Toolbox

Toolbox

The Toolbox.

The VectorStyler Toolbox is located on the left side of the main window (in the initial configuration). The Toolbox contains the tools used to create, modify and style objects on the current canvas. The toolbox is organized into groups of tools, and some of the tools are accessible by opening a popup tool view. These popup tool groups can be detached to form separate toolboxes. The toolbox can be customized by the user and various custom toolboxes can be loaded into VectorStyler. The content of the toolbox may be different in your setup depending on the type of customization applied.

This page contains a description of tools accessible from the toolbox, for detailed description of individual tools refer to the chapters documenting the feature.

Selecting Objects

  • The Pointer tool is used to select objects. Groups are selected as a whole and objects inside a group can be selected only in isolated mode.
  • The Shape Selector tool is used to select members of composite shapes. Composite shapes are made of a combination (boolean operation) of multiple shapes. This tool allows the selection and editing of these individual shapes.
  • The Deep Selector tool is similar to the pointer tool, except this tool allows the selection of individual objects inside groups, without the need to enter into isolated mode. This allows the simultaneous selection of objects from different groups in the layer hierarchy.
  • The Content tool is used to select and transform image or linked content inside objects. In VectorStyler an object may contain an image or a link to an external file content like SVG, PDF, EPS, AI. This content can be separately selected, moved and transformed to achieve the desired layout.

Editing Objects

  • The Node tool is used to select and edit nodes and control points of shapes consisting of curves. This tool can also be used to interactively edit the parameters of any of the shape types available in VectorStyler, and to edit the parameters of the various shape effects, including envelope, mesh or elastic warp.
  • The Corner tool is used to edit corners of shapes. Any shape (rectangles, stars or arbitrary paths) can have corner shapes set at cusp corners. The size of these corners can be interactively edited using the Corner tool.
  • The Collider tool is used to move and rotate selected objects according to the curvature of the nearest shapes. Use this tool to drag a side of an object over a shape location and the object will move and rotate so that the side matches the curvature exactly.
  • The Reflector tool is used to interactively create reflection transformation on selected objects.
  • The Gap tool is used to adjust spacing between multiple elements or between an element and the artboard side.
  • The Scale tool is used to scale selected objects. Although, the pointer tool also allows scaling objects among other transformations (from the corner or side handles), the scale tool provides more flexibility by focusing on scaling only.
  • The Skew tool is used to interactively apply skewing transformations on selected objects.
  • The Rotate tool is used to interactively rotate selected objects.

Selection Modes

In VectorStyler there are four selection modes that work in parallel with other tools. Selection modes determine how object are selected using the mouse.

  • The Box Selection is the default selection mode and it uses a rectangular marquee to select objects.
  • The Magic Wand selection tool can be used to select objects with similar attributes. The type of attributes used for selection can be specified in the Magic Wand panel.
  • With the Lasoo Selection tool, objects are selected by drawing a freely shaped marquee around the desired objects. Depending on current preferences, the objects inside the marquee or the objects intersecting the marquee are selected.
  • With the Polygonal Selection tool objects are selected by drawing a seqence of lines forming a polygon. The selection is made of objects inside the polygon, or objects intersecting the polygon, depending on current preferences.

Drawing and Painting

  • The Pencil tool can be used to draw freeform shapes with the mouse or a tablet input device. Shapes created with the pencil tool are simplified to reduce the number of control points and create smooth curves. The precision of the pencil tool can be set in the application preferences or by double clicking on the tool.
  • The Brush tool can be used to paint freeform shapes with vector, pattern, scatter or bristle brush styles. The new shapes are outlined with the current brush style. The brush style can be set from the Brush Style panel.
  • The Pen tool is used to create shapes by setting the control points of the curves. New curve segments are added by clicking to a new location and dragging to specify the curve direction at that location.
  • The Line tool is used to create basic straight lines. When clicked at the end of an existing line or open shape, the line tool will extend the existing shape with a new line.
  • The Pressure Pencil tool is used to paint variable width outlines. The variable width is input using a pressure sensitive tablet.
  • The Pressure Brush tool is used to paint variable width brushes. The variable width of the brush is input from a pressure sensitive table.
  • The Shape Simplifier tool is used to reduce and simplify the number of control points of freeform shapes.

Drawing Shapes

VectorStyler provides a number of parametric shapes that can be used as initial components of a design. These shapes include rectangles and ellipses, but also more complex shapes as grids and spirals. The parametric shapes are not converted to curves by default and their parameters can be changed later either using the node tool, or from the shape panel. If required, these shapes can be converted to curves to allow the editing of the curve control points. Most of these shapes (with cusp corners) can be decorated with arbitrary corner styles and sizes using the node tool.

When drawing in a rotated document view, the shapes are created with a rotation corresponding to the view rotation. For more details on how to draw shapes see the Drawing Shapes chapter, while the editing of parametric and freeform shapes is described with more detail in the Drawing and Changing Shapes chapter.

  • The Rectangle tool is used to draw rectangular shapes. The sides of a rectangle can be bent into circular arcs using the node tool. If the document view is rotated (see the viewing tools), the rectangle will be drawn as a rotated rectangle relative to the document coordinate space (i.e. will appear as a straight rectangle in the rotated view).
  • The Ellipse tool is used to draw circles or ellipses. The ellipse can be turned into a pie shape or arc using the node tool.
  • The 3-Point Circle tool is used to draw circles by setting 3 points.
  • The Curvature Circle tool is used to create circles that match the curvature of a shape at a location.
  • The Polygon tool is used to draw equal sided polygons. The number of polygon sides can be adjusted while drawing using the + and - keys.
  • The Star tool is used to create star shapes. Use the + and - keys while drawing to increase/decrease the number of corners.
  • The Square Star tool is used to create square star shapes.
  • The Gear Shape tool is used to create gear shapes.
  • The Symmetric Shape tool to create symmetric repeating shapes also known as symmetrigons. In symmetric shapes an arbitrary open shape is repeated along the sides of a regular polygon. The number of sides can be set using the + and - keys while drawing the shape, or from the Shape Panel. The sides of a symmetric shape can be freely edited using the node tool.
  • The Spiral tool is used to draw spirals.
  • The Polygonal Spiral tool is used to draw polygonal spirals. The number of sides can be changed using the + and - keys while drawing.
  • The Grid Shape tool is used to create a shape consisting of a grid of vertical and horizontal lines.
  • The Line Grid tool is used to create a shape consisting of a grid of lines at some angle.
  • The Wave Grid tool is used to draw a grid of waving shapes.
  • The ZigZag Grid tool is used to draw a grid of zigzag shapes.
  • The Concentric Shape tool is used to draw concentric shapes. In a concentric shape a single shape is repeated to a given size using a spacing amount. The spacing and the shape style can be set from the Shape Panel.
  • The Super Ellipse tool is used to draw super ellipses. In super ellipses the curvature of the shape can be adjusted using the node tool or the Shape Panel. Super ellipses are a generalization of ellipses.
  • The Super Shape tool is used to create super shapes. Super shapes are a generalization of super ellipses. Use the Shape Panel to adjust the parameters of a super shape.

Modify Shapes and Width

  • The Width tool is used to interactively edit the variable width profile of outlines. For more detail on variable width outlines see the Outlining Objects chapter.
  • The Width Brush tool is used to interactively paint over the variable width profile of the selected object outlines. The width brush tool can be used to locally increase or decrease an outline width.
  • The Width Smooth tool is used to smooth out control nodes in the variable width profile of the selected object outlines. This tool will change only objects with variable width outlines.
  • The Width Erase tool is used to erase control points from the variable width profile of the selected object outlines.
  • The Eraser tool is used to erase (cut out) parts of shapes. This tool will convert parametric shapes to curves.
  • The Knife tool is used to cut shapes into multiple parts. When cutting a parametric shape, the shape is converted to curves.

Distortion Brushes

These tools will destructively distort shapes of a larger selection, by applying local distortions along a brush path. First select the objects or group of objects to be changed and then use one of these tools to achieve a desired distortion effect. The shapes of these objects are converted to curves and modified by these distortion brush tools. Each of these effects (with the exception of Liquify) corresponds to a nondestructive shape effect, that can be selected from the Effects menu or the Shape Effects panel.

  • The Shape Liquify Brush tool applies the liquify distortion effect on the selected shapes.
  • The Noise Wave Brush tool applies local noisy wave distortion to the selected shapes.
  • The Spikes Brush tool applies local spikes distortion to the selected shapes.
  • The Shape Perturbation Brush tool applies local perturbation to the selected shapes.
  • The Shape Ripple Brush tool applies a local ripple distortion effect to the selected shapes.
  • The Lens Brush tool applies a local lens distortion effect to the selected shapes.
  • The Shape Hole Brush tool applies a local hole distortion effect to the selected shapes.
  • The Shape Bump Brush tool applies a local bump distortion effect to the selected shapes.
  • The Wave Brush tool applies a local wave distortion effect to the selected shapes.
  • The ZigZag Brush tool applies a local zigzag distortion effect to the selected shapes.
  • The Noise ZigZag Brush tool applies a local noisy zigzag distortion to the selected shapes.
  • The Twirl Brush tool applies the twirl distortion effect to a local area of the selected shapes.
  • The Circular Bump Brush tool applies a local circular bump distortion effect to the selected shapes.

Mesh Distortion Tools

  • The Elastic Warp tool interactively creates and edits elastic warps applied to the shape of the selected group of objects.
  • The Bend tool interactively creates and edits bending warp effects applied to the shape of the selected group of objects.
  • The Envelope tool interactively creates and edits envelope distortions applied to the shape of the selected group of objects.
  • The Mesh tool interactively creates and edits mesh distortions applied to the shape of the selected group of objects.
  • The 4-Point tool interactively creates and edits 4-point distortions applied to the shape of the selected group of objects.

Outline and Offset

The shape outline and offset effects convert the shape into an expanded outline or apply a variable distance offset to the shape. These effects are also available from the Shape Effects panel, with additional properties.

  • The Shape Outline tool interactively creates and edits shape outlining effect on the selected object.
  • The Shape Offset tool interactively creates and edits shape offsetting effect on the selected object.

Shape Effect Tools

The following tools can be used to create and edit various shape distortion effects. These effects are described with more detail in the Shape Effects chapter.

  • The Spikes tool creates and edits the spikes shape distortion effect.
  • The Hole tool creates and edits the shape hole distortion effect.
  • The Lens tool creates and edits the shape lens distortion effect.
  • The Ripple tool creates and edits the shape ripple distortion effect.
  • The Perturbation tool creates and edits the shape perturbation distortion effect.
  • The Shear tool creates and edits the shear distortion effect.
  • The Wave tool creates and edits the shape waving distortion effect.
  • The Noise Wave tool creates and edits the noisy waving distortion effect.
  • The Noise ZigZag tool creates and edits the noisy zigzag distortion effect.
  • The ZigZag tool creates and edits the zigzag distortion effect.
  • The Concentric Bump tool creates and edits the concentric bump distortion effect.
  • The Wave Bump tool creates and edits the waving bump distortion effect.
  • The Shaped Bump tool creates and edits the shaped bump distortion effect.
  • The Circular Bump tool creates and edits the circular bump distortion effect.
  • The Twirl tool creates and edits the twirl distortion effect.

Shape Warping Tools

The following tools can be used to create and edit various shape warping effects with specific geometries. For a more detailed description of these effects see the Shape Effects chapter. These effects can also be created and edited from the Shape Effects panel.

  • The Arc Warp tool
  • The Lower Arc Warp tool
  • The Upper Arc Warp tool
  • The Arching Warp tool
  • The Bulge Warp tool
  • The Vase Warp tool
  • The Flag Warp tool
  • The Lower Shell Warp tool
  • The Upper Shell Warp tool
  • The Waving Warp tool
  • The Rise Warp tool
  • The Inflate Warp tool
  • The Squeeze Warp tool
  • The Sponge Warp tool
  • The Double Flag Warp tool
  • The Triple Flag Warp tool
  • The Around Warp tool
  • The Double Vase Warp tool
  • The Triple Vase Warp tool

Gradient Tools

  • The Gradient tool is used to interactively create and edit gradient fill styles on selected objects, adjust direction or rotation of the gradient and set gradient color stop positions.
  • The Gradient Shape tool is used to interactively edit the shape of linear, concentric and conical gradients.
  • The Gradient Mask tool is used to create and edit transparency masks with gradient style.

Gradient Mesh Tools

  • The Gradient Mesh tool is used to interactively create and edit gradient meshes of the selected objects.
  • The Gradient Mesh Transparency tool is used to interactively create and edit gradient mesh transparency masks on the selected objects.

Pattern Tools

  • The Pattern tool is used to interactively create and edit tiling pattern fill styles on selected objects.
  • The Pattern Mask tool is used to interactively create and edit transparency masks with tiling pattern style.

Blending and Contours

  • The Blend tool is used to interactively create and edit object blend effects.
  • The Blend Mapping tool is used to interactively create mapping between the shapes of objects in a blend effect.
  • The Contour tool is used to interactively create and edit contour effects.

Text Tools

  • The Shape Text tool is used to create and edit shapes consisting of text (also known as point text). Shape texts can be used as shapes on any objects, including as clipping shapes on groups, while keeping the text editable.
  • The Text on Path tool is used to add shape text that flows along a path and to edit the position of the text along the path.
  • The Text Frame tool is used to create and edit text that flows in frames.
  • The Frame Linking tool is used to link or unlink text frame flows.
  • The Character tool is used to interactively edit individual character position, rotation and scaling in both shape and frame text objects.

Picking Tools

The following tools are used to pick and apply some of the object attributes like style, shape, image effect or shape effect. The attribute can be picked from an object by holding the Option key and clicking on the object. To apply the picked attribute, click on the object.

  • The Style Picker tool is used to pick and apply object styles.
  • The Shape Picker tool is used to pick and apply object shapes.
  • The Image Effect Picker is used to pick and apply a collection of image effects from one object to another.
  • The Shape Effect Picker is used to pick and apply a collection of shape effects from one object to another.

Artboards and Slices

  • The Artboard tool is used to create, select, move, resize and rotate artboards. In VectorStyler artboards can be freely rotated, and the artboard rotation will determine the printing and exporting rotation of the objects on the artboard.
  • The Slice tool is used to create, select, move, resize and rotate export slices. Export slices are markers on the canvas associated with a number of file formats. Export slices can be used to setup automatic batch exporting of multiple files from a single document.
  • The Sliced Scaling tool is used to edit the 9-slicing attributes of an object. 9-slicing is useful in defining symbols and specifying how a symbol instance is scaled.

Viewing Tools

  • The View Panning tool is used to interactively move the document viewing area.
  • The View Zooming tool is used to zoom in our out in the document view.
  • The View Rotating tool is used to rotate the document view to an arbitrary angle. In VectorStyler the document view can be rotated at any angle, and the drawing and editing tools will take advantage of the current view rotation.