How to use curvature tool for Illustrator tutorial

How to use the curvature tool in Illustrator CC 2018 2017 2015 etc for amazing curved vector designs.

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 tool 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 in Illustrator

Basics : thick line curvature path rambling designBasics of the CT and the creation of a beautiful curved paths. The CT 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.


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Curves : restarting the path using the end pointsThe CT can be used to create curves but it also has the ability to draw straight lines as well as corner points. Select the CT. Set the stroke color etc as well as width profile and brush stroke (if required). 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. To escape, press the esc key and the CT will stop (or change tool)


Convert curved / corner : To convert between curved point and an corner point, double click the point. To convert back to a smooth curve point, double click again.


You can re-start the curve at any time : You can re-start the curve at any time by again using the curvature tool in Illustrator. Simply select the CT 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


For example, Select the CT and Go to the path and Click the last point of the path (either end). Continue clicking to create the curved path. Press esc to stop the CT


Re-starting the line segment path (or any other path) with the CT - the paths do not need to have originated from use of the tool. You can actually start using the CT with paths not created with the CT such as the line segment tool. You can go to the line segment tool in the toolbar and create a basic line and then Select the path but that is not required. Go to the CT and Click one of the ends of the line segment tool. Continue to click with the path to create a curved path. Press Esc to stop using the CT or change tools


Closed path : closed paths in Illustrator via toolHow to change the curve into a closed path

You will find the the CT 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


For example, Select the CT and Go to a path. Click one of the end points. Hover over the start point and Click. You now have a closed path


Double clicking points : converting curves in Illustrator You can change curves to corners by double clicking the curve / smooth points

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


For example, select the CT and Go to a curved path. Hover over a smooth point and Double click and then Repeat this with another point if required


You will now have a sharp corner point or points

You can use the CT to create all kinds of rounded artwork in the app (you can use other tools of course)


Zigzags : zigzag path using the tool in IllustratorYou don't have to use the CT to create curves you can simply select the tool and then double click to create a zigzag


For example, Select CT and double click document / artboard. Move to a different position, up and across and double click again to create another corner point. Move further along and down and double click again in a zigzag motion. Repeat for as many points you want to add. 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


Moving points : curvature tool and moving pointsSelecting points and moving points by using the curvature tool in Illustrator. You can move the curve by simply going to a point and selecting the point and drag in any direction


For example, hover over points created and click and select and drag in any direction as well as just click on the point and move along the curve to change the curve and 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 CT the path will be turned back into a path that can be manipulated by the CT


Extreme lines : You can create all kinds of smooth paths as well as extreme distorted points by manipulating the points using the curvature tool in Illustrator - simply drag the segments or the points and the path will be molded and shaped in all kinds of ways.


Add points : deleting and adding points to the curve in IllustratorAdding points /deleting using the curvature tool in Illustrator to create amazing unique paths


To add a point, Go to the curve and avoid any existing points and click with the CT to add a point

To delete, Select that point using the CT and Press the delete key


The straggly 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


Width profiles : width profile added to the path curvature tool in Illustrator in blackYou can use the CT with width profiles (beautiful strokes) in Illustrator to create amazing lines


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


For example, Select curved path and Go to the width profile and Add profile to the path and then Change stroke width setting

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)


Existing paths such as stars : star curvature path in IllustratorYou can manipulate existing basic paths. If you have a path such as a circle or brush stroke or star etc, you can just select the Illustrator curvature tool and then manipulate that path with the tool such as moving or adding points or removing points or changing points from smooth to corner or dragging segments to different positions.


For example, as with the star closed path (on the right), double click the star points to turn them into smooth points / curves etc or shift the segments away from the default star position. All kinds of new and unique designs can be created using this new feature of AI CC


Saving the work : You can also save any of the generated curves to your CC library and then use them again in future projects as well as use the artworks in applications such as Photoshop and Adobe After Effects and Adobe Premiere. You can drag the design back onto the artboard from the CC library and then modify the artwork in countless ways. You can also save the artwork to the symbols panel and then use the design as a symbol and re-apply the design as symbol instances. The artwork generated can also be used with features such as the brushes and strokes as well as swatches.


You can also export the artwork as an AI file as well as a PDF (more useful) and also as a SVG file and the SVG artwork can be quickly used in Photoshop as well as on web pages. The export command can be used to export the curve design for use in Affinity Photo as well as Affinity Designer and also GIMP and Inkscape (such as saving the design as a PNG file or SWF or JPG)


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