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Drawing a smooth line

How do you draw a smooth line so it doesn't look like a kid drew it?

     
2:31 am on Jun 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I know it's a simple task, but I can't remember how to draw a smooth line in either Photoshop 7 or Fireworks MX. When the option in need is set, after you draw the line, it smooths it out so it doesn't look like jagged chicken scratch drawn by a kid.

How do ya do that thang?

3:35 am on June 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Today's graphics keyword is: ANTI-ALIASING :)

I don't know where the button is to click in PS but that's your ticket - anti-aliasing.

Hopefully someone with PS experience can come along and tell you how to turn it on.

4:16 am on June 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

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You mean when drawing with the pencil tool? I know if you draw it with one of the pen tools, it creates a "path" out of your line, and you can then use an option to smooth the path (I think... maybe under the "Select" menu somewhere?).

If nobody's found it by tomorrow, I'll look around for it while I'm at work. :)

4:19 am on June 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Never mind.

Mivox is on the right path with paths. I don't use them though...

4:30 am on June 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

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In Photoshop, a lot depends on the tool you a re using to draw your "line". In general, anti-aliasing options are on the top bar, if the tool you are using allows anti-aliasing.

However, there are a lot of other approaches. It's always possible to draw a rather jagged line -- even though its edges may be antialiased, you still don't want am erratic line with smooth edges.

PENCIL TOOL
-- For a straight line from any one point to any other point --
Click on one end point, hold down SHIFT, and click on the other end point. The resulting line will be straight, but if it's on an angle, it will NOT be anti-aliased. You'll see the jaggies along the edges of your tilted line, but the line itslef will be straight.

-- For a perfectly straight horizontal or vertical line --
Hold down SHIFT while you drag the tool. It will be constrained perfectly vertical (or horizontal) no matter how your mouse jitters.

This becomes very intuitive very quickly when you start playing with it.

BRUSH TOOL
Found on the pencil tool tab, and works similarly to the Pen tool. But the edges of the line WILL be smoothly anti-aliased -- and even a bit blurry, depending on which brush you select.

PEN TOOL
This is the best way to draw smooth curves. It creates a vector path which you can do a lot with after it's created - tracing the path with a color, turning it into a selection, and so on.

It's best to learn about the pen tool and paths through the Photoshop Help menu or a tutorial. But for smooth curved lines, this is the best approach.

You click with the pen tool to put down one anchor point for the curve, and then click again to fix a second point. When you click the second point, you get a set of handlebars that you can twist and turn, creating different smooth curves between the two anchor points. Now you can create a third anchor point, etc.

It does take some practice to become fluent with the Photoshop Pen Tool. It works essentially the same as the tool in Illustrator, so if you're familiar with that program, you've got a head start.

[edited by: tedster at 5:07 am (utc) on June 6, 2003]

5:00 am on June 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Cool. Thanks, guys. I gotta jet, but I'll check it out tomorrow.
4:36 pm on June 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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LABachelor says: COOL, GOTTA JET. Smooth....