Tangent Lines to Curved Segments in Logo Design

Tangent-curves-animation

56 Responses (page 1 of 3)

  1. Gert van Duinen Gert van Duinen

    For the last couple of months a few people asked how to connect a tangent line to a curved segment in order to create a smooth geometrically correct transition from a curve to a straight line. I promised to make a little GIF animation to explain this method.

    So, if you ever wondered how to make tangent lines to a curved path by hand, in order to create a smooth transition of any angle, here's one trick I've been using for quite some years. It's the most precise method I know:

    1. Make a circle and add any angled line.
    2. Select that line, double-click the Rotate tool, enter 90° and hit Copy.
    3. Move the copied line to the exact centre of your circle.
    4. Convert copied line into a guide (Alt + Option/shift + 5)
    5. Select the first angled line and move its starting point to the position where the circle and the guideline intersects, assuming your Smart Guides are active (ctrl / command + U). You may adjust your Smart Guides settings accordingly to achieve maximum snapping control. The maximum snapping tolerance is 10pt.

    You angled line is now in perfect tangent position.

    It's one of the oldest requested features for Illustrator, but I guess Adobe never felt the urge to add such a basic geometric feature until date. Luckily there are scripts and plug-ins to make this process effortless.

    Some weapons of mass construction

    One of the best plug-ins I've seen and still use today are the following three favourites:

    SubScribe by Astute Graphics.

    Xstream Path by CValley.

    VectorScribe by Astute Graphics.

    For a few bucks each one of these plug-ins offer you a very powerful set of editing tools within Illustrator.

    likes

    about 2 years ago

  2. Deividas Graužinis Deividas Graužinis

    yep. That is right!

    likes

    about 2 years ago

  3. Stuart L Crawford Stuart L Crawford

    Cheers for the tip Gert

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    about 2 years ago

  4. Mathieu Berenguer ▲▼▲ Mathieu Berenguer ▲▼▲

    Sure. =)

    likes

    about 2 years ago

  5. Jerome Collinge Jerome Collinge

    Great tip, thanks for that, I'm sure a lot more people will be appreciative of this too!

    likes

    about 2 years ago

  6. Jonny Delap Jonny Delap

    Cool! Thanks for sharing

    likes

    about 2 years ago

  7. Joaquim Marques Nielsen Joaquim Marques Nielsen

    Awesome tip thank man :) *copy/pasting to desktop*

    likes

    about 2 years ago

  8. Enon Avital Enon Avital

    Tip of the hat to ya, sir

    likes

    about 2 years ago

  9. Jonathan Moreira Jonathan Moreira

    Thanks Gert for sharing this great trick!

    likes

    about 2 years ago

  10. Nemanja Jovanovic aka Fracturize Nemanja Jovanovic aka Frac...

    Thanks for sharing tip,i've been doing it the hard way,now after this tip it will go super faster ,thanks!

    likes

    about 2 years ago

  11. Jon Stapp | atomicvibe Jon Stapp | atomicvibe

    Thanks for the great tut, Gert! Makes a lot more sense now that you've animated it.

    likes

    about 2 years ago

  12. Mike Heitzke Mike Heitzke

    Awesome tip. I've been doing it the "well, that's sort of looking right" method

    likes

    about 2 years ago

  13. Art Sevani Art Sevani

    nice! great tut. There are also few other ways to do it in different situations, as long as you get familiar with geometric shapes you can even come up with your own solutions to problems like this. )

    likes

    about 2 years ago

  14. Erik Deiner Erik Deiner

    Don't really use Illustrator but can I tattoo your logo? :)

    likes

    about 2 years ago

  15. Jake Bullock Jake Bullock

    Nice one man, this looks way better than the bodged way I normally do it. Thanks :).

    likes

    about 2 years ago

  16. Gert van Duinen Gert van Duinen

    @Erik lol, cheers man!

    about 2 years ago

  17. Gert van Duinen Gert van Duinen

    @Art That's correct sir ;)

    likes

    about 2 years ago

  18. Alex Potapenko Alex Potapenko

    How about rotating the circle by 45 degrees? Its faster and also gives an anchor to hook on, so you can draw the same sloping line without making any guides.

    likes

    about 2 years ago

  19. George King George King

    Thanks Gert, you the man.

    likes

    about 2 years ago

  20. Michael Norcross Michael Norcross

    Yeah that makes more sense then how I have been doing it for the last 10 years.. Thanks!!!

    likes

    about 2 years ago

  21. Alex Potapenko Alex Potapenko

    Ok, if you need 27° (for instance) angle, you have to rotate the circle and the line by 27°. Exactly the same way when drawing 45° angle, isn't it?

    likes

    about 2 years ago

  22. Mark Jooste Mark Jooste

    Fantastic! Thanks Gert!

    likes

    about 2 years ago

  23. Gert van Duinen Gert van Duinen

    There are more ways of course, and the method you described is a solid way to achieve the same when you only need to connect a single line

    Though I personally just want to make an extra anchor on a curved segment just by making a perpendicular copy of the straight line and convert it to a guide. While a second opposite line may have a different angle, I need to rotate the circle back to its origin and start over again.

    I often prefer to keep the 4 points of a crcle at their original tangencies. Sure, I can copy and/or rotate back the circle to its origin, but I guess it's the same, if not more, the amount of work.

    likes

    about 2 years ago

  24. Erin Potter Erin Potter

    Thanks Gert! Lovely tip!

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    about 2 years ago

  25. Drift Drift

    Thank you for this.

    likes

    about 2 years ago

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