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In this installment of the Illustrator Insider Training series, Mordy Golding shows how to draw vector artwork quickly, precisely, and efficiently—without having to think about technical concepts like anchor points or control handles. The course highlights intuitive drawing techniques using the Pathfinder functions, Live Paint groups, Shape Builder tool, and variable-width strokes. It also describes the sketching workflow and features in Illustrator that use pressure-sensitive drawing tablets, allowing designers to focus more on their creativity.
So we've learned a lot about Pathfinder inside of this chapter and before we move on to the next chapter, I just want to go over a few additional options that are available when using the Pathfinder commands. If you take a look at the Pathfinder panel itself, and you go to the fly-out menu of the Pathfinder panel, you'll see an option here called Pathfinder Options. If you choose that, a dialog box opens up offering you some additional settings for how the Pathfinder functions will behave. The first setting here is something called Precision.
Now, this is something that's important if you are dealing with work that you want to make sure that everything kind of stays exactly the same. Let me explain a little bit what I mean by that. Sometimes because Illustrator needs to perform math and it's combining multiple objects into newer objects, sometimes parts of those paths or curves may adjust just a little bit, and you may find that when you apply a Pathfinder command, your nice path actually shifts over just a little bit, and if you want to avoid that from happening, you might want to come here, and adjust Precision value to make it a lower value.
Obviously, the lower value you have here inside of the Precision setting, will make Illustrator work a little bit harder and it may result also in additional anchor points being created to kind of keep your path the same. So what happens to be that for most of the artwork that you are going to be creating, the default setting of 0. 028 is probably going to be just fine. But if you find yourself in a situation where your path is adjusting in a way that you don't like, you might want to come here and kind of mess with the Precision. Going in the complete reverse direction, if you have really, really complex artwork and performing Pathfinder functions on them takes just a really, really long time, you may come here and increase the value of Precision just a little bit to speed things up especially if you don't mind the path moving just a little bit.
Now, there is another option here called Remove Redundant Points. Let me explain what that does. I am going to click on the Cancel button here. I am just going to leave that option unchecked for now. I am going to take my Rectangle tool and click-and-drag to draw a rectangle, and once again I am going to click-and- drag again to draw another rectangle. But these two rectangles touch each other. In fact, if I select both of these, I can see that there are anchor points here and anchor points here. They both kind of overlap each other here. So if I were to now just simply do a regular unite, I will still see that even though my rectangle really only needs corner anchor points in just the four corners of the new shape, I still have anchor points here because those existed in those two overlapping areas.
If I really wanted to be careful about my anchor points, and I wanted to make sure I didn't have anything extra, what I could do is let me press Undo, so I still have my two individual rectangles here. Let me go to the Pathfinder panel fly- out menu, choose Pathfinder Options, and check this box called Remove Redundant Points and then click OK. Now, if I choose Unite, you will notice that I no longer have anchor points here in the middle of the artwork because those are redundant. There were two overlapping points and wherever the points are overlapping, Illustrator will go ahead now and remove it and almost it's kind of like a Simplify, together with the Pathfinder to give you a better result.
But again, that's an option that you can choose by going to that little fly-out menu. Now, there is another option here as well called Divide and Outline Will Remove Unpainted Artwork and again, this is just adjusting the behavior of the Divide Pathfinder which you find over here and also the Outline one. So this checkbox will actually go ahead, and remove physically from your artwork any area that has no fill or no stroke applied to it. The only downside by the way to leaving Remove Redundant Points on all the time is that if you're working with curved paths a lot of times, you may find that by removing the redundant points, it may cause your paths to adjust or remove just a little bit after you apply the Pathfinder functions and that's the reason why it's turned off by default.
So those are a few additional options that you might find useful when working with Pathfinder inside of Illustrator.
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