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Recording an action for the Simplify command

From: Illustrator Insider Training: Drawing without the Pen Tool

Video: Recording an action for the Simplify command

So we saw in the previous movie that I was able to use the Simplify command to not only make my path little bit more smoother, but also reduce any extraneous anchor points. Now, I am going to want to be able to apply that quite often as I am drawing inside of Illustrator, but I don't always one have to go up to the menu, choose Object, Path, Simplify, down to the number that I want to work with and then apply it. So what I'd like to do is make that feature more accessible to me by turning it into an action. I found that at least in the drawing work that I've done, I usually use two values when I apply a Simplify command.

Recording an action for the Simplify command

So we saw in the previous movie that I was able to use the Simplify command to not only make my path little bit more smoother, but also reduce any extraneous anchor points. Now, I am going to want to be able to apply that quite often as I am drawing inside of Illustrator, but I don't always one have to go up to the menu, choose Object, Path, Simplify, down to the number that I want to work with and then apply it. So what I'd like to do is make that feature more accessible to me by turning it into an action. I found that at least in the drawing work that I've done, I usually use two values when I apply a Simplify command.

I will use the value of 95% for small adjustments, and then I will use a value of 50% for larger adjustments. So let's go ahead now and create an action to allow us to quickly apply these Simplify commands as we are drawing. The first thing I am going to need though is I am going to need some kind of path selected, so that I can now apply that Simplify command. So I am just going to take the regular Line tool here and click and drag and draw a line that have a selection. Really doesn't makes a difference what the path is. We're soon going to delete it anyway. Next, I am going to go to the Window menu.

I am going to choose open up my Actions panel. Now Illustrator ships with a whole bunch of default actions in a separate folder over here. But I am going to create now a separate folder for Actions specific to ones that I will use for drawing. So I am going to go down here to the bottom of the Actions panel. I am going to click on the little folder icon right here. I am going to create a new set of actions called Drawing. Now again, you may decide that in the future you may have other actions that you want to record specifically for drawing so you might want to organize them into this set as well. But for now I am going to click OK and I've created now a new set called Drawing.

Now I'm ready to actually record an action. I will start that by coming to the bottom of the Actions panel and I will click on this button here that says Create New Action. When I do so, I am going to have the ability to name my actions. I am going to call this one Simplify A Lot. I am going to leave it in the drawing set. If I want I could apply a keyboard shortcut or like function key like maybe F2 for example and add the Shift key. But I am actually going to turn my actions into what's called the button mode, so I can quickly apply them directly from the screen. So for now, I'm not going to apply a keyboard shortcut.

In addition, I am going to give it a color so that it can be easily found when I am trying to look at it inside of the panel. So I am going to click Record and now Illustrator is watching what settings I am doing. So I am going up to the Object menu, I want to choose Path, and then I will choose Simplify. I am going to choose a large value now, 50%, because this is going to be the settings that I want to use when I want to make a large adjustment, so I want to use a value here a 50%. I am going to leave my Angle Threshold set to 0, because I am going to be dealing strictly here with the smooth path.

I don't have any corners in here anyway. And I obviously do not want to use straight lines and I don't really care to see the original because when I apply this as an action, it's just simply going to happen instantly. So when I click OK and notice that Illustrator now recorded that, and I'm now going to stop the recording. So I've created my first action right now and what I does like to do is create another version of Simplify which doesn't do such a radical change. So, I am going to go back over here and create a new action. Let's start by clicking on the Create New Action button. Let's call this one Simplify A Little.

I will leave it in the Drawing Set here. Again I won't apply keyboard shortcut but I will give it a yellow color, so I can quickly find it and I will click Record. Now go back to the Object menu. I will choose Path > Simplify. This time I will dial in a value of 95%, just a small amount, click OK, and notice that, that was recorded and once again I will now stop the recording. So now, I've created the actions that I need inside of Illustrator. I am actually going to come here. I am going to deselect all my actions by clicking at the bottom here.

I want to go to the flyout menu of the Actions panel and turn on Button Mode. This shows the all of my actions right now as buttons, meaning I just click on them once to apply them. If I scroll to the bottom I see that I have Simplify A Lot and Simplify A Little. You may also go through a lot of these and realize you will never use these and in such a case you may want to delete them just that you will have an easier time navigating through this Actions panel. So now let's see how I might use this Inside of the Illustrator. Let me go here and actually select this path and delete it because I don't need it. But let's zoom in a little bit more on Mister Zee right over here and let's focus on this path right over here.

We know that this is a large path, I need to make a large adjustment on this one. I want to simplify this one a lot, so now that it's selected I will simply come here and click on Simplify A Lot. Notice now my path becomes nice and clean and smooth. Now for this shape right over here, I just want to simplify it a little bit. So I click over here and say Simplify A Little. And that's loosed out the path just a little bit. By the way, there is nothing that prevents you from just applying several simplify commands on the same path. So you may find a path that requires just a little bit more work. You can click on it and click on the Simplify A Little action maybe two or three times and see how it smoothes itself out.

But you can see how now, I can take those simplify commands and use them as almost like an auto smooth, to make sure the paths that I create look wonderful, clean, and professional.

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This video is part of

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  1. 7m 4s
    1. Welcome
      1m 21s
    2. The evolution of vector drawing
      3m 46s
    3. Getting the most out of this training
      1m 30s
    4. Using the exercise files
      27s
  2. 39m 2s
    1. Plotting points vs. drawing paths
      5m 36s
    2. Drawing artwork vs. building artwork
      7m 59s
    3. The keyboard shortcuts you HAVE to know
      8m 52s
    4. Groups and layers really do matter
      3m 11s
    5. Taming Smart Guides and the Bounding Box
      10m 53s
    6. Do you need a drawing tablet?
      2m 31s
  3. 47m 51s
    1. To sketch or not to sketch?
      2m 32s
    2. Setting up a template layer for your sketch
      3m 37s
    3. Optimizing default settings for drawing
      5m 27s
    4. Using the primitive shapes tools
      5m 7s
    5. Mastering the modifier keys
      2m 8s
    6. Mastering the transform tools
      6m 37s
    7. Creating curves with the Reshape tool
      6m 44s
    8. Using the Smooth tool
      3m 35s
    9. Using Simplify to create smooth paths
      3m 2s
    10. Recording an action for the Simplify command
      5m 2s
    11. Mirroring art for speed and accuracy
      4m 0s
  4. 50m 18s
    1. Deconstructing the Pathfinder panel
      1m 56s
    2. Using the Shape Modes functions
      12m 4s
    3. Using the Pathfinder functions
      13m 4s
    4. Understanding how compound shapes work
      11m 45s
    5. Understanding why compound shapes exist
      7m 32s
    6. Exploring additional Pathfinder options
      3m 57s
  5. 52m 51s
    1. Why Live Paint was created
      10m 45s
    2. Creating a Live Paint group
      4m 21s
    3. Using the Live Paint Bucket tool
      7m 8s
    4. Using Live Paint with open paths
      5m 6s
    5. Detecting gaps in Live Paint groups
      3m 42s
    6. Adding paths to a Live Paint group
      5m 34s
    7. Using the Live Paint Selection tool
      6m 28s
    8. Releasing and expanding Live Paint groups
      2m 59s
    9. Understanding how Live Paint works
      6m 48s
  6. 27m 37s
    1. Why the Shape Builder tool was created
      4m 18s
    2. Focusing on the big three: Add, Subtract, and Divide
      2m 27s
    3. Using the Shape Builder tool to add and subtract artwork
      9m 50s
    4. Using the Shape Builder to divide artwork
      3m 48s
    5. Building and coloring artwork at the same time
      3m 50s
    6. Using Gap Detection with the Shape Builder tool
      3m 24s
  7. 23m 2s
    1. Understanding how variable widths work
      8m 25s
    2. Modifying width points along a path
      7m 9s
    3. Saving time with width profiles
      5m 14s
    4. Turning variable width strokes into filled paths
      2m 14s
  8. 28m 21s
    1. Understanding how the Pen and Pencil tools differ
      4m 41s
    2. Adjusting the behavior of the Pencil tool
      7m 5s
    3. Using the Path Eraser tool
      1m 17s
    4. Drawing with the Calligraphic Brush tool
      5m 43s
    5. Drawing with the Blob Brush tool
      5m 53s
    6. Using the Eraser tool
      3m 42s
  9. 3m 44s
    1. Looking at the VectorScribe plug-in
      2m 16s
    2. Next steps
      1m 28s

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