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Designers who use auto-tracing of bitmap images while creating often end up with very large vector files. This problem can lead to a significant slowdown in the workflow. Large vector files are not accepted to micro stock websites, it is harder to email such files to your colleagues or customers, and finally they take up a lot of space on your computer.

In today's article, you'll learn how to significantly reduce the file size with the use of VectorFirstAid.

What is the problem?

The size of the files received from the auto-tracing directly depends on the amount of anchor points. The higher the quality of the vector you wish to achieve, the more anchor points you will have. You can try to reduce them with the help of the native simplify feature (Object > Path > Simplify), but it can greatly reduce the image quality.


Let’s take a look at this problem using the example of the tracing of this strawberry watercolor. This painting was created specifically for this article by my friend Timmy Turner.

Now convert the scanned image into a vector with the help of the Image Trace feature. To achieve the highest quality, choose a High Fidelity Photo preset and 100% for the Colors option in the Image Trace panel.

As you can see here, we get 43264 paths and 286858 points. Now click on the Expand button in the Control Panel and save the file, then verify its size (24,8Mb).


Check the file using VectorFirstAid. Open its panel (Window > VectorFirstAid > VectorFirstAid panel) and then click on the Check Document button.

After a brief checkup in the Manual Checkup Results field, we see a list of issues that can be eliminated. First of all, the 1122 unneeded points, 2763 short handles and 107298 close points. Select the items in the list (using the Control key on Windows, or Cmd key on Mac) and click on the Fix Selected button. (In future tutorials we will explain how to deal with "Short Handles" and "Axis – alignable paths").

Now by clicking on the appropriate button in the panel, reduce the number of points with the help of Super Smart Remove points on the paths feature.

This feature removes points while preserving the shape of objects within the tolerance (which is 20 by default). For this example, we decreased the tolerance to 6.0 (better maintaining the path shapes) which resulted in 236660 points – 18% smaller than the original artwork.

At the same time the file size is reduced. If the file size is still not sufficiently reduced, then it will be necessary to increase the Super Smart Remove tolerance. Select VectorFirstAid preferences in the fly-out menu of the VectorFirstAid panel and set a new value.

Now press the Super Smart Remove button in the panel again.

This operation for this particular piece of artwork resulted in a 36% decrease in the amount of points compared to the original one, but quality loss is not visually noticeable. Below you can find a graph of the points reduction, depending on the operations performed.


Learn more about VectorFirstAid

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