Remove Points

InkScribe Tool

Reposition Point Tool

AG Utilities Live Effects

Existing Point Operations

Illustrator Location: Advanced Toolbar > Pen Stack > InkScribe Tool

When a path is at least partly-selected, its existing anchor points may be selected, moved, modified, or removed. As some keypresses can change depending on the way the InkScribe preferences are set, the Astute Buddy panel is the best reference, as it shows current keypresses taking into account the current preference settings.

Clicking on an anchor point selects that point; the virtual panel annotation (if enabled) is moved to that point. If the point is at one end of an open path, then the path becomes the active path and can have additional points added to it. Shift-clicking has the same effect unless the preference Option/Alt-Click On Point to is set to Select. (In that case, Shift-clicking removes the point without adjusting handles to keep the curve shape).

Option/Alt-clicking on an anchor point Smart Removes the point (unless the preference Option/Alt-Click On Point to is set to Select). When a point is Smart Removed, the handles of the adjacent anchor points are extended or retracted so the resulting path shape is as close to the original as possible. To remove a point without adjusting any handles, Shift+Option/Alt-clicking may be used. The Smart Remove button on the panel or virtual panel can also be used to remove a point.

InkScribe Point Removal

InkScribe Point Removal

Doubleclicking an anchor point (or one of its handles) on a selected path converts the point’s type from corner to smooth or vice versa. When a smooth point is converted to a corner point, handles (if any) are not moved. When a corner point is converted to a smooth point, and both handles exist, each handle swings away from the other in equal amounts until they are 180° apart (unless a handle was clicked, in which case only the clicked handle moves):

InkScribe Point Type Change

InkScribe Point Type Change

If the point did not have two handles originally, new handles are added. The Smooth Point or Corner Point buttons on the panel or virtual panel can also be used to change a point’s type.

Dragging an anchor point on a selected path moves it. InkScribe only moves a single anchor point at a time (to move multiple points, Astute Graphics’ PathScribe tool may be used). To move the point in a direction constrained to 45° increments around the general constrain angle from its original position, hold down the Shift key. If at least one of the point’s adjacent segments is straight, press the L key during the drag to toggle linear constrain mode, in which the point’s movement is constrained to the line formed by the straight segment(s).

Option/Alt-dragging an anchor point on a selected path, by default, defines the Out handle (as per the native Pen tool). If the point is a smooth point, the In handle will also move to remain opposite it. To define the Out handle on an existing point, Option/Alt must be held down before the drag starts. If the tool preference Option-Alt-Drag a Point to is set to Constrain Distance by Factor, then Option/Alt-dragging instead moves the anchor point from its original location by a multiple of the Distance Factor. For example, if the Distance Factor is set to 10 px, then the point will be moved 10 px, 20 px, 30 px, etc., but not in-between values. Distance constraining works only if the Option/Alt key is held down after the drag has started.

Adding and Deleting Points

Illustrator Location: Advanced Toolbar > PathScribe Stack > Reposition Point Tool

As a convenience, the Reposition Point tool can also add and remove points to a path by pressing the Option/Alt key when hovering over the path (to add) or an existing point (to remove). The cursor reflects the operation which will be carried out. When adding a point, tangency snapping is in effect.

Add points with reposition point tool

Add points with reposition point tool

Fast and Accurate Modes

By default, the tool operates in “Accurate” mode, which keeps the path’s geometry as close as possible to the original while allowing for the new point position(s). For smoother drag action (but somewhat more inaccurate results), the A key may be pressed to switch to “fast” mode.

Point Removal Live Effect

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Effect > AG Utilities > ...

Point Removal is an Astute Graphics live effect that removes anchor points from the paths in the artwork to which it is applied, based on criteria such as their distance from the previous point, the change in path angle at the point, or index. In contrast to the Smart Remove Points live effect, the handles of non-removed points are not adjusted to try to maintain path geometry.

As with most live effects, Point Removal appears in the main menu, under Effect > AG Utilities. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel.

Point Removal Parameters Dialog

After applying the live effect using the menu item (or when clicking on the existing effect in the Appearance panel to edit it), the parameters dialog will appear:

AG Utilities Live Effects - Point Removal Parameters Dialog

AG Utilities Live Effects - Point Removal Parameters Dialog

1. Criteria Popup

By default, points will be removed only if they match all of the enabled options (the first four checkboxes below). However you can change this to When They Match Any Enabled Options, Unless They Match All Enabled Options, or Unless They Match Any Enabled Options.

2. Distance From Previous

Points match when their distance (measured along the path) to the previous anchor point is between the minimum and the maximum values specified. The first point on an open path will never be matched.

3. Change In Path Angle

Points match when the change in the tangent angle of the path at the point is between the minimum and maximum values specified. Smooth points (unless malformed) will always have a 0° change in angle. The endpoints of an open path will never be matched.

4. Handles

Points match when their number of handles match the specified value: None, Any, Exactly One, or Exactly Two.

5. Index

Points match if their index matches the specified indices. Points are assigned indices starting at zero, increasing in the order in which they are encountered within the live effect. The default type of index match is Odd, i.e. 1, 3, 5, 7, etc. Other options are First, Last, First or Last, Even, and Pattern. Pattern type creates a repeating pattern of matching indices based on the three subsequent parameters.

6. Initial Skip

For Pattern index matching, the initial number of indices to skip over.

7. Match

For Pattern index matching, the number of indices to match after skipping some.

8. Skip

For Pattern index matching, the number of indices to skip over after matching some.

AG Utilities Live Effects - Point Removal Pattern

AG Utilities Live Effects - Point Removal Pattern

9. Randomize

Allows randomization of the removal.

10. Seed

Each random seed number leads to a different sequence of random values. Clicking the button picks a new seed, thereby changing the look of the artwork. To view or specify the seed number directly, Option/Alt-click the button. This lets you recreate a previously-generated look.

11. Retention Probability

The probability that a point that would normally be removed under the previous criteria will instead be retained.

12. Keep Same Geometry Paths Together

When the Point Removal effect is positioned under an artwork’s strokes and fills in the Appearance panel, the stroked and filled paths are passed to it separately, and their points would therefore normally be randomly affected independently, leading to some paths having different points removed when Randomize is enabled. Sometimes this can be solved by simply moving the Point Removal effect above them in the Appearance panel, but depending on the other effects that are present, this may not always be possible. In that case, enabling this setting allows paths with the exact same underlying geometry (such as fills and strokes of the same path) have the same points removed or retained.

13. Preview

As with all live effects, when enabled, changing a parameter will immediately update the artwork while the dialog is still open.

Smart Remove Points Live Effect

Illustrator Location: Illustrator Main Menu > Effect > AG Utilities > ...

Smart Remove Points is an Astute Graphics live effect that removes anchor points from a path (like the Point Removal effect) but while trying to maintain the geometry of the path. This is achieved by adjusting the lengths (but not angles) of the handles on either side of the removed points.

As with most live effects, Smart Remove Points appears in the main menu, under Effect > AG Utilities. It can also be applied directly from the Appearance panel using the “Add New Effect” button at the bottom of the panel.

Smart Remove Points Parameters Dialog

After applying the live effect using the menu item (or when clicking on the existing effect in the Appearance panel to edit it), the parameters dialog will appear:

AG Utilities Live Effects - Smart Remove Points Parameters Dialog

AG Utilities Live Effects - Smart Remove Points Parameters Dialog

1. Tolerance

Specifies how much the geometry of the path can change when removing a point. The value can range between 0 and 200, with a default of 10. Low values remove fewer points (prioritizing the path’s geometry) while high values remove more points (at the likely cost of some distortion).

2. Protect Sharp Corners

When enabled, corner points along the path where the path angle changes by more than 6° are never removed, regardless of the tolerance setting. This allows simplifying smooth sections of a path by using a large tolerance without having to worry that sharp corners will be lost.

AG Utilities Live Effects - Smart Remove Points Example

AG Utilities Live Effects - Smart Remove Points Example

3. Preview

As with all live effects, when enabled, changing a parameter will immediately update the artwork while the dialog is still open.