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Spiral Tool In Illustrator / Enhance Spiral Designs How To Guide Beginner's Guide

By Andrew Buckle, Video Tutorial Creator / Designer

Updated : 2021

 

Learn how to add to and enhance spirals paths and much more in Adobe Illustrator using a variety of techniques such as width profiles and blobs. Enhancing spirals in Adobe Illustrator.

 

illustrator spiralThe spiral path is pretty decent already but you can add to it, enhance it in many ways.

 

You can use Illustrator stroke options with the spirals such as adding dash styles and dotted styles to the spirals. You can add variable width profiles to the spiral paths to create all kinds of interesting and unique new spiral designs. You can simplify the spirals. You can add Illustrator effects to the spirals.

 

spiral tool

 

You can join the spirals and more. This tutorial shows you many ways how you can change and enhance the Illustrator spiral path to create totally unique and wow spiral designs for use in your projects.

  1. Line segment tool in toolbar of Illustrator

  2. Select the spiral tool in same group

  3. Set the fill and stroke

  4. Set spiral color

  5. Apply spiral from origin point

  6. Stroke options set dash style to ON

  7. Set dash style round cap and 5pt and 2 / 10 dash and gap (though the settings can vary depending on the size of the shape etc so 50 / 100 are just as good

 

spiral tool

 

Spirals, spirals, ... use these techniques to create even more amazing spirals

OK, the spiral path in Adobe Illustrator is pretty good to begin with Illustrator and you can generate a number of variations just by changing some of the spiral settings by clicking the art board (or in my case, double clicking as I never get things to respond first time around) - it always slightly bugs that it doesn't work by double clicking the tools

 

spiral tool

 

OK, once you have the basic spiral it has a stroke setting and that is about it and it is made up of as number of points. Here are a few ways to enhance it.

Stroke options for the spiral paths in Adobe Illustrators such as adding dash options to your spirals

spiral enhance illustrator paths dashYou can add a round cap to the selected spiral path as well as dash options via the stroke options drop down to create some amazing spiral paths in Adobe Illustrator

 

spiral tool

 

As you can also add additional strokes with the appearance panel, you can also quickly add a shadow via the appearance panel right side menu and add new stroke or use the duplicate selected item and then just change the color of the design and apply a live effect transform 'move' to that entry

 

spiral tool

 

Width profiles can be added to the spiral paths to create beautiful designs in seconds

spiral width profiles illustrator enhanceSelect the spiral and then go to the stroke and set to say 60pt and set to black and then go to the width profile drop down. The number of width profiles is fairly minimal and I would love to see more added in future versions.

 

There is an add width profile but all the profiles I have added (and I have added many over the years) never seem to remain and the list goes back to the default set.

 

spiral tool

 

Anyway, you can add any of the existing profiles and that will add a lot more style to the spiral in seconds. You can also manipulate the profile by using the width tool and the tool can change the width at any point along the path and not just at anchor points. You can make thin as well as thick widths but they are all symmetric.

 

spiral tool

 

You can click the 'width bar' as well as the point and drag that back and forth along the path to change the size left and right or as it lists it, side 1 and side 2.

 

spiral tool

 

The result can be expanded via the expand appearance command found in the object menu though the end result can generate a lot of extra points.

You can use the 'simplify' feature to create interesting straight line designs etc

spiral square enhance illustratorUsing the simplify (found in the object and path menu) combined with the widths you can generate some very interesting and unique spirals. By reducing the curve precision of the simplify you can generate more hand drawn like spirals.

 

spiral tool

 

The straight line option is probably the most interesting if you wish to create square like spirals or chunkier types and you can do this by combining the results with changes to the angle threshold.

 

spiral tool

 

Some of the path designs generated will be just a random collection of points but setting the perfect angle threshold will result in some truly abstract artworks. Or use the straight line spiral designs with width profiles.

 

Arrowheads

Use arrows as well with spirals, go to the stroke settings and check out the options available for the arrowheads.

 

spiral tool

 

You can add brush strokes to your spirals in Adobe Illustrator to create wow designs in seconds

spiral enhance brush illustratorYou can create all kinds of weird and wonderful spirals by adding a stroke width along with selecting brush definitions. As you can add all kinds of paths to the brushes panel, all kinds of wonderful artworks can be generated using the source spiral (such as dots and splatters and rough inks, text, images etc).

 

spiral tool

 

You can add multiple brush definitions by using the appearance palette. Add duplicates of the stroke and then change the stroke width of the individual entries such as set it to 0.5pt for one and 1pt for another etc. Sadly the color cannot be changed short of creating a new brush with a different color but same shape.

 

spiral tool

 

You can add even more wow to your spiral paths in seconds via the Illustrator appearance panel

spiral enhance appearance illustratorYou can combine width profiles and additional strokes to the path by using the appearance panel (found in the window menu).

 

You can add additional fills but they are generally of no use.

 

spiral tool

 

You can also use effects as well such as blurring the spiral etc and all those settings can be controlled via the appearance panel. Go to the right side menu with the selected spiral path and then add additional stroke.

 

spiral tool

 

If the current stroke is set to 60pt then to see both, one of the strokes have to be slightly smaller or you have to use blending modes / transparency. You can also use different width profiles with the different strokes as well as combine that with the width tool - so at a single point you can have multiple thick and thin profiles and they can be very varied along the path. The width tool can be used on each stroke

 

spiral tool

 

You can also add effects such as gaussian blurs to the spiral paths in Adobe Illustrator

You can add gaussian blurs etc to the spiral path as well or perhaps shadows. These can all be manipulated via the appearance panel. You can also use other tools such as the awesome symbol stipplism or stipplism plugin from Astute Graphics' range to create amazing fills for the path

 

spiral tool

 

Path eraser tool cutting into the spiral

You can use path tool to cut into the spiral. Select the tool and go to the spiral path and then cut across the points to separate the design into separate paths. You can shift parts of the spiral path, you can re-color the stroke for each of them, you can add effects such as blurs to parts of the spiral, you can re-size the width, use it with width profiles, different brush strokes etc.

 

spiral tool

 

The blob tool can add to the spiral path in 1000s of ways to create amazing new spirals

spiral enhance blob brushOnce you have expanded the spiral via the expand appearance command (object menu) or expand command (depends which one is available), you can add additional blobs to the spiral path via the blob tool.

 

spiral tool

 

You can add small blobs as well as long thick lines. You can add them to the edge of the path but you can also use the blob tool to join the different arms of the artwork.

 

The opposite to the blob tool being the eraser tool, you can remove parts of the path creating a mottled spiral path (of course, you can also just use the ellipse tool etc and add different color spots etc or lines along the path as well). The end result being a greatly enhanced artwork which can be added to the CC library or exported for use in Photoshop etc

 

Spiral Tool and Repeat

If you have 2021 or above, you can use the repeat feature with the spirals to create all kinds of awesome designs. Go to the tool and create a design with a stroke and size etc. You can create the spiral in the panel or you can use the settings in the panel to create a quick path.

 

spiral tool

 

The path can then be modified by width profiles, warps etc though it should be noted that some things such as widths maybe expanded within the repeat object. The spiral can then be duplicated radially as well as grid or mirrored via the object menu and repeat and radial etc.

 

spiral tool

 

The interactive controls to add more instances or change the width of the spiral design are super useful. You can also use the properties panel to change the repeat setting. You can modify the spiral once you have added the repeat object by double clicking the path, any path within the repeat object and the results of any change are 'real time'.

 

You can add multiple repeats together to create very complex and beautiful designs,