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How to use curvature tool for Illustrator tutorial

How to use the curvature tool in Illustrator CC 2017 2015 etc for amazing curved vector designs. The curvature tool in Illustrayor is found in the toolbar near the top of the toolbar.

Curvature tool in Illustrator

curvature tool in Illustrator for curves tutorial
  1. Select the curvature tool in the Illustrator toolbar

  2. Click artboard where you want to start the curvature path

  3. Shift mouse position and click again

  4. Shift mouse position and as you move you will see the rubber band

  5. Click again and the rubber band is replaced with the curve

  6. Repeat and press esc to escape from the curvature tool

The curvature tool is very similar to the pen tool but at the same time it does bring an ease of use of creating curves (for some) in Illustrator. To use the curvature tool, simply click the artboard and then move to another position and click again and then repeat and the curve will be displayed (though this depends on the preferences 'selection' and enable rubber band' functionality). You can repeat this with multiple points. Finish by pressing esc or change tool or clicking the start point to close the path. You can restart the curvature tool / path at any point by click one of the end points and continuing with the curve. You can close the curve by clicking the start point with the Illustrator curvature tool. You can also change the smooth to sharp corner points by double clicking the anchor points. You can use the curvature tool to create interesting wave designs. You can select points by clicking the anchor points with the curvature tool. Click anywhere else to add a point or click the point and press delete key to remove points. This tutorial shows you how to use the curvature tool in Illustrator to manipulate paths and create amazing curved paths in seconds.

Basics of the curvature tool and the creation of a beautiful curved path in Illustrator

thick line curvature path rambling design

The curvature tool can be found in the Illustrator 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 Illustrator curvature tool can be used to create curves but it also has the ability to draw straight lines as well as corner points

  1. Select the curvature tool

  2. Set the stroke color etc as well as width profile and brush stroke (if required)

  3. Apply 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.

  4. To escape, press the esc key and the Illustrator curvature tool will stop (or change tool)

  5. To convert between curved point and an corner point, double click the point. To convert back to a smooth curve point, double click again. On the left you can see a thick line created using the tool and spread over the entire artboard.

Re-starting the curve / curvature tool in Illustrator

restarting the path using the end points

You can re-start the curve at any time. Simply select the curvature tool and go to the curved path and click one of the end points. If you decide that you have selected the wrong path, simply use the esc key

  1. Select the curvature tool in the Illustrator toolbar

  2. Go to the path

  3. Click the last point (either)

  4. Continue clicking to create the curved path

  5. Press esc to stop the curvature path

Re-starting the line segment path (or any other path) with the curvature tool in Illustrator

You can actually start using the curvature tool with paths not created with the curvature tool such as the line segment tool

  1. Go to the line segment tool in the Illustrator toolbar

  2. Create a basic line

  3. Select the path but that is not required

  4. Go to the curvature tool

  5. Click one of the ends of the line segment tool

  6. Continue to click with the path to create a curved path

  7. Esc to stop using the curvature tool or change tools

Closing the curvature path - turning the curvature into a closed path

closed paths in Illustrator via tool

You will find the the curvature 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. On the right you can see the closed path where the curvature tool closed the path

  1. Select the curvature tool

  2. Go to a curvature path

  3. Click one of the end points

  4. Hover over the start point

  5. Click

You now have a closed path

Changing curves to corners by double clicking the curve / smooth points

converting curves in Illustrator

You can quickly change a point added as a smooth / curved point

  1. Select the curvature tool

  2. Go to a curved path

  3. Hover over a smooth point

  4. Double click

  5. Repeat this with another point if required

You will now have a sharp corner point.

Create a wavy line using a zigzag path and curvature tool in Illustrator

zigzag path using the tool in Illustrator

You don't have to use the curvature tool to create curvesm you can simply select the tool and then double click to create a zigzag

  1. Select curvature tool

  2. Double click doucument / artboard

  3. Move to a different position, up and across and double click again to create another corner point

  4. Move further along and down and double click again in a zigzag motion

  5. Repeat for as many points you want to add

  6. Go over all the points added by double clicking them to turn them into smooth points / curved points though avoid clicking the end points unless you want a closed path. On the right is the zigzag at the top and the converted wave design below

Selecting points and moving points by using the curvature tool in Illustrator

curvature tool and moving points

You can move the curve created by the curvature tool by simply going to a point and selecting the point and drag in any direction

  1. Hover over points created

  2. Click and select and drag in any direction as well as just click on the point and move along the curve to change the curvature

  3. 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 curvature tool it will be turned back into a path that can be manipulated and added to with that tool

 

Selecting them and moving them, either the with the curve or the points (along the curve) can be useful to make a smoother curve or perhaps a rougher design, really depends on what you want to achieve with the Illustrator tool

 

The image on the left consists of a number of paths, all are the same initially (they were all duplicates) and they have then been modified by selecting the points and moving the curve as well as the points in the curve

Adding points /deleting using the curvature tool in Illustrator to create amazing unique paths

deleting and adding points to the curve in Illustrator
  1. To add a point

  2. Go to the curve

  3. Avoid any existing points

  4. Click with the curvature tool to add a point

To delete,

  1. Select that point using the curvature tool

  2. Press the delete key

The lines on the right were all the same. The first three to the left have had a lot of different points added which has slightly modified the curves. The middle path has had a point added to the end point. The paths on the far right of the image have had points removed by selecting them and del key

Using curvature with width profiles (beautiful strokes) in Illustrator to create amazing lines

width profile added to the path curvature tool in Illustrator in black

The generated curve / path from the Illustrator curvature tool is a standard path, you can add a width profile to it.

  1. Select curved path

  2. Go to the width profile

  3. Add profile

  4. Change stroke width setting

  5. 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)

Manipulating existing basic paths such as stars with the curvature tool

star curvature path in Illustrator

If you have an existing 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. Double click the points to turn them into smooth points / curves etc as before

  1. Create path such as a star

  2. Go to the curvature tool

  3. Click on the points and move and shift and delete and add as previously detailed

Brushes to buy

1. 16,000 Amazing brushes for Illustrator to buy

Other tutorials

1. Bristle tool and wonderful brush strokes

2. Blend tool to blend between paths and type

3. Dynamic Illustrator symbols

Sources and references

1. Curvature tool for Illustrator on Adobe.com

 

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Updated: September 2017