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Reshaping Curves with the Subselection Tool

The subselection tool lets you manipulate a point's Bézier handles to modify the slope and depth of the curve. You can add and delete points and convert existing curve points to corner points, or vice versa, with the pen tool (see "Converting, Removing, and Adding Points," later in this chapter).

One way to reshape a curve is to change the location of the anchor points that define the curve.

To move a curve point:

  1. In the Toolbar, choose the subselection tool.
  2. Click a path to select it. Flash highlights the entire path of the selected element.
  3. Position the pointer over a curve point. The anchor-point modifier appears.
  4. Click and drag the point to a new location. Flash previews the new curve as you drag ( Figure 3.38 ).
    fig_0338_positnsbslct.jpg

    Figure 3.38 One way to modify a curved path is to reposition anchor points with the subselection tool.

After you move a curve point, the path remains selected, and the Bézier control handles of the point you moved become active so that you can further manipulate the curve.

To reshape a curve with the Bézier handles:

  1. With the subselection tool, click the curve you want to modify.
  2. Click one of the anchor points that define the curve you want to modify. Bézier handles appear.
  3. Click and drag one of the Bézier handles. The pointer changes to an arrowhead.
  4. To modify the curve, do one or more of the following:
    • To make the curve more pronounced, position the Bézier handle farther from the curve in the direction in which the curve bulges.
    • To make the curve flatter, position the Bézier handle closer to the curve.
    • To make the curve bulge in the opposite direction, move the Bézier handle past the existing curve, in the opposite direction from the current bulge.
    • To make the curve deeper, position the Bézier handle farther from the anchor point.
    • To make the curve shallower, position the Bézier handle closer to the anchor point. Flash previews the new curve as you manipulate the Bézier handle ( Figure 3.39 ).
      fig_0339_curvesegment.jpg

      Figure 3.39 When you select anchor points, their Bézier handles appear (A). Leaning a Bézier handle away from a curve (B) makes that curve segment more pronounced (C). Leaning the handle toward the curve flattens that part of the curve. Dragging the Bézier handle away from its anchor point (D) makes the curve deeper (E); dragging the handle toward the anchor point makes the curve shallower.

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