Edit Paths Like a Pro in Adobe® Illustrator®
Okay so we've kinda talked a little bit about working with selections and now I wanna get into editing paths. There's a lot to talk about with editing paths, and we're gonna hit a few things here that are just kinda the big things that you need to know that make it a little bit easier. So what I'd like to do is we're gonna go up to an art board up top. So you can use the hand tool if you want to and you can scroll up a bit here to this art board. It actually has this funky half shape on it. Now what I'm doing right now, we're doing a little bit more furthering technique let's say that, so I'm hoping that we're kinda getting used to trying to zoom, fit art boards and window, doing things like that. It just takes practice but you can get that. I've got a path here and what I'd like to do is I'd like to start editing, okay? We're gonna get to drawing, we're gonna draw a little bit more with the pen tool, but what I wanna do is I wanna go in and do this. If we want to, let's say I've got t...
his curve right here and I'd like to make it a little curvier, okay? I don't know if that's actually a word but. We could dive in with drawing tools and different things but when you're going to edit paths one of the tools that I use a lot is the direct selection tool. So why don't you come over here to the direct selection tool go ahead and select that. And come out to the path. Now like I said before if we're gonna edit a path a lot of times, let me zoom in so you can see this a little bit easier here, we're gonna wanna select anchor points because all of these paths are made with anchor points and paths, right? And we're gonna wanna select the actual path between out there and do different things. To me one of the easiest ways to edit a path visually, make it more curved, less curved, on a curved path come up to this top half here and just sneak up to it. Sneak up on it and you're gonna see a little black box show just click and you're gonna select the path itself. Now what I thought was kinda weird about this is do y'all see the direction handle coming down, the one? Now there are more direction handles out here because there's a lot more curves in this thing, okay? By default when you click on a path, the anchor points on both sides will show the direction handles but they won't show anymore that are on the path. If you'll take a look up here in the control panel you're gonna see there's a lot of commands that we should be using when we edit paths. And one of the ones that I use all the time here is show handles for multiple anchor points. It's this teeny little button right there, okay? Why don't you go ahead and click on that one. Now when we start to edit paths if I click on, why don't you come up to one of the anchor points like let's say that one right there on the corner, and go ahead and click on that. You can tell you're gonna click on it 'cause it gets bigger, right? Look what it's gonna do here. It's gonna start to show me a lot more direction handles out here. By default Illustrator focuses on the anchor point you're on basically, but by turning that on we can see more. That way if you're visually trying to go in and adjust the handles on this thing, you can do more, you can actually get more. Now we can if I want to like I said, go in and adjust this. One easy way to adjust a path is if you select it with the direction selection tool, come up to the curve of the path. Now this really isn't gonna work on a straight line for instance, okay, but if you come up to a curve of a path, something that's newer in Illustrator in the past few versions, if your cursor changes to this weird thing with the curvy U thing, I don't know what that's called. That thing, you can now just click and drag, okay? Now we could kinda do this before but now what's even better is it's not constrained. So in awhile back when we could do this, it would actually only make it so it was almost like holding the shift key down, each would move the same way. Now you can kinda just do whatever you wanna do here, which is pretty cool. So this is a good way if you're just, instead of battling the direction handles, these guys here that, we can also go in and I can select these and start to work with them, instead of battling those you can just click and drag and kinda reshape, okay? They make it so much easier. Now the other thing we can do with this as far as editing is concerned, we can throw the shift key in the mix if we want to. And you guys this is actually really important because what if I had this curve and I decide all I wanna do is I wanna take the entire curve and instead of like messing with it, transforming it up and down, I just wanna make it a little bit bigger or a little bit smaller. Hold the shift key down and you can click and drag the path. So hold the shift key down, click and drag the path. There we go, can you guys see that happening? And it's gonna constrain it, so it's gonna keep it so it's pretty much constrained and will only move left or right or whatever direction you're actually moving it. So it's kind of interesting there. Now the one thing you need to do is you need to let go of the key or sorry, let go of the mouse and then let go of the key when you do that. You guys may find that you need to hold, the shift key should work, is it working for you guys? Okay, it gets a little touchy, sometimes you actually need to go in and you can start moving it and hold the shift key down as you move as well. So you can start moving it first then hold the shift key down, there's a couple ways to kinda get that to work. So it's kind of interesting, there's a lot of ways to be able to change these handles. Now as we draw as well we're gonna be able to do that. So I'm gonna show you with the pen tool we can do this too. But this is a good way to be able to do quick, easy edits. Alright now another thing that we can do here and I'm totally messing up the path, that's fine, is we can go out and we can start to actually edit these points a little differently. If you come up to a shape that somebody drew or you drew for instance, why don't you come up to this point right here and go ahead and click on that anchor point, once again if you want to you can come up to it and you're gonna see that it's really subtle but these boxes do get bigger and you can see it. A lot of times I'll just click and drag across to select an anchor point, I don't wanna have to sit there and focus right on the point, so you can get that. Now of course with the direct selection tool we can actually move these around if we want to. I can click and drag and kind of do some different things with this. If we decide that we wanna edit this point and do something different with it, for instance right now it's actually what's called a corner point, okay? What I'd like to do is I'd like to convert it to what's called a smooth point. Let me do this real quick, I'm gonna open something up and just show you something I've got, I wanna point this out 'cause this hopefully will make sense and help out understanding if you're trying to get a little further in here. A corner point in Illustrator is actually a point that usually doesn't have any of those direction handles flying out of there, it can but it usually doesn't. And it's kind of, it's a corner, okay? A smooth point is going to have these little direction handles which are kinda like magnets attracting the path, and a smooth point's gonna like I said just kinda be a little bit smoother. Now a path altogether, let me show you this, a path altogether we actually have and you're gonna hear these terms, we have the anchor points which we've been talking about a little bit here, you can see them out there. We also have the path, now I've been calling this a path the entire time, technically this is actually a segment. That's the technical name for it if you will or one of those. So a segment is between two anchor points, something we can control. We actually have the entire direction handle right here which is kinda like that little magnet we were working with. And we have the end of the direction handle right here, they call it the direction point. And we have this guy right here, is called the direction line, who cares? You don't need to know that alright? I just figured I'd throw that out there but, so when we're dealing with paths the idea here is that we've gotta go in and we gotta kinda try and work with these a little bit. So let me close these out. Alright so if we have a point selected rather, if you come up to the control point or control panel right up here, we have a couple things we can work with that are super important when editing paths. You'll see right here we have two selections here, we have convert point to corner and convert point to smooth. Now there are a lot of ways to do this stuff, okay? As you're drawing you can do this, while you're editing or finish drawing you can do this as well. Why don't you come up here and do this, choose convert select an anchor to corner, click on that little button right there and you guys can take a look at it. It's not gonna change because technically it is a corner point, okay? Why don't you go ahead and choose convert to smooth, the next one over, and you can see what it does right? So this is a way for us if we decide hey, I don't need that to be this, I need it to be a little smoother, I wanna do something with it. You can then go out there if you take a look because it's smooth right there, I can start to edit each one of these little direction lines, these direction handles, independently. You can see right there, okay? So we've got some options for working with the path itself. That's one of the easier ways to be able to convert. There are tools I'm gonna show you in just a few minutes here that allow us to convert, but that's pretty simple.