View Full Version : Drawing Straight Lines?

Dark Soldier
10 October 2004, 04:40 PM
hi everyone,

i know this seems real stupid but how can a draw staright lines at any angle in painter 8. i was watching a Feng Zhu video and he draws straight lines with some kind of hotkey. im using a Wacom graphire classic XL tablet. i tried using a ruler on top of my tablet but it just doesn't work.

any help much appriciated

thanks loads

alex jupp

10 October 2004, 05:36 PM
The keyboard shortcuts (which you can find under Help\Help Topics) for freehand and straight lines, are B and V. You can see the two icons in the upper left corner when you have a Brush selected.

10 October 2004, 04:13 AM
If you can't draw straight, freehand lines, then your skills are lacking and you need to practice. You might want to do this instead of running to "crutches". :thumbsup:

As Veehoy basically said: Painter does have hotkeys and tools to help make straight lines.

10 October 2004, 11:33 AM

CIM, i dont like to get dragged into arguments, but, i dont think your previous words and/or attitudes such as this help in any way.

I believe it was loomis (in one of his books, somewhere) said 'to the effect =" if you want to draw a straight line then use a ruler!!"
It is sketching after all. and if its pure painting, then use a mahl stick!!:)

i must admit in regards to the original question; photoshop had it right with the real time use of the alt/ctrl (cant remember which one) key to create a straight segment, then let go to continue drawing a wiggly line, then hold the key down to draw straight again.etc...

I dont like having to press v In painter8 then clicking and dragging and clicking again to create a straight line segment, then having to press b to regain freehand use.

sometimes people just need an answer to the question they ask not ecess!!
thanks for reading.

10 October 2004, 06:31 PM
Although being able to draw fairly straight lines or near-perfect circles can be a time saver and a cool skill to have for sketching, it certainly does nothing for you when you are working on a piece that requires a more finished look. For that, you have to use some kind of aid. Even the best concept artists in the world use rulers, french-curves, and templates for circles and ovals.

10 October 2004, 07:16 PM

i must admit in regards to the original question; photoshop had it right with the real time use of the alt/ctrl (cant remember which one) key to create a straight segment, then let go to continue drawing a wiggly line, then hold the key down to draw straight again.etc...


Dude you CAN do this. Press the SHIFT key (mac) or ALT+Shift (windows) to draw straight lines. These lines are either constrained to horizontal, vertical or 45 degrees. You can also constrain them to a grid.

Would WOULD be cool is if you could constrain them to the perspective grid. Maybe in 10...

10 October 2004, 08:50 PM
Lunatique : agreed.

cloudmover: yep i can follow that but it seems ...well....a bit crap!! try scribbling with a 2b pencil in freehand , do some nice wavey lines (very artistic!!) then in the same motion draw a straight bit... i cant seem to do it. i always have to stop drawing, lift my pen off the tablet, then press and hold alt/shift and put the pen back on the tablet surface to do the straight bit .... but now you are no longer on the same bit off wavey line ( coz i had to lift, press and put down again).

am i making sense? and/or even right in my assessment. once drawing there seems to be no way to 'real time' , continuosly draw/constrain a straight line segment without stopping the drawing process.

thanks for replying,


11 November 2004, 11:20 AM
yea i have one of those feng zhu videos.From what i can see he draws most of the lines freehand (can see some visible curve in some of his long strokes) and uses 45degree constraint(alt+shift) at times for verticals.Assuming your working with a tablet,work zoomed out and rotate the canvas alot you should be able to draw short straight lines.. good enough for thumbnails anyway.

also do remember those feng zhu videos run at double speed,no one can work that fast and accurate :)

11 November 2004, 11:49 PM
In Painter IX if your perspective grid is made with the Pen tool, you can highlight the appropriate Shape (line) in the Layers list, click the Align to Path button on the Property Bar and paint your brushstroke. It will follow the Shape and be painted on a new Layer.

It's certainly not as fast as painting your straight lines freehand (after you've practiced enough to do it well), but it is one solution.

Another is to click the "V" key for Straight Lines painting, then click the "B" key when you want to go back to Freehand painting. This method alows you to click the beginning point of the line, click the ending point of the line, hold, and drag to get the line exactly at the angle you want.

11 November 2004, 12:25 AM
Yeah darksoldier, i asked the same exact question in this forum after getting the feng zhu dvd about 3 mnths just have to practice the straight line stroke. Don't be afraid to rapidly draw lines like Feng, then undoing until you get the line you like, you'll be suprised how quickly you can get a great freehand straight line. I'd say i average about 7-10 undo's before i see the line i feel satisfied with (ten is a lot but i use to average more), this process is actually the way you get your stroke happening anyway (it's what the mighty Feng does), and it's fun because YOU draw the line...not the software. It's a lot easier than i thought; stroke undo, stroke undo, stroke undo,....etc. you always get better doing this and..... you get the straight line or perfect circle/elipse, it's quicker and more natural than the hotkeys too (i think so at least). Good luck soldier :thumbsup:
Hint: i made my F1 key the undo button.

11 November 2004, 12:53 AM

Don't recall if this was mentioned in this thread, but another thing that can help is to use the Rotate Page tool to temporarily rotate the entire image while drawing at what would otherwise be odd, and uncomfortable, angles:

Click the "E" key to activate the Rotate page tool.

Click and drag the image to the angle you want.

Click the "B" key to activate the Brush tool.

Draw your line.

Click in the image again to return the image to it's normal, upright, position.

(It's faster to do than to type or to read the steps.)

11 November 2004, 04:46 AM
There's an alternate way to activate the rotate page tool. Hit the space bar and you get the hand cursor(that's just what I call it) and you can move the page around and pan in the page when it's super-zoomed. If you continue to hold down the space bar then press alt(have to press space bar first or you get that little window thingie for closing the app, not a big deal just a little annoying) you can proceed to rotate the page. You hold down either only the spacebar or the spacebar and alt for the ammount of time you want to move the page around. It's really handy, because you don't have to then go back and hit the appropriate key for whichever tool you were using before you decided to move or rotate your page. It simply reverts back to using the tool you were using before pressing those keys.

I'm not saying it's better than what Jinny suggests, just saying it's an option.


BTW, I came across the trick while looking for information about tilt(intuos feature), somehow the tip was for Photoshop 7 and I decided to give it a shot in Painter, and it worked:). I just wish everything was that easy. On second thought, no I don't :)

Oh, and about straight lines. They're often an illusion. What I mean is, you see this long straight line and you think the artist drew or painted it in a single stroke. A lot of artists and illustrators use tools like rulers, curves, and templates(just as Luna said), but another thing they do(I do it too, cause it feels more natural to me than using the straight line tool in apps), is they draw/sketch several short straight lines. Basically it's easy to draw a reasonable approximation of a short straight line, but the longer the line the harder it gets to keep it straight. By drawing, painting, or sketching, a short straight line then going back over it from right around the halfway point, you can draw what basically looks like a straight line(it's rarely truly straight as we're only human, very close inspection will show a slight curve and even sometimes a bit of sketchiness) but at a reasonable viewing distance the line looks straight:)

CGTalk Moderation
01 January 2006, 05:00 PM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.