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Like this article? We recommend Pencil Tool Updates

Pencil Tool Updates

One of the bigger updates to Illustrator CC has to be the updates to the Pencil tool. Not everyone needs or uses the Pencil tool, but this may be the push you need to give it another try.

Overall, the Pencil tool has been used to create more organic, freeform paths. While that is still the case, one of the enhancements have made it possible to add straight segments to the paths you draw with the tool. As you draw with the Pencil tool, you can press the Shift key to create a straight path segment that is constrained to 45 degrees (see Figure 2).

Figure 2 Draw a straight line that is constrained

While drawing with the Pencil tool, you can also hold down the Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) and draw a straight segment that isn’t constrained to 45 degrees (see Figure 3).

Figure 3 Draw a straight line that is NOT constrained

The tool options have also had a bit of tweaking done to them. Double-click the Pencil tool in the Tools panel, and the Pencil Tool Options dialog box appears. There is now a single option for adjusting the Fidelity (more accurate or smoother), as shown in see Figure 4. In the past, there were two options—Fidelity and Smoothness—that most of us would either leave alone or change them and test with the Pencil tool to see what they did.

Figure 4 Pencil Tool options

So far, I really like the fact that the tool has more options and that the cursors are more in line with the Pen tool. One thing that is taking some getting used to is that you can no longer draw a path with the Pencil tool; hold down the Alt/Option key and release the mouse button to close the path. You now need to position the pointer close-ish to the beginning part of the path to close it when a circle appears next to the pointer. The Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) key now allows you to draw a straight-line segment.

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