Tuesday, June 15, 2010

'Thought Bubble': Edit Shape in Pages (Solution 2)

Please read the previous post

In Pages it is relatively easy to edit a shape into a 'thought bubble'. 

- take, for instance,  a Star shape from the shapes drop-down menu;

- insert a Star shape and add more points;

- go to Format>Shape>Make Editable;

- then, go Format>Shape>Smooth  Path;

- when you click on the shape twice (not double click) it shows red dots around. These are for editing the shape. First, dots should be interspersed: one farther from the centre of the shape, next, closer. Dots can be dragged or moved with arrows on the keyboard.

- next, let's do the curves. When you click on a red dot it gets ‘propeller’ handles which can be rotated, 'pulled out' or ‘pushed in’ by dragging. Click on the little circle at the end of the 'propeller' and drag. Rotating changes the curve, length of the handles controls the angle. So, rotate the handles of the dots further from the centre of the shape to achieve the curve you want. Then, on the dots closer to the centre of the shape, push the propeller handles in to get a sharpish angle. And the whole shape would start to look like a cloud - the 'thought bubble'.

- when you are happy, add smaller oval shapes and position them in a row to look like little bubbles coming out of someone's head.

- choose colour and style of outline in the Graphic Inspector.

Similar technique can be used to make a 'thought bubble' out of the 'quote bubble'.

- insert a quote bubble in the Pages doc.
- Format>Shape>Make Editable;
- Format>Shape>Smooth Path;
- add editing points: press option (alt) key and move cursor over the contour of the shape, when cursor turns into a little pen with the plus sign click;
- repeat the curve-and-angle procedure.

Instead of a 'thought bubble' with a row of little clouds you get a slightly different shape with a conic call-out coming out of the thinking person. 

After a bit of fiddling you get a perfect ‘thought bubble’. Double click to write inside.

Read more about this technique in 'Picasso's Dog'. It explains how to move 'propellers' independently from one another.

Peggy L, thanks, for suggesting the topic of this post.

In the photo is my cat Vassily on the prowl. 

Caption idea from Redmolotov.com (link to the catcrime tee), a popular British t-shirt team.

Read more on how to change rounded points into angled for graphic design purpose in this later article: Valentine's Dreamey-Lovey


  1. The "propeller" does not show up when I click on the red circle

  2. Erin, hi, make sure you first made the shape editable (Format>Shape>Make Editable) and then made it 'smooth': Format>Shape>Smooth Path. Smooth Path option makes the shape curve and 'propellers' control curving.


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