Learning Paths

Illustrator Warp Tools: Part 7 The Crystallize Tool

Adobe Illustrator has a collection of tools under the Warp Tool set, all for the purpose of molding and reshaping objects.  Here’s a list of the tools I’ve covered so far:

In this post I’ll be looking into the Crystallize Tool and what you can do with it.


The Crystallize Tool

This warp tool adds random spiked details to the outline of an object.  Here’s the button for the Crystallize Tool:

Crystallize tool


As you can see below, the Crystallize Tool can be used for cool burst effects:

crystallize tool


Using the tool on a circle can quickly produce a many-point star:



But if you increase the size of the brush you’re using, you’ll increase the length of each point on that star:



Let’s look at adjusting the button for this tool.  If you double click on the Crystallize Tool button you will get the Crystallize Tool Option window.  We’ll be looking at these options and how they affect the brush: Complexity, Detail and Brush Affects In Tangent Handles, Brush Affects Out Tangent Handles:



Below I constructed a table based on increasing both the Detail and Complexity options with the results of using the brush on a circle:

crystallize tool

As you can see in the first row, Detail increase the number of spikes on the circle.  However, if you look at the first column of Detail 1, increasing Complexity doesn’t have much of an effect.  Unlike Detail which simply increases the number of spikes, Complexity works as a multiplier and needs to be used together with Detail to have a significant effect.


Back on the Crystallize Tool Options, selecting the Brush Affects In Tangent Handles or Brush Affects Out Tangent Handles will produce curvy spikes:

crystallize tool


Creating a Grass Effect

The Crystallize Tool can also be useful for drawing grass.  First create a green block at the bottom of the canvas with the Rectangle Tool:



Next zoom in (Z or Cmd/Ctrl & +) close to the top line and select the Crystallize Tool.  Make sure the settings are at their default options by going onto the Crystallize Tool Option window and pressing Reset.  You will also want to make the brush at a small size.

Now click on the inside top edge of the green rectangle and slowly drag the mouse along the line:



Continue doing this until you cover the whole top of the rectangle.



If you’re interested in learning more about Adobe Illustrator, then we offer a range of high quality courses at different proficiency levels, in numerous cities across the UK.