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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 know that we can use the Smooth tool inside of Illustrator to kind of paint or draw over a path to kind of smooth it out. However, like we said before also it's not really the most efficient way if you have a mouse and it can sometimes introduce additional anchor points to your path. Well, let's talk about a different method on actually how we might be able to smooth paths. More importantly, a way to smooth paths and also reduce the number of anchor points in your artwork, so that it's more simple and easier to edit in the future. There is a command inside of Illustrator called Simply. Its main goal is to take a path that has a lot of anchor points and usually extraneous anchor points, and reduce the number of anchor points so the path will be more simplified and will print faster.
However, when you sometimes reduce the anchor points, you also need to kind of smooth out the path, and simplify actually works great for this kind of technique. Let me zoom in over here on this file here. It's called Sketch5.ai, and I am going to zoom in right here on this part of the back file and select this path. Next, I am going to go over here to the Object menu and I'll choose Path and then I will choose Simplify. Now, I am going to move over the dialog here so we can actually see what's happening to the path as we apply these settings. When I click on the Preview button and you can see that Illustrator before the path had 5 points. Now Illustrator made it to only have 3 points.
So it reduced the number of anchor points and it also made a really nice smooth curve along the path itself. We can adjust this Curve Precision for our specific needs. But I will tell you that I usually when I am working inside of Illustrator use two different settings. I use a Curve Precision at 50% like I have here, when I want to make large wholesale adjustments to a path. However, sometimes if I get a path pretty close to where I want it to be, I just want to clean up some extra anchor points, I will use a Curve Precision of 95%. I am going to give you another example of that also.
I am going to click OK in this case, and I have now a nice smooth path. But let's take a look at this shape that we created earlier for the hind leg. If I click on this right now, it looks pretty smooth, but it still has some extra anchor points they really don't need to be there. And on top of that, I really want to make sure that it's a smooth as it can be possibly be. So I am going to go back to the Object menu, choose Path, then I'll choose Simplify. But this time I am going to use a value of 95%, and you notice again we have reduced the number of anchor points and if I click OK, I'll see that it also kind of really smoothed out the path and gives me a beautiful result.
So I find that sometimes working inside of Illustrator, when use the Reshape tool, it does sometimes add extra anchor points but I don't care, because I can use the Simplify command very easily to not only reduce the anchor points, but to also get a really nice smooth result. Of course, you could be asking yourself, well I am going to be drawing a lot of paths, I don't want to have to constantly be drawing the path, bending the path and then applying another Simplify command on top of that. Well, in the next movie we will explore some ways to make you little bit easier and faster to apply these simplify functions to our paths.
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