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2.1 Curve Tools

We’ll start with an overview of the curve or drawing tools within the program. We explore the Pen, Bezier, Smart Drawing Tool, and more!

2.1 Curve Tools

Welcome to getting started with CorelDRAW, I'm Mary Winkler from tuts+. In this lesson, we'll focus on creating a new document and using the various curve tools the program provides, from freehand tools to the pen tools. This lesson will teach you how to make a mark and get started with some more basic features of the program. Open up CorelDRAW X7 and let's get going. Unless you disabled it previously, which you can do in the future by toggling the always show welcome screen at launch box in the lower left, you'll likely see the welcome screen at launch. From here, we're gonna make a new document. You can also do so by going to File New. You can name it whatever you want. Since this course is Getting Started with CorelDRAW, it's fitting I give this document a related name. I'll be using this document during most of the lessons throughout this course. Now, before I go ahead and click OK, I'm gonna adjust the size of the document. I wanna match the orientation of this video. So, I'll be switching from a square format to a landscape format by setting the width at ten inches and the height at eight inches. This is arbitrary, and you can make a document in whatever size or orientation serves you best. Using the zoom tool, whose shortcut is Z, I'll be zooming in to 113%. So my document takes up most of my working space. For now, I'm closing the dockers on the right, since this lesson and those within this chapter are only focusing on tools in the toolbox. We'll explore commonly used dockers in Chapter Three of this course. On the left, you'll likely find the toolbox. If it's not there, you can find it in window, toolbars, toolbox. We're going to start with the freehand tool, shortcut F5. I'm working on a graphics tablet, so pressure is enabled and my dexterity isn't hindered by a mouse. Click and drag or draw a bit with the tool. In the Property bar at the top, you can adjust things like the ends of the path, the width of the path, and more. If I hold down the Shift key, I can draw a straight line with the tool. Let's play with some other shapes. I'm gonna start with a little crescent moon. It's very sloppy, but as you can see, once I complete the shape and move my stylus from the tablet, the shape smooths out a bit. I've also set my outline width to three points, so it's bold and easily seen by you. Next up is a square. Again, simply draw, and without holding shift or using other line tools, and the line automatically smooths out using fewer nodes than expected to create the path. You can continue to experiment with the freehand tool, drawing silly faces or whatever you want. Using the pick tool, I'm going to go ahead and select and delete the objects on the screen to prepare for the next curve tool from the toolbox. That tool is the 2 Point Line. It creates what you likely expect it to, a straight line between two points. Since my outline was set to three points previously, new tools will continue to have this property until I change it. So make some straight lines and get a feel for this tool. You can use it to plan out technical drawings, create hand drawn grids, or whatever else you need assorted straight lines for. And like the other tools where you're creating open paths, you can change the ends of those paths to arrows, circles, and other shapes in the property bar. You can also change whether the line is solid, dashed, or dotted, going so far as to customize the dashed lines through the edit line style options. Drag the bar to the left or right in order to decrease or increase the amount of space between the dots and the line. There are so many default options for you to choose from. Simply click the drop down menu in the property bar, and check out some of the variations of dashed and dotted lines. You'll also find that you can create custom dashes and dots by clicking squares in the options to turn dot styles on and off. Make long lines in Morse code if you want to, or mimic the look of stitching with simpler styles of dash dot lines. It's a cool tool, and entirely up to you. Let's move on to our next tool. It's the Bézier tool. This tool allows you to create curves, one line segment at a time. Unlike the pen tool, which we'll be using next, you can't preview a curve before it's drawn or as you're drawing it. Instead, you control each curve after the next node is placed. Also, be careful when manipulating the node handles, that your document doesn't scroll so far down that you can't see your path anymore. Take this rule for a spin. Create curving paths and curving shapes, making sure to close the shape of the starting node to complete the object. I find Bezier curves best when working with something I've already sketched out versus something I'm drawing free-hand. It's a wonderful technical curve tool and a great asset to CorelDRAW. Play with it as you see fit. And from here, we'll move onto the pen tool. The pen tool is similar to the Bezier tool. In fact, you'll find it right under it in the toolbox. The pen tool draws curves and straight lines and segments, allowing me to place nodes to create a path or object. Like I mentioned earlier, you can preview curves as you're drawing them. You can also pick up and connect nodes to a new path you're starting. This is especially helpful where tricky curves or shapes are concerned. Manipulate the handles of nodes while drawing in order to create curves. While placing a node, if you hold down alt, you'll find the node travels with you. You can move that curve around your document area to change the path shape quickly. If you hold down C, you'll find you can manipulate one handle at a time versus having to do both at once. Complete your object by ending the path at the starting node. This will allow you to add fill attributes to your closed shape later on. As a final step with the pen tool, holding down the shift key allows you to create perfectly straight lines. The box we drew earlier with the freehand tool is far more precise when drawn with the pen tool. The next curve tool is the B-Spline tool. This tool lets you draw all sorts of paths by setting boundaries or control points that create curves without breaking the path up into segments. It can be a difficult tool to control at first, but when you want smoother curves, this is the tool for you. Go ahead and create an assortment of curved lines and shapes with the B-Spline tool and get a feel for what it has to offer. Like the pen tool, it allows you to preview curves, and adjust those control points while you're in the process of drawing your path. The next tool is the Polyline tool. Initially, it looks like another straight line styled tool, something more rigid than the freehand tool. However, instead of placing nodes, you drag and draw with the tool. You find that you can preview your freehand path while creating your shape. Unlike the freehand tool, the Polyline tool doesn't end as an open path. If you pick your stylus up from the tablet, it's a tool aimed at creating closed shapes consisting of curves and straight lines as needed. And speeding up your drawing process. Our Penultimate curve tool is the three point curve. This tool allows you create curved lines by controlling the width and height of the curve. It's a tool that's especially useful for times when you don't want to figure out where nodes should be placed. We're going to spend time manipulating them. Play around with some curves now. Here, I've got lines and curves to get a feel for creating paths and even shapes. To create shapes, you'll have to connect new starting nodes with the ends of paths already created, as you would with other curve tools when editing previously drawn paths. And finally, we have the smart drawing tool. Like the freehand tool, you can draw paths without having to place nodes. Unlike the freehand tool however, the smart drawing tool automatically smooths out to whatever you set the tool to in the property bar. In this case, I've chosen the default medium for both shape recognition level and smoothing level. Taking it for a spin, I can shakily write out smart. And it will smoothly path out to a cleanly drawn word. Now for the shape recognition part. Simple geometric shapes are easily rendered with the smart drawing tool. My terrible circle is suddenly a perfect circle. Or this square, similar to the one we drew earlier, is suddenly a perfect square. And the same thing goes for triangles, although getting the exact angle you want may take additional precision from you. Anything the tool cannot or does not recognize is smoothed out in the way my paths were smoothed out earlier. It's an excellent tool, and quite smart. Thank you so much for getting to know the curve tools in CorelDRAW X7. In the next lesson, we'll focus on shape tools and how to create and manipulate them within the program.

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