Many designers are confronted with the removal of unnecessary points in their daily workflow. Today we will compare the native Simplify Paths feature of Illustrator and the Super Smart Remove features of VectorFirstAid, which are used for these purposes. You will learn which of these functions are more convenient, more efficient and more accurate.
The native Simplify Paths feature of Illustrator, and the Super Smart Remove feature of VectorFirstAid are both designed to remove extra points on the paths. Such points can be formed in the process of drawing, the auto tracing of bitmap images, the outlining of stroke paths, or as a result of using the Live Paint Bucket Tool and so on. Let's look at the application of these functions on the example of Celtic Knot artwork, which was created using the Live Paint Bucket Tool.
As you can see, the pattern contains many points that are completely unnecessary for constructing the right shape of Bezier curves.
If we apply the native Simplify paths feature to the paths (Object > Path > Simplify …), the default parameters lead to a significant decrease in points, but also to a completely unacceptable distortion of the shape.
So let's set the Curve Precision to 100%. Now the shape becomes significantly less distorted, although we do see some deviation from the original trajectories in the upper left part. The paths still contain plenty of points: 164 against 198 in the original shape.
You can also try to choose a value for the Angel Threshold, which again will slightly reduce the number of points. As a result, we get 32% less of the initial amount of points.
Now simply click on the Super Smart Remove button in the VectorFirstAid panel (Window > VectorFirstAid > VectorFirstAid panel). At the bottom of the panel, we see the number of points that were deleted – 283.
This is an excellent result, but in the Simplify dialog box it was stated that the original shape has 198 points. This is weird. If we check the number of points of the original shape using the Document Info panel, it turns out there were 345 points. This means that the Simplify feature, unfortunately, does incorrect calculations.
With the help of the VectorFirstAid, the number of points decreased by 82%! The Super Smart Remove feature deleted the points with the default tolerance set to 20. If such removal still results in a noticeable shape distortion, then you can set the tolerance to a smaller value. To do this, click on the Super Smart Remove button, holding down Opt/Alt, and then repeat the procedure.
To change the default tolerance value, open the VectorFirstAid Preferences from the panel menu, and set the value that best fits your workflow.
Why do we remove extra points? There are several reasons for this:
- A large number of points increase the file size.
- A large number of dots slows down the display of objects when zooming and makes it difficult to move them in Adobe Illustrator or another vector editor.
- A large number of points slows down the display of pictures on the screens of any devices, if vector files in SVG format used in design.
- A large number of points can lead to the crush of professional applications when printing.
- A large number of points often makes it impossible to edit paths.