Design Assets

Illustrator Automatic Path Smoothing

By on January 23, 2017
Illustrator Automatic Path Smoothing

Illustrator Automatic Path Smoothing

Illustrator Automatic Path Smoothing only takes a few simple steps. First select your object. Then choose Object > Path > Simplify.

Illustrator Automatic Path Smoothing

Afterward, a dialog box will appear. Here are the options that appear when you open the Simplify dialog box.

Illustrator Automatic Path Smoothing

Next, these are the options that you will see.

  • Curve Precision: The higher the value = the more anchor points
  • Angle Threshold: Prevents some angle anchors from being smoothed
  • Straight Lines: Changes paths to straight line
  • Show Original: Shows original vector image
  • And Preview: Shows a preview of what will happen when you change the Curve Precision, Angle Threshold, and/or Straight Lines.

Curve Precision: The higher the value = the more anchor points. This will most likely be the your most important option when Illustrator automatic path smoothing.Illustrator Automatic Path Smoothing

Angle Threshold: Prevents some angle anchors from being smoothedIllustrator Automatic Path Smoothing

Straight Lines: Changes paths to straight lineIllustrator Automatic Path Smoothing

Show Original: Shows original vector image in redIllustrator Automatic Path Smoothing

And Preview: Shows a preview of what will happen when you change the Curve Precision, Angle Threshold, and/or Straight Lines.

For the most part, the Simplify feature can be incredibly helpful for quick jobs, fixing a jagged vector, or producing more straight paths. Simplifying a path is meant to remove extra anchor points. Its intent is to do so without changing the shape of the path and is a form of automatic path smoothing in Adobe Illustrator. When unnecessary anchor points are deleted, your artwork will be simplified, and as a result will reduce the file size allowing for faster print and display.

Hand Drawn Lettering
Original

 

Simplify Tool
Using Simplify Option

Be Careful!

I only noticed this problem when zooming in and working on the piece later on. As can be seen, some straight edges have looped over on a few end points. Before printing or finalizing your piece for release, zoom up and check if you have the same problem.

Looped Edges

This may be able to be fixed by reducing the amount of Angle Threshold or you may have to manually fix these instances.

Using the Smooth Tool

However, if you find that this does not smooth out your paths how you desire them, the Smooth Tool will do the trick. Smooth Tool If you don’t see the tool in your Tool Panel you can click and hold on any of the other three options that you do see,

Smooth Tool Options

and then select the Smooth Tool.

  1. First select the object.
  2. Then Select the Smooth Tool  Smooth Tool
  3. Click and Drag the tool along the path that you want to smooth.
  4. Finally, continue smoothing until you are happy with the result.
  5. Furthermore, you can change the amount of smoothing by double clicking the Smooth Tool. Smooth Tool Options Dialog Box
    1. Fidelity controls the amount of points on your path. The higher the value = the smoother and less complex.
    2. Smoothness controls the amount of smoothness. The higher the value = the smoother the path.
Original Handwriting
Original

 

Smooth Tool
After Using Smooth Tool

The Smooth Tool is one of my favorites and most helpful tools that I use. For realistic vectors, the Smooth Tool will be your best friend. It can be very time consuming, but is worth it to finalize an important illustration.

Simplify VS. Smooth Tool

In conclusion, I would use the simplify feature for quick edits. It would also be a huge help if I had a lot of extra anchor points in my design that I would like deleted. If I wanted more straight lines, I would use the simplify feature and adjust the Straight Lines option. On the other hand, if my project is very design sensitive or precise, I would use the Smooth Tool. You may benefit from using both the Simplify feature and the Smooth Tool. Below are my screenshots of the Simplify Option VS. Smooth Tool

Simplify Tool
Simplify

 

Smooth Tool
Smooth Tool

Can you tell a difference? Which one do you like better? I hope you enjoyed this tutorial about Illustrator automatic path smoothing. Soon, I will be posting more tutorials about helpful design tools and techniques as I learn them myself. Stay tuned as I will be listing a Valentine’s Day freebie in my next blog post.

Below is my finalized version using both the Simplify Option and Smooth Tool. I also had to manually smooth out a few areas.

Simplify and Smooth Tool

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Design Assets

How to move your designs forward in 2017

By on January 9, 2017
How to move your designs forward in 2017

How to move your designs forward in 2017

Have you thought about how to move your designs forward in 2017? Whether you create graphic design as a personal hobby, or have been designing professionally for years, we all need a plan to move forward. This simple guide demonstrates 4 essential points on how to move your designs forward in 2017.

How to move your designs forward in 2017

Ideas

It all starts with an idea. That first thought turns into a brainstorming session. You may be stuck in a rut. Perhaps you are just burned out or have been designing under the same company’s style guidelines for years. It’s okay. There is hope. Try to brainstorm as creatively as possible. Keep your ideas simple and clear. Sketch them out to gain inspiration or to later refine on requirements. Most importantly make sure your ideas as something you want to do.

How to move your designs forward in 2017

Research

Sometimes researching is best before thinking up new ideas, but not always. Reading in general no matter what subject can help you think in a different way. The internet is full of information on any topic, but be sure to check your sources. However, resources can be factual, non-factual, or even out of the norm. Stories about aliens could help with an alien themed party or even to get in a fun mood for a corporate event. Obviously don’t have E.T. peaking out behind a table, but inspiration can be implemented. Stories and imagery are an easy way to find inspiration. Finally, among your research be sure to stay up to date. Make sure some articles that you are reading are dated 2017, and not all 1985.

How to move your designs forward in 2017

Innovate

Innovation is crucial to be a successful designer and move your designs forward in 2017 and beyond for that matter. Ask yourself these questions:

“How can I make my design(s) better?”

Extra brainstorming, more time, or creating a personal style guide may help.

“How can I be better?”

Try something new! Take an extra step or two to go beyond your next project scope.

How to move your designs forward in 2017

Create an Impact

Finally, create! Create your work for a reason. Don’t design it as a mundane task but as a pleasure. Here are some questions you should ask when you think you are finished with a project:

“Will this help my company/client/message?”
“What does my message or design say?

“Does my design speak without words?” and if so “What is it saying?”

Finally, have another set of eyes look at your work. Is the message clear?

Bring on 2017!

In conclusion, these are the 4 simple points on how to move your designs forward in 2017. Brainstorm ideas, do your research, think innovatively, and create an impact. Simple, right? The truth is, these points demonstrate how to remain a successful designer for years to come, not just 2017. Our fast paced world is full of new technology, ideas, opinions, and a lot of different styles and trends. We may never be able to read a clients’ mind, but we can try to prepare ourselves for our ever-changing expectations.

 

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