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Part: Two Working with Shapes > Exact Points and Precision Curves

Chapter 6. Exact Points and Precision Curves

Much as Illustrator tries, at a price range of $149 to $399, it just can't live up to the 25¢ pencil when it comes to smooth, real-time drawing. Whether you use Illustrator's pencil, paintbrush, or auto trace tool, you still get the same thing—paths divided by anchor points. A drawing tablet and stylus help, but only to communicate smoother lines to Illustrator; they don't help Illustrator better interpret your beautiful work.

Each version of Illustrator does a better job of interpreting pencil paths. Look how far we've come since Illustrator 88 (the first version to offer the tool). So one might expect Illustrator 2010 to perform even better and Illustrator 2525 to be right on the money. In the meantime, we can either suffer with clunky paths, or we can fix them.

That said, it would be a sin if fixing paths weren't what this chapter is all about. I'll explore a whole mess of path-editing theories—you'll see how to move anchor points and bend segments to get lines as smooth as water droplets and as organic as flower petals. I'll also cover the pen tool—the only tool in all of Illustrator that lets you draw paths correctly the first time out. And just when you think Illustrator couldn't be any dreamier, I'll throw in some pointers for adding, deleting, and converting points.

If Illustrator is nothing else, it's the most excellent path creation and manipulation tool the world has ever enjoyed. This chapter tells why.


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