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CValley Xtream Path

Path creation, manipulation and effects tools for Adobe Illustrator By Dave Nagel
I review an awful lot of plugins for graphics applications, and almost universally they fall into the category of effects filters or menu-based functionality enhancements. Never before have I encountered a plugin that could actually replace the primary tools of its host application. Yet this is just what Xtream Path from CValley does to Adobe Illustrator. While not literally replacing Illustrator's tools, it provides alternatives that are just so much more efficient for path creation and manipulation that I rarely even touch Illustrator's default tools anymore.

Xtream Path is a plugin for Illustrator that provides 33 new tools, as well as one effect. The tools themselves are accessible through the standard Illustrator Tool palette nested in four spaces representing the plugin's four major areas of functionality: path creation and effects; handle-free path manipulation; fillets, chamfers and intersections; and miscellaneous resizing, repositioning and insertion tools.

Smart Rounding effect
The one effect included with the collection (accessible through the Effect menu) is called Smart Rounding. Designed primarily for rounding off type objects, Smart Rounding is, nevertheless, a useful general-purpose tool. It's a little bit difficult to describe, but for those of your familiar with 3D terminology, think of it as a sort of NURBS cage for 2D graphics. For those of you who are unfamiliar with 3D terminology, let me show you what I mean. Let's say I draw this object:

Then I apply Smart Rounding, and I get this:

The effect, which remains always editable, puts a cage around the original, object, which you can then drag around to adjust the positioning of the path. You can also go in and edit the parameters for the effect itself at any time.

When applied to live text, the effect is a little bit different because you can't manipulate the cage placed on text like you can on an object (unless you convert the text to paths). But the effect does remain editable, so you can make adjustments through the effect dialog at any time.

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Related Keywords:adobe illustrator, path manipulation, path editing, splines, bezier curves, vector illustration, vector effects, path effects


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