1

I have a path from a to f that I want to exit a at 0° and enter f at 180°, but, as there is an obstruction b, I would like to shift the center to the left, or somehow have the path descend earlier.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{tikz}
\usetikzlibrary{positioning}

\begin{document}
    \begin{tikzpicture}

      \node [draw] (a) {a};
      \node [draw, right=of a] (b) {b};
      \node [draw, right=of b] (c) {c};
      \node [draw, below=of c] (f) {f};

      \draw (a) to[out=0,in=180] (f);

    \end{tikzpicture}
\end{document}

enter image description here

2

My best approach is to use controls: first the obstacle and then the orthogonal intersection of a and f.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{tikz}
\usetikzlibrary{positioning}

\begin{document}
    \begin{tikzpicture}

      \node [draw] (a) {a};
      \node [draw, right=of a] (b) {b};
      \node [draw, right=of b] (c) {c};
      \node [draw, below=of c] (f) {f};

      \draw (a) ..controls (b) and ({a |- f}).. (f);

    \end{tikzpicture}
\end{document}

enter image description here

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0

I think your own proposal is better than this alternative.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{tikz}
\usetikzlibrary{positioning}

\begin{document}
    \begin{tikzpicture}

      \node [draw] (a) {a};
      \node [draw, right=of a] (b) {b};
      \node [draw, right=of b] (c) {c};
      \node [draw, below=of c] (f) {f};
      \path (a) -- (f) coordinate[midway](aux); 
      \draw (a) to[out=0,in=135] ([xshift=-0.5cm]aux) to[out=-45,in=180] (f);

    \end{tikzpicture}
\end{document}

enter image description here

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