So time to time I face this problem when creating twinkling star: I draw an ellipse, then go to "Effect" > "Distort & Transform" > "Pucker & Bloat" > Done. It looks sharp, but once I zoom in you can see that the ends are weird and square. Can someone help me to fix this problem, please? enter image description hereenter image description here

  • Your Pucker setting was too large. Reduce it.
    – Scott
    Dec 23, 2023 at 22:13

2 Answers 2


Do not use that complex tool for a job which should succeed by using something much simpler. Use only the pen and the direct selection tool (the node tool for those who prefer to use Inkscape).

enter image description here

Draw a 2 node arc with the pen. Hold Shift when you drag the handles (Ctrl in Inkscape) to get perfectly horizontal and vertical handles. Make horizontally and vertically flipped copies of the arc. In the left the (temporarily) red curve is drawn, the 3 others are flipped copies.

In the middle the pieces are dragged so that they snap together and joined to one closed path. Joining means in Illustrator and Inkscape selecting all and performing join together; that's Ctrl+J in Illustrator. In Inkscape one must select all nodes with the node tool (=drag over) and click button "Join at selected nodes" once.

Too symmetric version is not good in all cases. Especially in cartoonish images one may want several different stars which have different sizes and slightly different geometric forms. In illustrator and Inkscape it's easy to drag the cusp nodes a little, adjust the node handles or drag directly the curve to make quickly different versions. In the right there's 2 variations.

If you are a beginner this is a great exercise to develop your curve editing skills.


I wouldn't use the Pucker & Bloat tool.

Instead, drop some guides, create a quarter circle, apply a transform as shown here to rotate 3 copies at 90 degrees around the bottom right corner.

enter image description here

Then pull the curve handles in and snap them to the guides.

enter image description here

  • In my mind... one could rotate from the opposite corner and not need to mess with handles. But I have not actually tested this.
    – Scott
    Dec 24, 2023 at 3:00
  • @Scott - yeah, I suppose. There are probably lots of ways this could be done, maybe even just take a square, punch out a quarter circle using the shape builder, transform copies and rotate.
    – Billy Kerr
    Dec 24, 2023 at 3:11
  • howabout cloning 4 circles and shapebuild the center?
    – joojaa
    Dec 24, 2023 at 7:50

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