Why do my flattened objects end up with so many nodes?

Participant ,
Mar 03, 2021 Mar 03, 2021

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Often if I have text and basic objects setup with Blends or Warps, I have to flatten them to supply to 3rd parties.

What I find is that even with some basic warps and blends on very simply vector text and / or simple shapes - I always wind up with thousands of nodes when I expand everything and try and use the Unite tool to combine all the pieces of matching colour together again.

Often when I use the Unite tool on something that was previously blended or warped and is now expanded, the Illustrator app almost freezes up and in most cases takes 10mins or more trying to unite things.

I just don't understsand why so many nodes are produced as when I look at the object it could have been repredouces with 4 to 6 times less nodes.

is there a better way to do it?

RAM: I have 24gb RAM on a i7 Intel 4ghz processor with 40% free space on the hard drive

(Mac os 10.14.6 Imac)

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 03, 2021 Mar 03, 2021

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Choose a lower precision setting for your warp, then you get fewer nodes.

Or use Object > Path > Simplify (there are even better simplification tools available as plugins)

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Participant ,
Mar 03, 2021 Mar 03, 2021

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where do I control the precision settings of the Warp?

and the Object / Path / Simplify does not really help as once the blend or warp is expanded it breaks into pieces,

so you need to combine them again as a whole in order to simplify them, but the combining process is what is freezing the App.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 03, 2021 Mar 03, 2021

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Object > Envelope > Envelope options

 

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Participant ,
Mar 03, 2021 Mar 03, 2021

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That is for Envelope, but we are talking about Blends and Warps

Where do you control the precision of Warp when you are using: Effect / Warp /Arc or Effect / Warp / Flag, etc?

 

In regards to the Precision settings for Blends that is in Object / Blend / Blend Options

I've never found a setting that reduced the nodes that didn't also visually make the Blend look 'bumpy' or jagged.

Does anyone have any recommended settings for Blends that will make the Nodes manageable but not show up visually as looking poorly?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 03, 2021 Mar 03, 2021

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Do you need to use the effect? Can't you achieve the same with the envelopes? They are the same operations.

 

As for blends: it just produces a lot of copies of the original object. It doesn't add anchor points to them.

Are you producing things such as a "long shadow"? Don't use blends at all for that. There are plugins available, that will give you better results.

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Participant ,
Mar 03, 2021 Mar 03, 2021

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I could do that, but that still leaves me with thousands of nodes caused via the Blend, which I can't recreate with Envelopes.

I can't seem to get a blend that doesn't visually appear jagged (not smooth enough transition / not enough steps included) that will expand to a reasonable amount of nodes.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 03, 2021 Mar 03, 2021

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Of course not.

The blend just makes in-betweens. And the more you make, the more issues you'll get with your postproduction

 

The pathfinder has a precision setting and maybe you want to try it out? It can be found in the pathfinder panel menu.

 

Could you perhaps show what you are trying to achieve?

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Participant ,
Mar 03, 2021 Mar 03, 2021

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what were you referring to when you said "of course not"?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 04, 2021 Mar 04, 2021

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"what were you referring to when you said "of course not"?"

 

The fact that blends just don't work that way.

 

As for your example: If you don't want the Astute Graphics plugin, try the opo plugin.

For certain directions, this procedure works: https://www.vektorgarten.de/long-shadows-with-illustrator.html (will need postproduction)

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Participant ,
Mar 03, 2021 Mar 03, 2021

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auxiliaryjoel_0-1614824171378.png

 

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Participant ,
Mar 03, 2021 Mar 03, 2021

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I've posted a photo above. the Blend options used here are the smallest amout of steps/ transition that I can set without the blends looking visually jagged.

however when they are flattened down (expanded) they produce so many nodes that when I attempt to Unite them my app either crashes/disappears completely or sits for over 15-20 minutes trying to complete the process.

I have 24gb RAM on a i7 Intel 4ghz processor with 40% free space on the hard drive

(Mac os 10.14.6 Imac) so I think if Illustrator is producing so much processing needs that it is crashing me out - then surely there is a better method in Illustrator to achieve this?

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 03, 2021 Mar 03, 2021

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Is the warp effect still live when you are applying the blend? I would at least expand the warp effect, clean up any extra anchor points and then apply the blend effect afterward.

For block shadow kinds of effects within Illustrator I pull up Astute Graphics' AG Block Shadow plugin for such effects. But that kind of effect generates a solid color block shadow in a single path shape. The effect is very clean and precise. It also has a few adjustable parameters. Some manual work would be required to create a gradient sweep effect on that just like what you're doing with the blend. Extra paths would have to be added to create the various extrude details. But the end result would generate far smaller file sizes and not be so resource-hungry. The extrude function in CorelDRAW can generate all the necessary parts for such a 3D effect, but even that effect requires some additional editing after the fact to get clean results. The latest versions of CorelDRAW also have a built in block shadow effect that works very well.

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Participant ,
Mar 03, 2021 Mar 03, 2021

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the blend is applied to non-warped text, (to create that off axis keyline appearance) and then the item is grouped with a Warp applied to it as a whole.

The screenshot of the nodes is after I expand the warp and blend so that neither is live anymore.

My blend is just 1colour (no gradients)

I'm looking for a solution in Illustrator so I don't want to buy/learn another app (CorelDRAW) as I have 20years of client files archived as Illustrator format, so jumping ship and moving into Corel at this point is not an option.

 

In regards to the 3rd party plugin that you mention:
when you say "block shadow" in Astute Graphics plugin, do you mean that if I flattened it, it would become a raster shape (pixels/transparency with a 'shadow' fade out appearance) or is the word 'shadow' misleading and it actually does become solid shapes built from nodes if it's expanded?

 

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 04, 2021 Mar 04, 2021

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The terms "flatten" or "expand" merely mean baking a certain vector-based effect permanently into an object, such as a warp or anything else like that. Converting live text to outlines is another way of "expanding" an object into a plain vector shape.

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Participant ,
Mar 04, 2021 Mar 04, 2021

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yes I know. I was never confused about that.

What I'm trying to find out is - why is Illustrator adding so many thousands of nodes to an object once it's been expanded (i.e. one that used to be a blend of 2 items) when it could achieve the same expanded appearance with 4 or 6 times less nodes?

The pre-expanded control I have means I have to set a certain amount of steps in a blend so that it does not look bumpy or jagged.

However, once I set it that way - when I need to expand it later Illustrator goes overboard with the amount of nodes it gives to the expanded(flattened) object.

So many nodes that it causes itself to crash when trying to even move or Unite the pieces.

The pieces need to be united as I have to supply to 3rd parties and giving 3rd parties objects that are broken into pieces is never a good idea. So hence it has to be United, but Illustrator's processes crash itself when this is required.

the objects are relatively simple, so why on earth is Illustrator forcing itself into situations that will no doubt crash itself. Surely it should be smart enough to adapt and avoid that.

I realised that Expanded blends will have more nodes, but the amount of nodes that Illustrator is adding in to the expanded version is totally overboard for the shapes it needs to represent. But, I have not setting to control this?

And as I say, if I had a small processor, tiny RAM and no disk space, then sure I understand that I'm likely to get crashes and freezes.

But I'm running maximum Processors and RAM, with tonnes of disk space, and no other apps running. (see my specs in previous replies in this thread).

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 04, 2021 Mar 04, 2021

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"the objects are relatively simple, so why on earth is Illustrator forcing itself into situations that will no doubt crash itself. Surely it should be smart enough to adapt and avoid that."

 

When blending objects, you create intermediate steps which in your case are copies of the objects you are blending. That is how the function works. For your purpose using a blend is inappropriate.

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Participant ,
Mar 04, 2021 Mar 04, 2021

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What other method other than Blend can I use to have a keyline/stroke around an object that appears to grow out in one direction (i.e. the stroked colour pushes forther /thicker out at lower left than it does at top right)?

I'm not aware of any other method in Illustrator that would achieve the appearance I have shown in the screenshot I posted earlier?

I realise that intermediate steps are needed in a blend, but what I am saying is - the steps that expand into nodes are too many in relation to the simplicity of the object.

Or at least, if Illustator has no way of producing less nodes, then why doesn't it's own app have enough power to handle it when they're used?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 05, 2021 Mar 05, 2021

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I have posted a link that has the methods you are asking for.

 

You still don't understand what blends are doing, right?

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Participant ,
Mar 07, 2021 Mar 07, 2021

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There was no link.

I understand completely what blends are doing.

What I'm trying to address is the performance issues that Illustrator suffers from when trying to deal with blends after they've been expanded.

if you'd taken time to read any of my posts properly you would already know that.

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 07, 2021 Mar 07, 2021

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There is a link in my post from March 4

It has the methods you want. When you create a couple hundreds of objects and try to unite them all at once, then you will have to expect performance issues.

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