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Vector Basic Training: Getting to the Points

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A Bézier curve or path is only as elegant, graceful, or accurate as the anchor points that control and shape it. And in order to better control and edit anchor points, you first need to understand and recognize what qualifies as a good anchor point and path, a bad anchor point and path, and an ugly anchor point and path.
This chapter is from the book

A vector design can easily have hundreds of paths and thousands of anchor points within it. Each point that is incorrectly used or sloppily handled will just add to the overall degradation of your visual aesthetic.

Anyone can learn to use a digital tool; that is merely a skill set. I want you to become a vector craftsperson, someone who can handle the basic tools and create professional results. You may conceive of a brilliant idea, but if your vector craftsmanship is weak, it doesn't matter how well thought out the idea is. It will suffer from poor execution.

On Prime Point Placement

There is one assumption to make before we can determine if an anchor point is good, bad, or ugly. We will assume you have the Prime Point Placement (PPP) of your anchor point correct. That is, you have each anchor point in the correct position within your design. We'll go over placing and removing anchor points, as well as PPP in more detail in the next chapter. But suffice it to say for now that if an anchor point is not positioned correctly as you build your vector shape, it will make controlling the path so that it matches your drawing far more difficult and possibly inaccurate.

For sake of demonstration, all of the vector art in the following images (Figures 4.14.3) contain identical PPP. That is, the anchor points are in the right places. The only difference among the figures will be found in the specific problematic characteristics associated with the individual anchor points.

Figures 4.1

Figure 4.1 All of the anchor points in this vector ornament design are of the correct type, either corner or smooth depending on their PPP. The anchor points controlling the Bézier curves that form the main vine in this motif bend smoothly from one side to the other.

With that graphic caveat in mind, let's take a closer look.

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