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I am looking for a way to add rounded edges at the intersection of multiple lines, like this :

enter image description here

But on a complex illustration with two or more lines intersecting at different angles, like this one :

enter image description here

I could always add these edges manually, but I would like to know if there is a workaround (or potentially an add-on) to keep the path as it is and be able to adjust the edge roundness etc.

Thanks in advance

  • There is a way, but not if you want to keep the lines as single stroked paths. But if you Expand and Unite everything, you could use the Live Corners feature in Illustrator CC – Billy Kerr Aug 31 '18 at 8:13
  • Thanks a lot @BillyKerr. I will look into it but I am indeed looking for a solution without expanding :) – Moop Aug 31 '18 at 9:08
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To keep all as stroked paths make a collection of custom arrowheads which have the wanted roundings.

Alternatively you can insert the roundings as separate objects. Keep them in their own layer for easy access. Defining them as symbols makes global edits possible. That approach isn't practical, if you have plenty of non-vertical nor horizontal lines or you demand easy scalability and exact tangential fillets.

An example:

enter image description here

That was a group. If it's a closed shape, it can be adjusted with the direct selection tool to fit perfectly. Omitting the stroke increases tolerance, but makes the fillet allways non-tangential. An example:

enter image description here

NOTE: There's inserted a corner type anchor in the blue circle and there's rounded joints in stroke settings.

Perfect tangency needs dragging the handles on the lines:

enter image description here

I haven't it, but I believe Vector Scribe by Astute Graphics could make the separate object approach and also drawing generally much more streamlined. Check its demo.

Creating arrowheads can be found in Adobe's documentation, web tutorials and also from here How to create custom Arrowheads in Illustrator properly

  • Cool, thank you ! I was thinking that but this won't really give me control on the edge roundness and all, right ? Also I'm guessing I won't be able to get a good result on such an intersection : link ? – Moop Aug 31 '18 at 9:13
  • @Moop I added more. – user287001 Aug 31 '18 at 9:37
  • Thanks for your edits ! My problem here is that we need to drag the handles to the lines manually, and it kind of results in an uneven rounded corner... I'll try the addon ! – Moop Aug 31 '18 at 10:52
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    So the Vectorscribe addon worked perfectly for this matter, with the Dynamic Corners. Unfortunately I need to expand the path but the corners stay dynamic, so I guess this worked for me. Thanks again for your help ! – Moop Aug 31 '18 at 11:25
  • It is actually possible to let the appearance stack do the expansion merging and rounding, by applying effects on the layer. So they would appear to be strokes. Its a bit fragile but it does work. – joojaa Aug 31 '18 at 18:07
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I know you want to keep the lines editable but the way I'd do it doesn't really take that long so will probably do the job for you.

  1. Create your line work on a layer (I'll keep it simple but of course you could use a set of layers)
  2. Clone the layer
  3. Select all the artwork on the cloned layer
  4. Go to "Object" > "Expand..."
  5. With everything on the cloned layer still selected, choose "unite" from the pathfinder panel
  6. With this new merged shape selected, go to "Effect" > "Stylize" > "Round Corners"

With your original layer still visible you'll cover over the rounded ends to your lines and corners of squares etc.

Here's a quick demo to show the effect & layer set up: enter image description here

When you make changes to the artwork on the original layer, just delete the cloned layer and repeat steps 3-6 (~5 seconds :-)

I hope that works for you.

  • Hey James thanks a lot. I've tried it also and the result is sometimes a bit erratic... – Moop Aug 31 '18 at 10:53
  • @user287001 in my use cases the lines with the rounded endcaps overlay the dodgy rounding created by the effect. The combination of the two layers creates the look I've needed. I then expand/merge everything if I need clean line work. – James Aug 31 '18 at 12:15

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