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Ribbon Curl in Adobe Illustrator

Using envelope distortions to bend objects over themselves By Dave Nagel
Envelope distortions are nothing new to Adobe Illustrator, having been around since version 10. As we've discussed in previous articles, they're useful for forcing artwork to conform to the bounds of path-based objects. But they can also be used to distort elements of your composition into folds or curls in (seemingly) three dimensions. We'll take a look at how to do this and how to create envelopes that can be used over and over to create distortions on other objects.

The key to getting this technique to work reliably for you is in the creation of the envelope itself--that is, the object to be used as the basis for distorting other objects, such as images, text and shapes. The problem is that when you try to create an envelope such as this freehand, the results are unpredictable. But using the technique we'll explore here should produce reliable envelopes that can produce curls, folds or other distortions anytime.

Creating the envelope shape

The trick here is to start with a simple object from which we'll then build our envelope using a mesh distortion. For this example, we'll start with a rectangle. It doesn't matter what fill or stroke you use; Those things will disappear when we actually apply the envelope.

From there, choose Object > Envelope Distort > Create with Mesh. This isn't the only technique you can use for this, but it's a good one because the grid gives you a visual representation of how the final envelope will look. In this case, we'll apply a grid of four rows and columns.

Now switch over to the Direct Selection tool (keyboard shortcut A). Select the right-hand column of points, and drag them so that they overlap the object.

Then grab the column of point second from the left, and drag it up.

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Related Keywords:adobe illustrator, envelope distrortion, ribbon curl, page curl, page fold, illustrator cs

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