[thelist] illustrator paths and points

John Dowdell jdowdell at macromedia.com
Thu Mar 22 16:48:09 CST 2001

"A. Erickson" wrote:
> ... when I'm making a curved line, it doesn't always curve in the
> smoothest manner because I'm doing it by hand and sometimes I get it
> right and other times I don't... What do you all work with when
> you're making paths?

The Bezigon Tool in FreeHand directly addresses this need for
auto-curvature. (Its name comes from "bezier/polygon".) Where you control
curvature with a regular Bezier Pen, the Bezigon Tool adjust curvature
automatically, as you draw, for the most relaxed curve to fit all points.

I think this will do exactly what you're seeking, although it's not in the
tool you named, sorry. :(

By the way, the rule of thumb for drawing smooth curves back in PostScript
days was to visualize both sides of the curve passing through the point,
drag in the direction to make a tangent to this curve, and make the handle
about a third as long as the segment it controls. It's a bit abstract, and
requires visualization, but is still a good rule of thumb for predicting

At 2:54 PM 3/20/1, Joe Crawford wrote:
> Another thought is that you can draw in Flash and export
> to EPS for further tweaking in Illustrator.

This can be particularly effective because the Macromedia Flash authoring
application has a different drawing model, and it's easy to curve and relax
shapes here. (I would export as .AI myself.)

Matter of fact, you can just brush out a shape, smooth its outline if
necessary, then bring these vectors into a traditional PostScript-style
tool. It's a way to directly use pixel-like painting to end up with
scalable vector curves.

At 2:36 AM 3/21/1, Matt Wenham wrote:
> As an aside to this, does anyone know if the Flash 5 format
> has introduced true cubic beziers, or are they approximated
> using quadratic beziers?

No, the vector description used in SWF files is still the compact and
quicker-rendering quadratic bezier. When you use the Bezier Pen Tool in
Macromedia Flash 5 this is quickly converted to a cached bicubic
representation for those twin PostScript-style curve handles, but for
playback we still minimize data costs by a third from using one control
handle per segment instead of two.

More info:
"Notes on the Bezier Pen Tool in Macromedia Flash 5"


John Dowdell, Macromedia Tech Support, San Francisco CA US
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