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How to Use Corner Widgets

Lesson 5 from: Infographic Elements from Scratch in Illustrator

Jason Hoppe

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Lesson Info

5. How to Use Corner Widgets

Lesson Info

How to Use Corner Widgets

So, I've got a rectangle here, or a square, and there's a couple of things that I would like to do with this. Now, you'll notice when I select on a square, or a rounded rectangle, here, I got these little corners right there, those little targets right there. This is awesome. And this came out a few versions ago, and this is what I absolutely love about creating what shapes here. These little corners are called corner widgets. And anything that is going to meet at a corner, not a smooth but an actual corner, we have two line segments meeting here, you're gonna get a corner widget. And a corner widget allows you to, literally, widget the corners. But what does widgeting mean? Well, basically, these are corner widgets, and you can control the size and the style of the corner. Now, when I originally drew my rectangle, I was able to use my up or down arrows while I was drawing my rounded rectangle to control the corner size. But, I can actually do this after I've drawn, by using the corner...

widgets. And it's this simple. I've drawn my shape, and I'm actually gonna fill this with nothing, here, so you can see this a little bit better, and there's my shape, and I would like to go in, and I would like to round the corners. And I see, just with my selection tool, when I hover over these little targets, these corner widgets, I get that little frowny face, and it's showing me what's happening with those corners. And I click on those targets, I drag them in, to get more corner widgetiness, and I drag them out to get less corner widgetiness. In and out. And it's like, okay that's pretty awesome, right there. While I have different corners that I can also do, and up in the control bar here, I've got this Shape properties panel, and I can click on that Shape properties panel, and I can see that I can control those corner widgets with a very specific amount, if I'd like, but I can also go in and get different corner types. So I can have inverse rounded, and I could also have ones that are going to be flat, and it's like, wow this is cool, I can actually go in and I can adjust each one separately, for very interesting visual effect right here, and so on. That's one way to do it. It's right there. What I like is being able to go in and do my corner widgets, quick and easy. So, when I select any of the targets here, the little corner widgets with my selection tool, if I hold down my Option key, I will be able to Option-click, and cycle through my three corner styles. So Option-click, flat, rounded, inverse rounded. If I pull on any of the corners, they're all gonna widget at the same rate, Option-click, and they'll all cycle through all the corners at the same rate. And this is true with anything that comes to a corner. Rectangle, rounded rectangle, Polygon Tool, or a star. You can widget them all. So, corner widgets are gonna be great, we're gonna use them constantly, because they rock so much. So there's how to corner widget an entire object. But, what I'd like to do is, I would like to create one of those little map markers that you see on maps, you know, those perfect little buns that are nice and rounded that come to a point? We're gonna corner widget this. So, when I was working on this corner shape, or this shape here with the corner widgets, I was doing all four corners at once. I could click on my shape here, I could go to my shape, and I could unlink this right here, and I could go in, and say, okay I'd like to round that shape, and I'd like to put more roundedness on that shape right there, and do that, and then I could go ahead and select this corner, and I could round that as well, and, y'know, make sure that's the same amount here, takes a little bit of time. But I can do each corner separately. By doing it this way, takes a lot of time. So I'm going to go through, and I'm going to do it a lot faster by using my Direct Selection Tool. And how this works, really simple. If I would like to go in, and I would like to corner widget something really quickly, I can go in, and I can select my corner widget, with my Direct Selection Tool, or my Selection Tool, doesn't matter which one it is, but you notice, when I go in here, and I click on this, let me try it on this one here, so you can see it a little bit better, if I take that corner widget, and I go in and I click on that, do you notice how it gets a little bit heavier? Right there? When I do that, that allows me to go in and corner widget just that one by itself. Just kind of isolates it. Once I'm done, you see it goes back to normal. So I'll need to click that again, and then I can go in, and I can change that aspect, for just that one, really simply. When I get to the point, where it's I'm, I'm at maximum widgetness, I'm just making this up as I go, I see that red line, and that's as far as I can go with that particular corner. But once I go off, it's no longer in target mode. So that's fine if I want to do this, and I'm going to target this one, and I'm going to pull them all in, but it's like, it does everything. So I need to target that one, and pull that one all the way in, so like, okay that does that, I get a weird shape, and I could do this on every single one. That's great, but it's one at a time, and you have to turn it on, 'cause once you let go, you gotta turn it on again. I wanna do more that one, but I don't want to do all of them. So I'm gonna go with my Direct Selection Tool, and I'm going to select just the corners that I would like to widget. So, I want to do this corner, and I wanna do that corner, and I wanna do that corner, and you'll notice, when I go and I select that corner, only that corner widget appears. No other corner widgets, 'cause only that corner is selected. So click and drag over those corners, and I can do those individually. While I would like to do three out of the four of them, so I'm going to go and I'm going to select just those three, that one's not selected, 'cause the corner widget doesn't show up. I'm now going to pull them all in, and I'm going to pull them into the center, the red shows the maximum, look at that. You know that little, little map pointer, right there? There you have it. No way. You want a beak for a bird? Take that, rotate that 45 degrees, and hover outside here, rotate that 45 degrees, you know, make that orange, now you have a beak for a bird. Right there. We still haven't drawn anything, folks. It's just basic shapes. It's all there is to it. Okay? And, with those little map pointers, you want to put that little white dot in the middle, simple. I wanna go in and I wanna put that dot right in the middle of my object, so I'm gonna take my circle, and whenever I draw with any of my shapes, you notice when I draw, we always pull from one corner. I happen to be left-handed, so I start on the left and I go. But we're always drawing from the corner. So I'm actually drawing from up here. But I'd like to draw from the center so that I can put this right in the center of my object. Now, by default, I have my Smart Guides turned on, and you'll see that when I touch the outside of a path, or get to the center of something, or aligned with something, these little lasers shoot out here. These are your Smart Guides. These are going to align to the top, bottom, left, right, or center, of any and all objects that are on the page. And if your Smart Guides are not turned on, you can go under your View menu, there's your Smart Guides. It's turned on by default. Well, this helps you in so many aspects of creation because if you want to align something, you don't have to draw it, and then align it later, you can actually draw it while you have aligned it with your Smart Guides. So, using this, I would like to put my circle in the center of my little pointer. So I take my circle, and I go and I find the center, it actually says center, right here, but when I draw, I'm gonna get this shape, starting off from the center, which is not what I want. So I'm gonna put my cursor in the center here, and I'm gonna want to draw from the center. So if any of my shapes, rectangle or circle, that I'd like to draw from the center, it's not the default for drawing, I can hold down my Option key. And you see what my cursor does there? Do you see how when I hold down my Option key, it gives me a little bit of curves there? That's showing me that when I hold down my Option key, I'm drawing from the center. Now of course if I hold down my Shift key as well, that's gonna allow me to draw from the center, and it's going to allow me to constrain, and then I can then fill that with white, and there it is, right there, there's my object. No way. And I rotate this for my little bird and I move my eyeball up, and there's my little bird, right there, yeah. Okay? That's not my bird, that's just the beak for the bird. But, simple and easy. Being able to go in, basic drawing shapes, right there. These are also great pointers too. If you ever want to point to something, you know, it's a great pointer. Draw a line there, little indication marks, whatever, you want a little clock, or a dial, sure. Simple stuff. Really simple. Haven't drawn a single thing, but certainly have created a lot of fun stuff. I'm gonna jump over to my Polygon Tool, use my up or down arrows, (mumbles) a triangle here. Now, anything that comes to a corner point, we have corner widgets. And you'll notice, when I draw a triangle here, this is no exception. And I get my little corner widget, and I only see that there's only one corner widget on here, and when I draw this, and I move my corner widget, I can pull this corner, and it's gonna do all of them. You ever want a guitar pick? There you go. Simple and easy, you can corner widget that whole thing. If you would like to go in and only corner widget one corner, again, you can take your Direct Selection Tool, and look what happens. Just from going from my Selection Tool, when I'm in just the normal move, rotate mode, or transform, I go to my Direct Selection, and all of the sudden, I see each of those corner widgets showing up. If I would like to corner widget just one thing, I can select just the one corner by clicking and dragging over, and then I can go in and I can corner widget right there, and I can get a little mound of something. Whatever it may be. Great. There it is. You know, how I feel, like a Monday morning. Just this nice lump. Right there. But that's a great way to be able to go through and control your corners. I can always go in, and do that with the corners too, oh my gosh, look at, you know, now I got a little, mask, I could put a little hat on this thing, and I could turn this into an elf, in no time. Yes, you got the round head, you got the little hat, right there. It's simple. Yep. So all these things that you can do, with corner widgets. If I pull those in, I could also Option-click, and I could change the shape of those too, so I could go in and create some sort of diamond, right there. I know. Simple as can be. People are saying, yeah but you make it look so easy. If I made it look hard, that would totally defeat the purpose, wouldn't it? Exactly. Okay. So we've got our basic shapes there, working pretty good. But here's the one that is going to be the coolest. And personally, I think, like, this is the most awesome, ever. Using the Star Tool, and got my Star Tool, and the Star Tool is great, but you're like, when am I ever gonna use this for anything? Well, you know, this is really good for, you know, 50% off, going out of business, sales, you know, a little burst on top of something, you know, buy one get one free, you know, all day sale, whatever, ending soon, limited quantities, you know, this is the typical burst right here. But I want to show you what we can do with a star and go well beyond this kind of stuff, just with corner widgets, and something with multiple points. I'm gonna fill this with a lighter color so we can see what's going on with our points right here. Now, like I said, every time we have a rectangle, or a rounded rectangle, or anything with corners, you'll see that we always get corner widgets, on every single one that we select. Corner widget, corner widgets, corner widgets. And, when I look at something like this, these also meet at corners, but where are my corner widgets? In this particular case, they don't show up by using the Selection Tool. These corner widgets only show up when I click on this with my Direct Selection Tool. They're there, they're just not readily available. So, no corner widgets show with the Selection Tool, but the Direct Selection Tool, I get my corner widgets. Okay, I need to make sure everybody's strapped in, because this is going to get awesome. (audience chuckling) Okay? So, I posted this particular thing on the blog here, and I kind of reposted because people always get amazed. Now, we have three types of corner widgets. We have round, we have flat, and we have inverse rounded. So, I'm going to take my shape, and my corner widgets, and since they're all selected, they're all going to move. So it doesn't matter which corner widgets, and I can pull those in, and pull those out. When I see the red at the corner widgets, that's basically the maximum amount of widgetness, right there. And I can create like a little doily, or a little cupcake, and it's like, oh my gosh, that's kind of cool. Try to draw that. There's no way you're ever gonna go in and draw that shape or try to do a little convoluted piece, at all. Like just, you're not gonna do it. So, there it is, and it's like, that's cool, I can't believe that I can just go corner widget that, you know, I can create a little starfish, or an octopus, or something like that, who knows, you know, all of the sudden, this begins to really start to get awesome and crazy. But here's where it turns totally ridiculous. So, right now, all I'm doing is, I'm just using the rounded corner widget. And you can see when I hover over this, it's just a rounded corner widget. While I also have flat corners, and I have inverse rounded corners, too. So, again, if I want to go through and I want to widget all these, I can hold down the Option key, and that allows me to widget that, and it's like, ooh. You know, I call this little cold virus. Doesn't that look like a cold virus? It totally does. You know? So you get the little interior lumps and the exterior, and it's like, that's pretty cool. It's like, wow, so. More cold virus, less cold virus, you know, a little doily, whatever it may be, it's like, that's pretty cool. Well, you know, I haven't drawn anything. It's just a star, I mean, how much more simple do you get? So I can pull that in or out, and then I can Option-click again, check that out. I know. And it's like, seriously? I never thought you could create a gear with a star. Yeah. The trick to this is, when you do your star here, don't pull it all the way in to your maximum amount, where you see the red, 'cause if you do, and you Option-click through here, some of these things aren't gonna look much different, with the flat, the inverse rounded, it's like, yeah, it's not much is happening. Because, if you pull it all the way in to your maximum amount, you're going to limit what you're going to see. But there it is, and then I can control the gear with how many teeth, and it's like, get out. So, I personally love gears, I'm a mechanical guy, so, there's nothing more cool if you wanna show, how it works, type of infographic, you show gears. I mean, that's one of those cliches, de facto thing that you do. It's like, here's how it all works, and it's like, no way. So I could take this, and I could copy that, and I could paste it over here, and I could fit my gears together, and then I could go ahead and change it to a different color, and it's like, no way. Then I could rotate that a little bit so it fits in there, and it's like, (chuckles) look at that. Wow. We still haven't drawn anything. It's all just using basic shapes. That's it. Just basic shapes.

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Ratings and Reviews

Patricia Green

This class is so much fun! I gobbled it up because I enjoyed every minute. It begins my journey into infographics, something I intend to put in my portfolio. Jason Hoppe is a great instructor who really knows his stuff. If you want to have fun with Illustrator, this is the class for you!


I bought the first version of the course of Infographics and I strongly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn how to use Illustrator. Exactly as he explains in the video, this is not a course just to learn how to make graphics. At the end of the course you will be able to develop just about anything in Illustrator. Really! All the knowledge I have today of this tool, started from this course of Infographics to which he refers. Not only the content is comprehensive, but Jason is a great teacher, explaining everything very, very simply. I'm looking forward to watching this update.


Jason, you ROCK! I learned a lot of things during this class. Thank you for being such a great teacher and taking time to share your knowledge. Will continue to purchase your classes. Sandra

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