How to Curve Images in Illustrator

By David Weedmark

To curve images in Adobe Illustrator you can use any of the Warp tools located in the Effects menu. These allow you to curve the image as needed into a variety of shapes like arcs or flag shapes. You can customize the effect to make the image curved a little or a lot. Another way to curve images is to create your own curved path using the Pen Tool. Place the image under the curved path and use Envelope Distort to make the image take the shape of that path.

Step 1

Open a new Illustrator document, and insert an image by clicking the "File" menu and selecting "Place." Select the image you want to curve, and click "OK."

Step 2

Click the "Effect" menu, and select "Warp," then click "Arc." The Warp Options panel opens. Click the "Preview" check box to see how the image changes as you alter the settings.

Step 3

Select "Horizontal" to curve the image along a horizontal axis, or "Vertical" to curve it along a vertical axis.

Step 4

Move the "Bend" slider to the left to make the image curve wider at the bottom. Move the slider to the right to make it bend wider at the top.

Step 5

Move the "Horizontal" slider all the way to the right to "100" to make the left side of the image curve to a point. Move it all the way to the left at "-100" to make the image curve to a point on the right.

Step 6

Move the "Vertical" slider to the left to make the image curve to a point at the top, or move it to the right to make it curve to a point on the bottom.

Step 7

Click the "Style" menu in the Warp Options panel to select other curving effects. You can make basic curves using the "Arch" or "Bulge" styles, for example, or more complex curves with the "Flag" or "Wave" styles.

Using Envelope Distort

Step 1

Open a new Illustrator document, then click the "File" menu, and select "Place." Select the image you want to curve, and click okay.

Step 2

Select the "Pen Tool" from the Toolbox. Draw the outline of the curved shape you want to achieve by clicking the tool on the document. Click on the first point you clicked when finished to close the path.

Step 3

Press "Ctrl-A" to select both objects.

Step 4

Click the "Object" menu, and select "Envelope Distort." Click "Make With Top Object." The photo is transformed to fit within the curved path.