Adobe Illustrator CC - Advanced Training

Curvature Tool vs Pen Tool in Adobe Illustrator CC

Daniel Walter Scott

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Hi there, in this video we're going to redraw this whale in this weird flowery thing that I made. We draw it like this, not using the Pen Tool. We're going to use the new fancy improved Curvature Tool. You are going to test it, you might fall in love with it, like me, and you might be abandoning the Pen Tool. All right, I take that back; Pen Tool, I'm sorry, but you're very hard to learn, and the Curvature Tool, pretty easy. Let's go and learn how easy it is in this video. 

We're going to show you the difference between the Pen Tool and the Curvature Tool. We're going to focus on the Curvature Tool because probably most of you doing this advanced class has at least got the basics of the Pen Tool. We'll do an advanced video right next so we can get skilled up with the Pen Tool. But for the moment we're going to look at why you should give the Curvature Tool a go. Now if you are handy with the Pen Tool, like I am, I found the Curvature Tool like at the beginning I was like, "Ah, why do I need the Pen Tool?" In fact, it's quite amazing, what it does, so throughout this course, my request is just to give the Curvature Tool a go throughout this one, it's pretty cool. 

First of all let's look at the Pen Tool, which we know, and love. I'm going to draw-- we're going to start with this guy on the right here, we're going to draw the basic. Let's say I want to draw this circle. 'Pencil' is click and drag for a curve. And, click and drag for a curve. Click and drag for a curve. I'm trying my best circle, okay? It's okay? Let's do the same thing with the Curvature Tool. Now, Curvature Tool, you just click once for a curve. You can see, once I've kind of finished my first-- I've got more than two points here, it starts doing an ugly curve. So I'm going to click another time and another time, roughly in the corners here. You can see, just does, by default, nicer curves. 

Let's have a look at some of the pros and cons for the Curvature Tool. Remember, the circle here, we click once for a curve. Let's say we want a corner, so what we do is we double click for a corner. Along here, there's a long big curve here, about half way along, I click once, because I want a curve. Then you can see, once I start dragging out I get roughly where I need it to be, and I can… remember, this is a corner point as well, because it's a change of direction, I double click. Up here, I've got two kinds of curves. There's one going this way, and one bending around. So I want one there for a curve, and maybe one there for another curve. Messed it totally, that's all right. 

I'm back to the beginning here. This is the way, but when it joins back up you just click once to kind of finish it off, whether it's a corner to a curve. Just kind of click once to join it all back up. What you'll first of all notice is that it's a pretty sweet curve, right? It needs some adjustments. You can adjust it-- and the cool thing about adjusting it, this is probably its biggest, awesome trait. Watch this, if I start dragging this one what you'll notice is, can you see the line underneath here. A kind of pointer, watch this line while I'm dragging this top one. Can you see, it actually flexes. So it's not only adjusting this one, it's actually adjusting the next one to continue a nice smooth curve. I can drag this one and try and get it a little nicer. Drag this one in. Don't know what I'm trying to do. 

I guess, the difference would be, is if I try to do that in the Pen Tool so, Pen Tool, I'm going to click once for a corner. I click and drag for a curve. Click once, it's not going to be too bad. It's not a hard shape to do. I should have given it a Fill, click once. The difference is, if I grab the White Arrow and start adjusting this, you can see, it does nothing to affect this line here. You end up with this kind of, really kind of-- well, just not as balanced a curve. So I find that the Curvature Tool just ends up making my drawings look a bit nicer. 

Now if you love this control with all these handles, never fear, they are still here. Watch, I can click on these corner points, they are still here. They're just kind of hidden from you. Remember, the biggest thing is that, if I change this one it influences the one above it, so things just end up looking nicer. So remember, double click for a corner, click once for a curve, double click for a corner. No, don't double click. So if I accidentally do it, that's fine, I can double click it again and it goes back to being a curve, so, if it's a curve, double click, corner, double click, curve, kind of toggles it in and out. 
I go back to here, and it's a curve, no it's a corner, double click. I should get rid of the Fill here, I will, for this one. And there's a curve, so click once for a curve, click once again. You can just see, pretty nice curves. 

What we're going to do now is redraw this whale. We're going to use the Curvature Tool. We're going to work our way around, nothing really new from what we've done here, but this is the shape we're going to use for this class. So, this is the one I really want you to do. If you skipped this one, I really want you to do this shape. Let's draw it together. So double click for a corner. And half way down here, click once for a curve. We're going to adjust it later on. And I'm going to double click for a corner. This Fill here is driving me mad. I'm going to go to 'Properties', I'm going to say 'no' Fill. I should have done it at the beginning, that's what I said I was going to do. So, curve, click once, double click. Clicking once for a curve, double click for a corner. This curve's just kind of slight here, so I'm going to click once about here. Maybe once in there, and you're like, "What is it doing?" It's not till you go out here, to where—

I'm looking for the change of direction, because that changes there, right? So I want kind of half way in there, I'm looking for the Apex, really. So I'm going to click once, click once. Man, look how good it's looking. Double click. If you're like me, the Pen Tool, you get good, but you've got to really fill it with that afterwards using Direct Selection Tool to get any sort of lovely curves through here. This one has a slight depth, so click once. It has a bit of a corner there, click once. And double click for a corner. It's coming out pretty nice. I do say so myself. Double click. Click once, double click. The curve, I probably want it here. Then, this one here, probably can't go all the way out here so I'm going to double click for a corner. That's probably what I'm going to have to tidy up. So double click. There's a slight curve here, click once. Give it a Fill color. I'm going to give this one a Fill color of blue, just because it's a whale. 

I'm going to continue with drawing this now with the Curve Tool. Let's have a look at adjusting this thing. There are times when you're like, actually just didn't do what I want. You can grab the Curve Tool, and go in, and go-- actually this guy just needs to be, maybe up here. I can try and get him to blend a bit nicer. They'll work, or I can undo, and grab my White Arrow. The Direct Selection Tool, grab this guy and go, what's going on here, and go-- this guy needs to be coming straight out of the back of this one. And this one needs to go a bit higher. So it's up to you how you best want to do it but let's continue on. Double click, click once. Double click. Click once. Pretty nice. Double click for a corner. Click once, double click. 

I'll show you one little trick, because this is getting boring. It's great, but let me show you a little trick you can do. Say you want these-- for some reason I draw these leafy things all the time, if you've watched me in my tutorials. Leafy kind of things. It's meant to be water, by the way. But what I can do is, see this guy here, I can grab the Curvature Tool, and remember, if I want to change it from a curve to a corner, remember, if I get it wrong, I just double click it. I find that's kind of cool. Especially that one, that kind of leafy shape, with one end pointing. Especially if it's balanced, it's quite tough to do. 

Now if you're getting bored you can skip to the next video now. I'm going to delete that. I'll just go double click. Click once, double click. Click once, double click. Click once, double click. I'm going to zoom in. Double click. Curve, Double click. One click, double click. Click once, double click. Driving myself mad now, click once. I'm just getting to the inside, but that's okay. You get the idea, right? 

How awesome are we? This one needs a little bit of adjusting. I'm going to grab the Curvature Tool, and say, you my friend, come down a bit. If yours is snapping, that's one of things, it's like "Why are you doing all of these things, and snapping?" There's two ways of getting around that, you can zoom right in, so if I hit 'Command +', or 'Control +' on a PC, so zooming right in gives you a lot more control. You can see, it's not trying to snap now just because it's kind of filling in the screen, or you can go to 'View', and turn 'off' Smart Guides. I use this shortcut all the time. It's 'Command U' on a Mac, or 'Control U' on a PC. And if you're further out, it's not going to try and snap as much. So I'm going to turn it back on, the Smart Guides, and do some adjustments. 

The only thing I need is my eyeball. Last of it. I'm just going to give it a 'Fill', draw my eyeball. And you're like, "He's not going to use the Curvature Tool, is he?" I am. You should use the Ellipse Tool but we're proving a point, click once, click once, click once, click once. It's not a perfect circle, but it's not what I'm looking for, for this guy. I'm just looking for a little bit of weirdness. The Stroke, I've got a Stroke and a Fill, and I'm going to put this one back in. I'm going to grab the 'Black Arrow'. I'm using the Eyedropper Tool just to steal color from him. 

That my friends is the Curvature Tool. In the next video, let's get into some super advanced Pen Tool stuff. If you're like me, and you're good at the Pen Tool try the Curvature Tool at least for this class. I bet you, you're going to find some nice things about it. All right, I'll see you in the next video.