Excess Nodes Revisited

March 31, 2011

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.

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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III built his first Web site in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013. He has used the Divi theme exclusively since 2015. Earlier in his career he was the author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences.

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