by Roger Wambolt
This tutorial has been written for CorelDRAW® X7. While similar features might be available in previous releases, this tutorial is fully applicable to CorelDRAW X7 only.
Drawing objects in CorelDRAW is accomplished by using a variety of tools found in the toolbox. In this tutorial, we will look at the Curve Tools flyout. The curve tools include the 2-Point Line tool, the Freehand tool, the Bézier tool, the Pen tool, the B-Spline tool, the Polyline tool, the 3-Point Curve tool, and the Smart Drawing tool. Once properly mastered, these tools will make design creation simple and accurate.
What you will learn
In this tutorial, you will learn about
- Types of nodes
- Curve tools
- Recreating a bitmap as curves
Types of nodes
Before looking at the various curve tools available in CorelDRAW, we must look at the types of nodes that can be created, and how they are controlled. The figure below shows what a node looks like when selected with the Shape tool. The Shape tool is the standard tool for moving and manipulating nodes. The node pictured here is a cusp node.
Cusp nodes let you create sharp transitions, such as corners or sharp angles, in a curve object. You can move the control handles in a cusp node independently of each other, changing the line only on one side of the node.
With smooth nodes, the lines passing through the node take on the shape of a curve, producing smooth transitions between line segments. The control handles of a smooth node are always directly opposite each other, but they may be at different distances from the node.
Symmetrical nodes are similar to smooth nodes. They create a smooth transition between line segments, but they also let you give the lines on both sides of a node the same curved appearance. The control handles of symmetrical nodes are directly opposite each other and at equal distance from the node.
Line nodes let you shape curve objects by changing the shape of their segments. You can make a curved segment straight or a straight segment curved. Making a straight segment curved does not noticeably change the segment’s appearance, but it displays control handles that you can move to change the segment’s shape.
Now that we understand the various types of nodes in CorelDRAW, we can look at the tools used to draw lines and curves.
The Curve Tools flyout lets you create both curved and straight line segments.
Freehand and Polyline tools
The Freehand tool lets you control the smoothness of the curved line you are drawing as well as add segments to an existing line. However, the Polyline tool is easier to use for quickly drawing a complex line that consists of alternating curved and straight segments and allows you to draw in preview mode.
2-Point Line tool
You can draw straight lines by using the 2-Point Line tool. This tool also allows you to create straight lines that are perpendicular or tangent to objects.
Bézier and Pen tools
The Bézier and Pen tools let you draw lines one segment at a time by placing each node with precision and controlling the shape of each curved segment. The Pen tool gives you the added ability to preview the line segments as you are drawing.
The B-spline tool lets you draw curved lines by setting control points that shape the curve without breaking it into segments.
3-Point Curve tool
The 3-Point Curve tool lets you draw simple curved lines by specifying their width and height. You can use this tool to create arc shapes quickly without manipulating nodes.
Smart Drawing tool
You can use the Smart Drawing tool to draw freehand strokes that can be recognized and converted to basic shapes. If an object is not converted to a shape, it is smoothed. You can set the level at which CorelDRAW recognizes shapes and converts them to objects.
Recreating a bitmap as curves
We’ll use the Freehand tool to recreate a logo from a low-resolution (72 dpi) bitmap. Recreating the uneven edges of the bitmap as vector curves will make the shapes smooth and easy to control, reshape, or resize.
With the Freehand tool, we click the top of the letter "C" of the logo (as indicated by the letter "A" in the illustration below). Next, we follow the straight edges of the letter, double-clicking at the end of each segment. A single click ends the curve.
When the object has been created, we select the four nodes on the left-hand vertical lines with the Shape tool and click the Convert to curve button on the property bar.
This allows us to use the Shape tool to drag the control handles out to match the curvature of the letter.
Once we are satisfied with the shaping of the path around the letter, we give it a solid contrasting color, which makes it easier to see our progress. We can then move on to the next character.
When creating a character or object that is made up of multiple paths or areas, such as the letters A, a, B, b, D, d, O, o, P, p, Q, q or R, remember that the objects need to be combined once they have been created. This can be done by selecting the objects and clicking Object > Combine.
Using this process makes it easy to recreate almost any image you wish. Some may take a bit more time than others, but in the end you will have a piece of artwork that will remind you just how easy it is to draw curves in CorelDRAW Graphics Suite.