Illustrator Spiral Tool

Illustrator Spiral Tool
In this tutorial, we will complete the first step in creating an SVG cut line for a swirl design element, which is to draw a spiral with the Spiral tool in IllustratorR. Swirls are very popular in scrapbooking and other paper craft projects. Once we have the spiral, we can convert that shape into our cut line for the swirl. From there we can create several swirl designs by copying the swirl shape and joining them together into various designs.

For this tutorial, we will take a look at the Spiral tool and how to use it to draw a spiral. In the next tutorial, we will turn this spiral into our swirl design element.

We want to draw a loose spiral. Select the Spiral tool and click on the artboard to open the dialog box. Depending on the desired size of your spiral, set these values in the dialog box.

  • Radius - This is similar to the radius of a circle and is the distance from the center point to the widest part of the spiral.

  • Decay - Controls the tightness of spiral’s wrap

  • Segments - It takes four segments to make one wrap in the spiral. Therefore, more segments will give you more wraps.

  • Style - These Icons are for choosing either a clockwise or counterclockwise spiral.

Let’s take a look at some examples.

  • Our first example has a Radius of 3.2685, Decay of 80%, 6 Segments and a Counterclockwise Style. Based on the Radius setting, our spiral has a width of about 6 inches. Because our Decay is set at 80%, our circular path is tight enough to create one wrap.

  • What would happen if we increased the number of segments to 12. Because the Radius is unchanged, we get more wraps and these wraps are tighter within the set Radius. Therefore an increase in segments tightens and increases the number of wraps in our spiral. A decrease of segments will reduce the number of wraps and places this smaller number of wraps loosely within the set Radius.

  • Our starting spiral has the Decay set to 80%. What would happen if we reduce the Decay to 40%? As you can see, the spiral becomes looser and because we still need to maintain the set Radius, our spiral begins to unwarp.

  • Our last question is what happens when we change the radius. As you can see, reducing the Radius to 1 and keeping the other original settings, gives us the same spiral at one third the size as our first example.

To sum up what we have learned, we can control the size and shape of our spiral via the Radius, Decay and Segments settings. Of course, to get a reverse image of our spiral, we just need to switch the Style from counterclockwise to clockwise.

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