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Width tool

May 30, 2013 11:22 AM

Why is it when using  the width tool and after you expand the stroke, there's tons of anchor points? I understand that the anchors follow the path but it's got a ton of anchors which make it impossible to clean up. What's the ideal way to clean up all these anchors?  ( sorry not the smooth tool or the simplify tool, something more precise perhaps?)

 

My second question is how can you make strokes that have the same width using the width tool? I understand there is the width tool dialog box where you can input values but if the stroke is slightly more twisted than the first stroke and yet I want to keep it uniform how would I go about using the width tool?

 

Thanks!

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 30, 2013 11:28 AM   in reply to gradientmush

    1. Object > Path > Simplify

     

    2. Store it as a new profile (or am I misunderstanding your request?)

     
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    May 30, 2013 11:44 AM   in reply to gradientmush

    Which settings did you use when applying the Simplify command?

     
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    May 30, 2013 11:55 AM   in reply to gradientmush

    Yes, but which values did you choose there?

     
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    May 30, 2013 11:58 AM   in reply to gradientmush

    Can you provide a sample .ai file (preferably in AI CS5 format) ?

     
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    May 30, 2013 12:49 PM   in reply to gradientmush

    Without doubt, I can assure that I do understand you.

     

    I'd still like to see a sample .ai file (no screenshot). Can you provide one?

     
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    May 30, 2013 1:33 PM   in reply to gradientmush

    First object: Stroke with width profile

    Second object: Stroke expanded

    Third object: Simplified: curve precision: 95% – threshold: 0°

     

    Left column: selected objects

    Right column: same objects, unselected

     

    simplify_0001.gif

     
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    May 30, 2013 1:52 PM   in reply to gradientmush

    In case you think that the Simplify method provides 100% accuracy while considerably reducing the amount of anchor points: That is not the case.

     

    I thought you knew that already.

     
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    May 30, 2013 2:22 PM   in reply to gradientmush

    You are right, of course. I'm slow.

     

    You might want to talk to Adobe and complain about how they implemented the Width tool mechanisms.

     

    Please report if they get it as slow as I did. Or even slower.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 31, 2013 6:07 AM   in reply to gradientmush

    What's the ideal way to clean up all these anchors?

    The ideal way is to actually draw the shapes you actually want, rather than rely upon automated features. Assuming at least an intermediate-level proficiency, you'll always end up with more elegant and efficient paths. And yes, it will take longer.

     

    1. simple stroke

    2. width points added ther's only 5 there

    3. stroke expanded, see the tons of anchor points there?

     

    You are familiar with the ability to turn on/off the display of anchor points with the Show/Hide Edges command, aren't you? Just because the program doesn't display all the actual anchor points involved as you instead manipulate the displayed controls for all these instant-gratification effects (auto-tracing, envelopes, stroke width) doesn't mean they're not there. Like it or not, they're being automatically created as you do those other-interface manipulations.

     

    Why is it…?

    Because an automated routine cannot read your mind. It doesn't know anything about how many anchorPoints are "ideal" for you to manipulate afterwards, as opposed to how accurately you want it to maintain the same shape it originally automatically generated.

     

    Do a little research. Read up on how cubic Bezier curves work.  Four Cartesian coordinate pairs (a startPoint, two handles, an endPoint) form a "hull" in which a curve is plotted, live, on any given grid resolution. Each set of four coordinate pairs are one Bezier curve; one segment of your squiggly path.

     

    Now imagine trying to reverse-engineer that. Start with the particular plotted results on a particular grid (your monitor). Then try to determine from that four coordinate pairs which would yield a curve that would result in that plot. But wait…that's not really what your new demand (for fewer segments) requires: You have to figure out where to break the overall path into fewer segments (fewer sets of just four coordinate pairs). You have to figure out the coordinate pairs for a hull that would plot a curve not for each existing plotted result, but now one set for two segments; or one and a half segments; or three segments….

     

    Some portions of the reverse-engineering may be relatively easy. Others may actually be impossible.

     

    In other words, if it were possible to plot any shape you want with just four coordinate pairs, you'd never need multiple-segment paths, would you?

     

    So after you've studied the math, then make that phone call to the software engineer and explain what he's missing.

     

    JET

     
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