Illustrator Warp Tools: Part 3 The Twirl Tool

Here’s the third part of the series exploring each of the Warp Tools in Adobe Illustrator.  In the first post I gave a brief introduction to the Warp Tools and an overview to the Warp Tool (Shift + R).  The second post I explored the Width Tool and the effects you can create with it.  This post I will be looking at the Twirl Tool, which creates swirling distortions within an object.


The Twirl Tool

Select the Twirl Tool from the Warp Tools options menu:

twirl tool

Testing the tool on a line creates a swirly effect:

twirl tool


If you double click on the Twirl Tool icon, you’ll get the Twirl Tool Options window pop up.  Here you’ll have the Twirl Rate option that controls how fast the button twirls when you click down with the mouse and the direction the twirl goes in: clockwise or counter-clockwise depending on whether the value is positive or negative:

twirl tool


You can also control the twirl’s direction by clicking down on the mouse first and then instantly holding the Alt/Option key straight after.

By using this technique and clicking on the corners of a rectangle, you can produce this shape:

twirl tool


Create a Cool Spiral Galaxy Icon

The Twirl Tool can be used in creative ways if you experiment with it.  In the example below, I will show how it can be used in logo or icon design to quickly produce a spiral galaxy shape.

First create 9 dots with the Ellipse Tool and arrange them in this formation and colouring:

twirl tool


Using the Selection Tool, select all of the dots except for the center one:

twirl tool


Then select the Twirl Tool, adjust the brush to be slightly bigger then all the dots together and press into the center until you get an effect similar to below:

twirl tool


There you go – you’ve created this complex collection of shapes in a matter of seconds.  Learning this technique can rapidly speed up your workflow.  Also be sure to play around this the Twirl Tool to see what else you can create.

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.


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