A few weeks ago I wrote a post about Clip Art and Excess Nodes. In the post, I talked about some of the problems you may face when artwork has too many nodes. A user sent me a file that showed me yet another node-related problem that I wanted to share.
In this case, the user had artwork with a small number of objects. Each of the objects had an outline and they needed a hairline outline on the outside of the regular outline to use for cutting out the artwork. No problem, select Arrange | Convert Outline to Object (Ctrl + Shift + Q) and the original outline is converted to an object. Once that is done, a hairline outline could be added for the cutline.
Sounds simple enough and it normally would be that simple. The problem is that these shapes had obscene numbers of nodes. When the outline was converted to objects, the result was an absolute disaster. The user felt this was a bug and technically that might be the case. By reducing the number of nodes, I’m sure the problem would disappear.
It was pretty obvious that whoever originally created the file had drawn the shapes, scanned them and then used some sort of automated tracing software to convert the scan into vector shapes. I can’t explain why they chose to leave so many nodes, but it made the artwork a mess to manipulate. Even if the cutline had created properly, it would take a lot longer to cut because the knife would constantly be changing direction. Personally I thought the artwork looked awful when I zoomed in because the outline had what looked like cracks in it due to the direction changes.
I know it is sometimes quicker to leave in excess nodes instead of taking the time to clean up your artwork. Unfortunately it will probably come back to bite you later as this example demonstrated.