And again, we get this wierd straight line, and it's not until we kinda move over here do we decide, now don't worry about the curve, the blue line coming out. Don't try and line it up here, just know that, remember our circle before kind of had one over here and there was one down at the bottom? And you can see this curve looks not very good, right. But when I come down to this second one, there's a little bit of faith involved, okay. You learn how the curvature works a little bit, kind of from experience. It's kind of a little bit hard to explain sometimes. But if you put the curves kind of halfway around this curve, a little bit down here, maybe another one there. You can delete and add them later on. Now this curve here, where is the center if it, kind of about there. And then back to the beginning here, and all I do is click once and it completes it all up. Cool? Now the last thing about it is a really fluid line. Okay, a couple of things that you might run into trouble with is you might find it a little bit tough using the smart guides. I've turned mine off, I cheated at the beginning, okay. I should have said at the beginning, but go to View and I've turned smart guides off by clicking the little tick and it just turns off. And make sure you turn it on later on cuz it's quite helpful. I'll try and remind you. But sometimes, like I said at the beginning, the smart guides can just be more hassle than they're worth. All right, what else can we do with this curvature tool? Say you kinda like it and you're like, almost there, this one's a little bit wrong. So I'm still using my curvature tool, I can just click, hold, and drag it around, okay. Cuz I told you one needs to be there and one needs to be there. But when you are doing it on you're going to be like, I don't know where these go, you're just going to click all over the place. So what you can do is fix them up, just throw them in, don't worry, get them in roughly where they need to go, even if it looks paired, okay. You can grab these guys, click on them, it kind of goes blue, and I can click and drag them just how I want. You need to be a bit further up there, and maybe you around here a bit more, and maybe you look better down here. You can see I'm kind of trying to fix it by moving these guys around. Cool, what else can you do? Maybe you've not got enough, okay. Say you didn't put one over here, okay, and it's just and you just can't do it. You can move this one around, and you can move this one down. There's just not enough control, right. So I need another one to help me out. So to add another one, all you do is use the same tool, and just you can kinda see the icon changes from this. See the little plus appears? So asterisk plus, okay, the little plus button just says I'm gonna add a point, and then it'll give you a little bit more control. And a kind of tip I guess, the pro tip is, it will be most smooth with the least amount of these little dots. They're called anchor points, okay, the fewer of these you can have, the nicer the curve will be. So you might get tempted just to put in loads of these because then you get to do this really fine adjustment. Okay, and it doesn't matter how good you are. I'm pretty good, okay, but if I have lots of anchor points, okay, it can look kind of good. But then if I click off and I'll turn off my trace layer, can you see it's just a little wobbly by the bottom? It's not bad, okay, but it's just sort of, it's not super smooth like up here. Look how good that is, and look how little bit wobbly that is. Okay, delete points, use the same tool. So curvature tool, give them a click, and all you do is hit delete on your keyboard. Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, and goodbye. [LAUGH] All right, now there will be a point where this curvature is good but it's hiding some of the nitty gritty detail, okay. So if there is times when you just need a little bit more control, what you can do is you can ditch the curvature tool once you've got it all in there, and start using this guy here. Remember the black selection tool, okay, the black arrow? That's for moving this thing around, kind of the whole thing physically. The white arrow, remember, is moving little parts within this object around, okay. So I can use my white arrow, click on any of these anchor points, and say it's this one here that I wanna fix. I can physically move them like I did on the curvature tool, but also what I can do, I'm gonna zoom in a bit, is I've got these two little guys here, they're always there. The curvature tool hides them just to make the tool I guess a little easier for people that are new. But these guys can be quite handy. So this is considered what is an anchor point, okay. So this is the line has to run through him. Doesn't matter, has to go through it. These guys influence how that line kind of gets to it. So they're kind of like influencing the line or gravity, they're kind of trying to pull it towards them, they're like little moons. So watch this, if I grab it and drag it, can you see it's influencing the line. It's not like 100% moving it to follow it, but it's kind of dragging it out, okay. And you can do a couple things is you can drag it in nice and tight, so both sides. You can see with the handles quite close to the anchor point, it's quite an acute curve, okay. Acute, I'm not sure if that's the right word [LAUGH] but kind of a pointy curve, okay. And the further they are out, if I drag them right out, can you see they make it quite flat through that anchor point. So there's a bit of playing around and getting used to these guys. Click, hold, and drag, and don't be afraid to do this. Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, and just kind of work out what it does. And kind of I'm looking for this side a little bit, and then this guy over here. And what you'll find with, it's kind of a see-saw, okay, where I fix this side, I get this looking nice. And then I've wrecked that side, and you're like, no. Fix that side, and I've wrecked that side. And what you'll find is little by little you've kind of worked them in until they both kind of sit happily. And you can also see this guy is influencing the line as it comes through this anchor point, so we might play around with him as well. So this white arrow gives us really fine adjustment. It's a bit finicky, but sometimes you need finickiness to get it all nice and pretty. All right, so that's doing a big curve, let's do corners. Okay, so the curvature tool. Okay, if I just click once, click once, you end up with kind of a weird looking, it's meant to be a funnel. Okay, this funnel here obviously is not working good with the curvature tool. So you can use the curvature tool to do straight lines. So I'm gonna just hit delete, and just delete everything there. So to do a corner, so clicking once gives you a curve, right. So what you do is you double click to get a corner. So I know this is a corner, double-click. That's a corner, double-click, double-click, double-click. You get the idea, right? So doing straight lines is easy, just got to remember to double-click. Now when you go back to the beginning, this is gonna be weird. Watch, double-click. Whoa, what happened? It's a quirk, okay. For undo, undo again. So what's happening is, when I get back to the beginning, it already knows it's a corner cuz we told it at the beginning. We double-clicked and said, you're a corner. So when I get back to here, I don't have to need to do anything, okay, just click it once and it kinda just accepts whatever I originally put it there. If I double click it, what it's saying is I'm completing it and then trying to convert it into a curve, okay. So it's a bit weird. All you need to know is when you get round to the beginning, there's my curvature tool, you wanna join a back up, you don't have to do anything, just click once. Curve, corner, just kinda finish it up by clicking it once. If you do end up doing this, [SOUND] [LAUGH] okay, all you need to do is double-click it again and it converts it from curve to corner, curve to corner, okay. So you liked all this but you want these to be curves, double-click, double-click. And we have [LAUGH] kind of a weird funnel. So let's do this example now. This is a bit of both, curves and corners. So what you've gotta do is, what I find the easiest for new students is before you click is to ask yourself, is this a corner or curve? Okay, this is a corner, clearly, okay, some sorta sharp corner. So and remember, corners are double-clicks, okay, sharp edges. Remember clicking once gives you lovely curves, and double-clicking gives you a corner. So that's what we're gonna do. This one here, double-click. Now this big arc along here, where is about halfway? I feel like that's about halfway, click once for a curve. Is this a corner or a curve? It's a curve, so just click once. Over here, corner or a curve? It's a curve. It's a curve. Back to here. Remember, it doesn't matter what you decide. You've already called this a corner, so I just click it once. If you accidentally get it like this, what do we do? Double-click it again and it goes back to being a corner. Again, if we haven't got it quite right, we can just drag these around. We can add new points by just clicking anywhere. And we can delete them just by hitting the Delete key on our keyboard. Same again here. I could copy, paste it, reflect it, but that's not what we're doing, we're learning the curvature tool. So this curve here, I'm gonna click once cuz it's a curve, right. Is this a curve? Yeah, it's a curve. Yeah, it's a curve. I'm guessing because I'm like, where do these curves go? I can adjust it later on, don't worry. This one here is it a corner or a curve? It's a corner. So what was it? Double-click. Down here, curve. Back to the beginning, just click it once. It's a bit ugly, but we can fix it. Drag it around, drag it around, add remove. And if I want to kind of finesse it a bit more, remember the white arrow. Click on this fellow, move him around, start adjusting the handles, okay, and get a bit more finer control. All right, let's look at this fellow here. Pretty easy, except I wanted to have something like this cuz I wanted to show you a straight line that goes into a curve. That's the kind of last thing we need to acknowledge or work out how to do. So let's do the circle at the beginning. So curvature tool, and just so you know or just so you remember, it's one in every kind of corner, north, south, east, west. Even though I got that pretty off, it's still a pretty good circle. Now I wanna draw this bottom part, and this is gonna lead me to one issue you're gonna run into. Is I wanna start this line here so I'm gonna click there, then I'm gonna double-click there, and it didn't connect up, why? I'm gonna undue and undue. It's cuz in my head I'm like, yeah, I wanna start a line there and draw it down. But what the computer's seeing is, can you see this little plus button? Add an anchor point there. And then down here it says, well you're nowhere near that line so you probably wanna start another line, and you kinda go off. So you need to kind of acknowledge or a least tell Illustrator that we don't want to work with this. And the easiest way is with it selected, it's currently selected, if it's not click it with the black arrow, and just go up to Object and lock it. Can you see this one that says Object Lock Selection? And it just temporary locks it, okay, I can't drag it or move it. It's the same as we did earlier on, remember our layers panel? We put things on its own layer and then locked it. It's just like a smaller version of that. Cuz in this case I don't really want its own special layer for a circle, I just want to temporarily do it. And when you want it to unlock it, you go to Object, and there's one that says Unlock All. Everything that's locked on the page comes back. So we're gonna lock it again. Go to my curvature tool, and this is a straight line so double-click, double-click, and this is the bit I wanted to show you. So if I click once for a curve here and I double-click for a corner, I end up with that. [LAUGH] It's not what I want. So kind of cool. But so what I want to do is there's a straight line here and it kind of finishes about there, okay, then the curve starts. So I want this to be straight, okay, so we double-click. Then it's a curve, click once, double-click for a straight line, double-click for a straight line, and that's how get those kind of, there's a long part with a curve. It needs to have a little bit of, a few extra anchor points then maybe you thought, okay. So these two lines are double-clicks. So there's a straight line, and then there's this guy in the middle for a curve. Double-click, double-click, click once, double-click, click once. And I'll have to, [LAUGH] don't click once, it's a corner, okay. And up here I'm gonna double-click cuz I want it to be a straight line. It wasn't a straight line. How do I go back and fix it? So with same tool, just double-click it. Why didn't I overlap them? Okay, it's because that I want to color them in or delete this chunk, and I want it to but up really closely to this line. And we're gonna use the shape builder tool, kind of doubling down on our tools that we've already learned. Okay, now we're at a point where this thing won't let go, I'm like, I'm finished, let go. Okay, and there's two things you can do. You hit Escape on your keyboard, so look down, it's the top left of your keyboard, okay. Escape is the just let go, get off there, okay. Now we can go start working on this thing. Or what you could do is you could just say I'm gonna go back to there and join it up, and then it lets go cuz it's completed the whole path. And it doesn't really matter cuz we're gonna delete all of that stuff with the shape builder tool anyway. So next thing we're going to do, it's already selected. Object, Lock, Selection, and we're going to work on this part. So double-click for a straight line, or actually, it's kind of, yeah, double-click for a corner up here. I'm gonna click once for a curve. Double-click, double-click to get the straight lines. Okay, I've clicked once, double-click, and then I'm gonna kind overlap this thing. Now this is probably not the best example because you're like, man, it's so symmetrical. Why isn't he using the rounded corners thing? And I probably would. But again, we're practicing the curvature tool, so you can do lots of things with it. So I'm just gonna delete it, and this what I would be doing. I'd grab the rectangle tool, just drag it out. And then I'd grab my black arrow, actually the white arrow, remember, click this guy, hold Shift, grab the second guy and just drag him in. [LAUGH] But that's cheating. It's the right way, but it's cheating. Now what I wanna do is I wanna select it all and use the shape builder tool to delete the chunks I don't need, like this bit and that bit that overlaps. But I can't select this, why not? You remember, okay, we need to go to Unlock All. Okay, so that's why that lock is quite cool, it's temporary, you don't have to go and bother making layers. It's just quick and easy. We've unlocked them, we've selected them all with our black arrow, and we're gonna go into our shape builder tool, my favorite tool, and we're gonna delete stuff. So what do we do? We hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt key on a PC. And I'll say, get rid of that line, let's get rid of that line, and life is good my friends. All right, so what do we do now? There's these two guys at the bottom here, and this is your homework, okay. There are a range of straights and corners, okay. And there's gonna be bits that you need to lock and join up. The only thing you're not allowed to do, is you're not allowed to use shapes. You're not allowed to use ellipses and rectangles, just cuz we're practicing the tool. And what I'd like you to do is I'd like you to draw these and color them. I'd like you to color all of these people, okay. And these guys are gonna be super easy to color. There's gonna be probably some arranging to do to practice. This one here is gonna need your special trick where we fill cuz these are actually separate shapes, watch. Can you see there's no joiner here. So what we need to do is select them all and use the shape builder tool that we used in a previous tutorial to color them. Okay, so fill, color, just in case you forgot. Cool, so draw these guys, color them in, and I'd love to see them. Remember on Twitter we are @danlovesadobe, and also make sure you tag @TutsPlus, and on Instagram I am @bringyourownlaptop. Love to see your drawing, I'll mark your homework, make sure you've colored them as well. And if it goes horribly wrong, you can mention that in your post as well, and I'll jump in and give you a hand. All right, my friends, that is the curvature tool. In the next video we're gonna look at his best friend, the Pen Tool. I'll see you then, after your homework.

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