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I am used to editing vector graphics in FontLab, which allows you to simplify vectors like this:

The behavior I'm used to

If I delete a point from a curve, the program will roughly maintain the original shape by adjusting the handles of neighbouring points to compensate. Result: A curve that looks roughly like the original.

However, in Illustrator, the default behavior seems to be different, and it drives me a little bonkers—not quite because I'm used to the behavior above, but because in 90% of cases it's actually better for my particular use case and illustration style.

The behavior in Illustrator (it seems)

If I delete a point from a curve, the result is a straight line between the original points. If I want to recreate the original shape, I have to do some combination of joining points and adding/adjust handles.

Is there something I could be doing differently to get the behavior I'm used to? I would love for it to be as straightforward/keyboard-friendly as I'm used to Fontlab, without having to click a bunch or manually add or adjust handles. For all I know I'm using the wrong tool or action; though I'm not new to Illustrator, I haven't used it much to directly edit curves before.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Unfortunately, no.

The Illustrator behavior you are seeing is simply how Illustrator treats Bezier curves and anchor removal.

If you're interested, there is a third party vendor who makes a plug ins called VectorScribe and InkScribe. Both these plug ins have "smart" anchor removal tools which allows you to remove anchors and maintain curves.

It's a shame you need third-party tools for such, seemingly, basic path operations.

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Thanks, Scott. It is reassuring to hear that you agree, since you are a major AI expert. I will check out those plugins. – supertrue May 24 '13 at 18:40
Those two plugins are brilliant, and have since become indispensable to me. I highly recommend them to anyone reading this. You can do exactly what I described in my question, and a lot more. – supertrue Jul 7 '13 at 17:20

Illustrator will recalculate the curve in only two instances I'm aware of.

  • Adding points
  • Using the simplify command

When you delete a point, Illustrator does that an nothing more. If you're left with a straight line, it's because the remaining points had no bezier handles to begin with. Illustrator does not change those remaining points on deletion.

I don't know of any way to change this behavior.

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