Select the Pen Tool
To begin smoothing edges, you want to select the pen tool. The pen tool is found on the left side of the toolbar and its icon looks like a black pen. You can also access the pen tool by clicking on the Pen icon located in the toolbar.
Click on the Pen Tool to select it. Now you will see a thin red line called a path. You can control and edit the path by clicking and dragging with either the left mouse button (PC) or your pen stylus.
You can also click and drag with the Pen Tool on the screen to create a new path. Use whichever one feels more comfortable. As you drag, you can see both ends of your path on the screen. The top line is the “anchor” or starting point, and that’s where you need to start smoothing when you’re done smoothing.
Click once on the edge of the object you want to smooth
Once you have the pen tool selected, click on the edge of an object. This will tell Illustrator in which direction you want the bezier handles to be placed. It is important to click on the object and not what you want to smooth—hence why it is good practice to bezier handles are started at an edge. You can maneuver the handles any way you want to fill in the jumpy, rough edge.
Drag the mouse outward to create a smooth curve
Now you need to click and drag the mouse outward. Illustrator will create a smooth curve between the bezier handles. As you drag the mouse, notice how Illustrator creates a curve for you. This is called a “parabolic” curve because it resembles a parabola. The length of this curve can also be changed using the Direct Selection tool (A). This tool will appear whenever you select an anchor point. You can also reposition a curve when it is created by clicking and dragging the anchors independently of each other.
Keep in mind that you cannot drag the curve only part of the way. You must move it all the way to its extreme position.
The curve that is created when you move an anchor point will always have an anchor point on each end and a single anchor point in the middle. The curve will be rounded, depending on how far you drag the mouse outward. If you drag too far, the curve may become so round that it looks more like a circle than a curve. To change this, you can hold the Command key down and drag the mouse outward from one of the anchor points.
Release the mouse button when you’re happy with the curve
This curve will be used to smooth the edge of the object you have selected. Simply click one of the handles and drag it inwards or outwards to smooth out any rough or sharp edges.
Remember to release the mouse button when you’re happy with the curve.
Doing so will make a perfect smooth edge in no time.
Miss Dior’s Curves: A Tutorial for Smooth Edges in Illustrator
Herb Freeman, Illustrator and Designer
March 12th 2014
Illustrator is a wonderful program that lets you draw beautiful graphics without any previous drawing ability required. I think you’ll find that the basic curves in illustrator are easy to learn and put to use, so let’s get started.
1. Selecting a Curve
To adjust the curve, hold down the Shift key while dragging one of the handles at either end of the curve
By holding down the Shift key when you are dragging a handle, you can control whether or not the handle is moving vertically or horizontally. If the curve the anchor is attached to is horizontal, it will move horizontally. If it is attached to a vertical line, it will move vertically. This is a good method for adjusting the length of a curve to fit the edge of an object more precisely.
This method is very common in Illustrator and Photoshop, but it only works on certain shapes. For example, it will work on an ellipse or a circle, but not a line or another ellipse. The anchor point needs to be horizontal for this method to work properly.
Creative Options has more information about editing curves in Illustrator, as well as how to use the curve tool in Adobe Illustrator CS4 and Adobe Photoshop CS4 .
This entry comes from Kate Schelter , an experienced graphic artist who specializes in creating vector graphics for logos, CD and DVD covers and more.
Kate’s site also offers information about creating professional-looking graphics on a budget, along with useful tips for people who are just starting out doing this kind of work.
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