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Distort/Fold in Illustrator

Posted on 16th March 2018
1 - In Illustrator create a “New Document”.

2 - Select the “Rectangle Tool” (M), click on your document and input a “With” of 50 mm and a “Height” of 100 mm, then click “OK”. With your rectangle selected you will see little circles near the corners of your shape. Use the “Direct Selection Tool” (A) to select the bottom ones and drag your cursor to the side to round the corners.

3 - Right-click on top of your shape and choose Transform > Move, then use a “Horizontal” Position value of 50 mm and click “Copy”.

4 - Select your two shapes and click on the little bended arrow to the right of the “Fill” and “Stroke” color pickers on the “Toolbar” to change their properties and make the “Stroke” black and No “Fill”.

5 - Click on the left side of the thumbnail in the “Layers” Panel to lock your layer and bring out the little lock icon. Then, click on the “Create New Layer” button at the bottom of the Panel.

6 - Bring out your “Rulers” (Command/Control + R) and place some guides (drag from the “Rulers” top and left of your “Artboard”) at the end of your shapes and in the middle-vertical section of each one. Select the “Pen Tool” (P) and draw a line that goes from the bottom-center of the first shape to the one of the second shape. Click “Enter” to finish your path. (You can toggle in and out from “Outline” and “Preview” mode with “Command/Control + Y” to make it easier to see the endpoints).

7 - Unlock the bottom layer, select both layers and right-click on top of them, then choose “Flatten Artwork”.

8 - Right-click on top of your first shape and choose Arrange > Bring to Front. Zoom in as much as you can and make sure the endpoints of the line coincide with the ones on your rounded rectangles tip.

9 - Select the “Scissors Tool” (S) and click on the bottom and right endpoints of your shape. Select the piece you cut and delete it. With the “Direct Selection Tool” (A) select the end of the shape and the start of the line (they should be overlapping) and “Join” them together (Command/Control + J).

10 - Then, select the left and bottom end points, “Copy” them (Command/Control + C) and “Paste in Front” (Command/Control + F). You will end up with the left curve and the entire bottom line. Delete the rightmost endpoint to remove the line and keep the curve. Move your pasted paths to the right until they coincide with the right side of your rectangle where you cut out a portion (hold the “Alt” key to move them on the same horizontal axis). You can move the right-side rectangle a few clicks to get a better view. Then, select the endpoints where the shapes (rectangle and curve) meet and “Join” them (Command/Control + J). You must do this first with one spot (top-right or start of curve) and then with the other (bottom-right or end of curve).

11 - With the “Direct Selection Tool” (A) select the two bottom endpoints (both sides of the line at the bottom), “Copy” them (Command/Control + C) and “Paste in Front” (Command/Control + F).

12 - Then, select the “Reflection Tool” (R) and reflect your paths until the line is on top. Place this on the top of right rectangle, cut the top portion and “Join” the two pieces as before to get a curved top.

13 - “Copy” (Command/Control + C) and “Paste” (Command/Control + V) your two shapes and place them to the right to make a continuous curved shape. Check the places where the paths were “Joined” and if you discover two “Points” almost on top of each other, select one (preferably the one that doesn’t have a curved end) and using the “Delete Anchor Point Tool” (-) delete it.

14 - Select the “Line Segment Tool” to draw a vertical line of a similar “Height” as the one used in your rectangles (hold the “Shift” key to make it straight), make it about 3 pt in “Weight” and with a “Rounded Cap and Corner”. Hold the “Shift” and “Alt” keys while dragging your line to the side to duplicate it and the click “Command/Control + D” to repeat as many times as you want. Make it about the same “With” of your shapes. Then, draw some limes at the top and bottom to “close” your shapes. Select everything, right-click on top and choose “Group”.

15 - Select your “Group” and drag it to the “Symbols Panel” to create a “New Symbol”. Give it a name in the “Symbol Options” Popup window and click “OK”.

16 - Drag your new symbol into your document and place it near the first shape. Right-click on the shape and choose Select > Bring to Front then select both shape and symbol and go to Object > Envelope Distort > Make with Top Object. Repeat for the rest of the shapes.

17 - If you want to change the distortion, go to the top menu and click on the “Edit Envelope” button. Using your “Direct Selection Tool” (A) play around with the anchors and paths.

18 - Once you are happy you can go to Object > Expand and then you can change the “Stroke” color and modify each line individually if you want.

19 - You can also add a “Background” color or a “Gradient”.

by @lornacane

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