Today we begin a series of articles devoted to new features of Adobe Illustrator CC/17.1, which to my point of view are long-expected and more useful than the features of the previous, 17.0, release. Let’s take a closer look at these features - on the stage of Live Corners.
Finally we have the opportunity to round corners of vector objects with the help of the standard functions. Yes, of course, earlier there has been the Round Corner Effect, but it has a number of limitations and disadvantages which we’re not going to mention now. Let’s simply watch how to use the New Live Corners feature.
Management and options of the New Live Corners feature
Create any figure with the help of the Pen Tool (P), which consists of straight and curved segments.
Take the Direct Selection Tool (A) and select the entire object. As you can see, in the corners of our figure appear some new control elements, which are called the Live Corner Widgets.
Don’t panic if you don’t see them ;) Make sure that your Adobe Illustrator is updated to the 17.1. release and enable this option (View > Show Corner Widget). The shift of one of the widget to the angle’s opposite direction will round all the angles of the selected figure. When moving the widget we see a message about the current rounding radius.
To round one or many angles we need to select them with the Direct Selection Tool (A). As you can see on the figure below the Corner Widgets appear only above the selected angles.
To activate the widget of the rounded angle it is enough to select any point from the arch or the arch itself.
The shift of the Corner Widgets towards the angle decreases the rounding radius and eventually completes disappearance of rounding (when the radius is zero).
We have the opportunity to set the exact value of the rounding radius for selected angles on the Control panel.
To change other parameters we need to open the Corners dialog window by clicking on the Corners link in the Control panel or click twice on the Corner Widget.
Here we can select the type of the angle rounding by switching between the options Round, Inverted Round and Chamfer.
The Rounding option has two variants- Absolute and Relative. Absolute Rounding corresponds to the exact angle rounding. I think the Relative Rounding was intended by developers to correspond to the rounding with the help of the Round Corners effect. But if it is not the case, then take a look at the figure below and you’ll see it for yourself. So for me it still remains a mystery what the Relative Rounding exactly is.
Shortcuts and Preferences
Up and Down arrow key while dragging a Live Corners widget changes corner styles (Round, Inverted Round and Chamfer).
Alt/Option + click on Live Corners widget also change the corner styles.
Users have the option to hide Live Corners widget for corner angles greater than a specified value. You can specify this value in the Preferences > Selection & Anchor Display > Hide Corner Widget for angles greater than field.
You can round an angle, change the rounding radius and the style infinite number of times. Though, if one of the points from the arch of the rounding will be modified or its handles will be moved, then widget will disappear, and you’ll lose the opportunity to control this function.
The angle cannot be rounded further than the end of the path or the neighboring point. When you drag the Live Corners Widget to the highest possible point, the rounding will be highlighted red.
Unfortunately, I’ve noticed some problems when using the Live Corners feature:
1. When reaching the maximum possible point the perfect alignment of the arch with the point of the adjacent path segment doesn’t take place. If we increase the contact point in the previous figure, we will see a small segment that remains between the points (the length of such segment is roughly 1pt).
2. The rounded segment is not a part of the ideal circle. On the figure below you can see a rounded angle and an inscribed circle. As you can see, there are some small differences in paths’ trajectories.
Despite these minor problems, I think, that most designers will be happy use the Live Corners feature.