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I am trying to curve a wheat stem that has even-sized grains emanating from a central stem. Something like this (but starting from a vertical line): wheat curved craphic

I have tried:

  1. Puppet warp puppet warp illustrator

  2. Envelope Distort > Make with Warp > Arc

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  1. Art brush

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What is recommended for the minimal amount of distortion/size difference between each grain? I thought about applying each grain manually but keeping the grains angled correctly would be very difficult.

  • Too much symmetry tends to look unnatural. – Scott Jan 4 at 22:37
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Try making a Scatter Brush just with a double grain, modifying the spacing and rotation relative to path

Scatter Brush

Duplicate the main path and apply the Scatter Brush

enter image description here

  • I am pretty close now. Would you mind explaining the steps you are using after applying the scatter brush with +/-? I don't think I can share my latest screenshot in this comment box? Thanks Daniello – Kerry7777 Jan 4 at 15:17
  • I just create a new vector point using the Pen tool to delete the last one and push the brush to move up – Danielillo Jan 4 at 15:22
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As suggested, scatter brush can make it without deforming the grains. But you maybe want to have different grain sizes. This is possible with hybrid approach. Make a skeleton where the grains are replaced with straight guide lines. Use one of your bending methods. Then place the grains manually. It's easy if you move with the direct selection tool - a node snaps easily on another node if you have snap to point ON. With the rotate tool you set first the axis point and then rotate the grain visually along the line in the skeleton. An example:

enter image description here

  1. The prepared skeleton. It's a warped arc, but the bottom is straightened with the direct selection tool. After tuning the warp is expanded to have all anchors for snapping. Grain guides can be straightened with Object > Path > Simplify > Straight lines to remove the need of rotating by eye. I skip it.

  2. A set of grains is prepared with blending two different sizes and expanding the blend

  3. Nearly all grains are placed, one is untouched, one has the root point in placed and it's waiting the rotation.

  4. The skeleton is ungrouped, grain guides are removed, all strokes are set thicker

  5. Opposite grain pairs are united with the pathfinder panel and the off-spine upper mid-node is moved onto spine with direct selection tool. That's distortion, but maybe acceptable.

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