In today’s article I explore new functions of the Pencil Tool (N). Tool options have been greatly simplified, from now on we can automatically close paths and draw straight line segments. Are there any problems with editing paths? Let’s check.
Pencil Tool Options
In previous releases of Adobe Illustrator Tolerance defined two options - Fidelity and Smoothness. These options can have infinite number of values since the parameters can have fractional numbers. I always thought it was too difficult to control. In Adobe Illustrator CC/17.1 tolerance is defined with one option - Fidelity, which has only four values. I surely welcome such simplification!
Now let’s check how it works. I created a zigzag curve which will be used as a template. Now I draw with a pencil on it with maximum Smooth and minimal Accurate value of Fidelity.
Undoubtedly in the first case the path appear to be smoother but for some reason it has more points than the value of accurate. In addition, the difference between the extreme values of the parameter is not as significant as in previous releases. Perform the same task in Adobe Illustrator CS5. This time I consider extreme values of two parameters, Fidelity and Smoothness.
I’ve not even thought that the Pencil Tool used to work so bad earlier! Indeed we have a more accurate and easily controlled tool.
Automatic closing paths
As we approach the end point of the path to a distance that corresponds to tolerance, the path closes automatically after we release the mouse button. Tolerance is set in the Pencil Tool Options dialog box in the Within field.
Previously, for these purposes we needed to hold down the Opt/Alt key.
Straight segments drawing
You can use the pencil tool to draw straight segments constrained to 0, 45 or 90 degrees. by holding down the Shift button.
To create a straight segments located at arbitrary angles hold down the Opt/Alt key.
Previously it was impossible to create straight segments with the help of the Pencil Tool.
Open Paths Connection
Select two paths then extend the first path to a startpoint or an endpoint of the second path. In the Pencil Tool Options dialog box the option Edit Selected Path should be selected.
Previously for the same purposes we needed to hold down the Cmd/Ctrl key at the moment of approaching to the second point.
Earlier editing a shape with the help of the Pencil Tool (N) could lead to unpredictable consequences such as the opening of a closed path, closing of an open path, and even removal of a part of the shape. Unfortunately, the Pencil Tool (N) found no cure from this disease. It can be seen on the animation indicated below.
Practice will show how serious this shortcoming is.
Despite minor flaws the Pencil Tool (N) has been significantly improved. I recommend it to you!