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Does anybody have a great suggestion to make a piece of artwork with too many points more functional in Illustrator? We have tried making the artwork a brush, a symbol, etc., but replicating the artwork (trees, bushes) a few hundred times in the layout piece makes for an enormous, dysfunctional file. See jpg to help explain what I mean. enter image description here

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    Will you be duplicating the same few trees many times? – WELZ Apr 8 at 18:14
  • Relevant answer, not a duplicate. – WELZ Apr 8 at 18:15
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I don't think the bush example on the left can be significantly improved (other than the flowers) and keep its qualities, but I think the one on the right could easily be improved a ton - the basic leaf shape there could be managed with half the anchorpoints or less, and still have significantly the same feel - especially if there won't be a deep-zoom-in close look at the leaf-element level: one assumes from your symbols & brushes attempt that the intent is to have a lot of these - like a siteplan or a decorative motif.

I'd grab all the leaves on a copy of the right one, and run the Object>Path>Simplify tool and see how many anchorpoints you can lose whilst keeping your same basic feel: I'm guessing you can cut your anchorpoints by as much as 75% whilst keeping that look. I'd do the same to the flowers on the left-hand bush, BTW.

enter image description here

The tool gives you a live preview of the impact of your impending edit, and a rough estimate of the impact on the anchorpoint-count on the given item. I'd do one leaf first as a tester, and provided you're OK with the results, move on.

enter image description here

As you can see, less than half the anchorpoints and still enough of the same shape and feel to pass muster - and my initial anchorpoint density was about a tenth of your right bush. enter image description here

If the viewer will never see the leaves close-up, they should really be held by only 4 anchorpoints - that's all they should need for a basic elongated / tapered ellipse.

Only after you've done this type of cleanup to all your art would I make my symbols of these - and yes, I would do that for sure: symbols will really help keep your filesize down.

Hope this helps.

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    No matter how simple the shapes are, once you clone it hundreds of times - you end up with massive path volume which decreases performance. Best is to simplify the path and definitely utilize symbols. – WELZ Apr 8 at 18:29
  • @WELZ - yup. I was intending OP set up symbols after doing cleanup - I'll add that to my answer for clarity - thanks mate! – GerardFalla Apr 8 at 18:41
  • Yes, I should have cleaned up the paths on these. I have done so on others.I've tried making symbols, brushes, converting the artwork to psds, and then some. For site plans, the shear bulk of the replication becomes unmanageable. Then I have to take a wonderful vector file and convert it to a photoshop file to use in printed materials. I'll continue trying to perfect the clean-up/symbols method. But if anybody has found that magic solution, let me know. Thanks to everyone! – Sue Apr 9 at 13:59
  • I spent a long time doing illustrative site plans in Illus traitor: my approach is a lot looser, squigglier, and managed via graphic styles: that way, you leave bushes & trees as circles, apply the graphic style and you’re good. Less detailed, yes, but easier to manage on huge files. – GerardFalla Apr 9 at 14:15

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