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Anchor Point Editing Palette - Please! - Adobe Illustrator Windows

This is kind of a broad feature request. I really like IllustratorCS2, but after all these years the process of editing control points within Illustrator is still a clumsy and frustrating process. Illustrator should not function this way. Good control in anchor point editing is at the very foundation of how Illustrator should work. In short, I want an Anchor Point Editing Palette. This palette would have a number of buttons for changing properties of selected anchor points -without forcing the user to manually make changes using the knife, scissors or convert direction point tool. Macromedia Freehand and CorelDRAW both ...

  1. #1

    Default Anchor Point Editing Palette - Please!

    This is kind of a broad feature request. I really like IllustratorCS2, but after all these years the process of editing control points within Illustrator is still a clumsy and frustrating process. Illustrator should not function this way. Good control in anchor point editing is at the very foundation of how Illustrator should work.

    In short, I want an Anchor Point Editing Palette.

    This palette would have a number of buttons for changing properties of selected anchor points -without forcing the user to manually make changes using the knife, scissors or convert direction point tool.

    Macromedia Freehand and CorelDRAW both have such features. CorelDRAW has 17 pretty useful point editing tools that appear in its property bar when its "shape tool" is selected. Certain functions within Illustrator require users to drop down the Object menu and select the Path flyout -or memorize keyboard shortcuts. Again, a simple toolbar or palette will do better.

    I would like to see at the very least the following 8 buttons in a point editing palette:

    * convert selected point(s) to corner point(s)
    * convert selected point(s) to smooth point(s)
    * split path at selected point(s)
    * join path at two selected coincident points
    * span open gap in path between two non-coincident points
    * add point on path halfway to next point
    * subtract selected point (without deleting line segment)
    * reverse path direction

    I would also like to see numerical entry options for anchor point coordinates.

    It would be really great to have numerical entry for direction point handles on anchor points.

    FontLab and Fontographer have allowed such a thing, and its time for drawing applications to offer the same. Numerical entry for both point position and point handle position would be immensely valuable for technical drawing applications. Everything from CAD-type work to font design would work better from within Illustrator.

    I also want to see anchor point alignment options. At the very least, users should be able to apply any of the align and distribute commands to selected points. The last selected point, or last one clicked should be locked in place with the alignment or distribution axis referenced to it.

    Finally, I'd also like to be able to transform part of a path based on only the anchor points that are selected. Corel offers such a thing on its point editing toolbar. You can scale, rotate and do other transformations on part of a path based on the points selected. It is a very useful feature in terms of technical drawing.

    If these point editing features are added to Illustrator, I'll be able to comfortably uninstall CorelDRAW from my computer and only use Illustrator for vector drawing purposes.
    Bobby_Henderson@adobeforums.com Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: Anchor Point Editing Palette - Please!

    That IS a very broad feature request and while changing AI to make it more like something else may make it more like what you are used to, I have managed to use AI fluently (note 'fluently')since 1988 as a technical illustrator / designer / graphic artist (and never once needed to know or change the 'direction' of a line except when adding arrowheads).

    I like your idea, but I have so few issues and problems with the workability of the program I often wonder why people ask about and actually struggle with some of the things they think they have issue with. My biggest gripe is not having the 'Average' commands in the Align toolbox and having them appear in that archaic 'radio' button dialog box which has not changed in almost 20 years. :-(

    The joining of 2 points is already easy. 3 or more points is far more useful for me as I must convert a lot of .CGMs and .DWGs which are artifact rich with stray points andhave no connected corners. The best tool I found to joint these is a third party filter called Concatenate which did all selected endpoints within X distance of each other allowing the filling of shapes to be far less of a headache than previously.

    I use a lot of the key commands and have gotten so quick they are almost mindless taps and clicks as I work. I was editing the commands last week at work and actually realized there were some I had not noticed.

    Illustrator already has many CAD type features which are largely unused. As for CorelDRAW....(like Canvas), I have found it to work like a skateboard with 1 wheel, very difficult to learn to use, but there will always be someone who can do amazing tricks with it.

    No brainer for me. I wouldn't hesitate to dump CD in favor of AI simply because I never used CD for any extended time as I was comparing it to AI and found it to be clumsy and stiff.

    Keep 'em both. They seem to each have something you like.
    Kohnitz@adobeforums.com Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: Anchor Point Editing Palette - Please!

    Freehand is going to be phased out because of the Adobe merger. Performance issues within Corel, and activity in the Corel company, make me feel that program may not have very many years of life left in front of it. The long term trend appears that Illustrator may wind up being the only choice for vector drawing applications.

    I can still use Corel and Freehand for now. But what about when operating systems go entirely 64-bit? Other service packs and the like can render an old, legacy program incompatible.

    Anyway, I do know the point editing functions within Illustrator, but find them to be kind of a pain. I have to remember the Ctrl-J shortcut for Join. But I always have to go to the toolbar, grab the scissors tool and then try to manually cut exactly on the point I want broke open. Two simple "join" and "break apart" buttons would be so much easier and more precise.

    There are cases where I can't stand to use the convert direction point tool to manually convert a straight line point to a smooth curve point or a cusp curve point.

    There are times where I want to convert all the points on a path from line segments to curve segments with one button click. I can do that in Corel very easily. There's no way to do that in Illustrator. Sometimes it is absolutely necessary. For instance, I'll need to bring artwork into Macromedia Flash. Sometimes the paths glitch out and have points, subpaths or entire objects missing. Corel's node editing buttons will allow me to turn all the points into curve points without changing the actual path shape. Then the artwork imports into Flash flawlessly.

    I'm not the only one who wants anchor point alignment options. It would be a very big time saver. It's one of the main things that has me fire up CorelDRAW. In Illustrator, I have to numerically enter the position of any anchor points I want to have placed exactly on a particular axis. That takes a lot more time to do.

    Now, I don't want any of the existing tools within Illustrator to be removed. I don't want any of the standard menu options changed either. That sure wouldn't be very cool. Something like a separate palette that can be exposed or hidden would be great.

    I'm sure a plug-in would accomplish fairly easily what I want. But I don't think there are any plug-ins on the market for Illustrator that do that exactly. I don't think even the latest version of CAD Tools does what I am asking.
    Bobby_Henderson@adobeforums.com Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: Anchor Point Editing Palette - Please!

    I see your points (!!!) better now that I see your needs and usages. I still like the idea as it has merit. Like I said, things like 'ctrl-j' are so mindless I barely notice doing it, but the alternative, 'ctrl-alt-j'(?) to break at an existing point is a very cool idea....with the option of hidden tool-specific buttons for you of course!
    Kohnitz@adobeforums.com Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: Anchor Point Editing Palette - Please!

    Breaking at a particular point isn't all that difficult... you can use
    the pen tool to add a point on both sides (very close) to the point
    where you want to split the path. Then use the point selector, click
    the point and delete. Or, after making the two extra points, use the
    same pen tool to subtract the break point, add the point again and then
    press delete. Then sounds troublesome but is actually very quick to do.
    I can understand this method to be somewhat of a pain when you have to
    do this to several points at once.

    I agree with Kohn than the keyboard shortcuts eventually become things
    you just know and don't have to remember. Anything to minimize my mouse
    movements!!!

    Fiasko Guest

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