Drawing the perfect curves using vector software packages like Illustrator or Photoshop can be cumbersome and a little inaccurate at times if you are trying to draw them freehand. Here’s a neat little trick that can save you hours of scanning, tracing and tweaking vector lines and do it in a geometric and mathematical way, it’s what vector was invented for.
Here is the final results that will be achieved in this walk through however, it can be applied to any shape that requires that gooey droplet kind of effect.
First you need to create a document. Any size will do but in this exercise I used a standard A4 document. The only important thing to do is to ensure you can see the grid and select snap to grid. So once your document is created select ‘Show Grid’ from the View menu then, ‘Snap to Grid’ from the same View menu as shown below.
Next draw a circle using the circle vector tool – it will snap to the grid so you can create perfect circles, you can also do this by holding shift to constrain the shape you are drawing but for this we’ll use the grid to make it easier.
Draw yourself a perfect circle like so…
The next step is to draw a smaller circle on top of the lower half of the first circle again using the grid to make things perfectly symmetric, this is to represent the first droplet…
Now make sure you have the pathfinder pallet visible using the main menu: Window > Pathfinder.
With both circles selected click on the unite icon in the Pathfinder pallet to join both circles together.
Repeat the process until you have all the circles you need but, with each droplet component move the smaller circle down a little each time to create the movement of a droplet. The key here is to make sure that your last droplet component has a gap between the larger circle and the smaller circle.
Now you might need to give yourself some space by moving the first droplet component away from the others. Draw a larger circle to contain the droplet or surround the whole droplet as shown below. At this stage I made the fill of the droplet component and the larger containing circle transparent so I could see both paths. If you don’t you’ll just cover the droplet with the containing circle and not see what is happening.
As earlier make sure you have the pathfinder pallet visible using the main menu: Window > Pathfinder.
NB: From this point it’s important to keep all the elements (paths) of the components selected, if you don’t you might get unpredictable results.
With the whole component selected click on the divide icon in the Pathfinder pallet to split each shape needed, this will help to create those smooth gooey joins later.
Whilst keeping the component selected, ungroup the items by going to the menu Object > Ungroup.
This will help later when you need to select individual paths for deletion.
Again whilst keeping all the elements in the component selected, offset the path by going to the menu Object > Offset.
The only setting you need to change here is the Offset parameter, ensure Joins is set to Round and click Preview to see your results before committing to the canvas. Now you will start to see the smooth rounded edges on the inner circle.
Again whilst the whole component is selected goto the menu Object > Ungroup. This is to separate all the individual paths.
Now you can delete the individual outer paths to isolate the final droplet. Make sure you are using the Group Selection Tool (white arrow with a plus symbol).
Click and drag to select the most outer paths ensuring not to delete the inner circle as this is the droplet shape required.
You should end up with the perfect gooey droplet shape, something like this…
You can now repeat the process with the other components and because the smaller circle was moved down slightly with each component you should end up with a perfect vector gooey logo that looks like droplets. You can now colour it up, add moulding, shadows and whatever other styles you wish to apply. I might treat that as another tutorial.
Happy goo-ing! Feel free to leave your comments below.