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I'm looking to create several images of this type:

Network of connected nodes

As you can see, there are a lot of lines and dots. Obviously, this can be drawn manually. But what is the fastest way to generate this sort of graphic?

Note the key features of the graphic: the lines form a web/graph, with each node having many connections; and there are dots at every intersection.

Speed is important as I may need to create many of these, each different; or large-dimension versions; or versions which are denser or sparser. Ideally I need a vector output for onward editability.

You can find a lot of flattened images of this type on stock websites (each with their own style that may be inappropriate for the given project, hence I want to be able to make them). I'd be amazed if these are being hand-drawn, but maybe they are?

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    Are you looking for the fastest way within illustrator or the fastest way in general? – Ryan Aug 14 at 12:51
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    Look up delunlay triangulation. – joojaa Aug 15 at 4:17
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Delaunay triangulation is already suggested in a comment, but here's a simple receipe. It uses freeware which will not cause licensing problems.

Get Inkscape, draw dots, select them and apply extension Generate from Path > Voronoi Diagram > Delaunay Triangulation.

A fast way to insert plenty of dots is to use the shape sprayer.

Here's 2 examples:

enter image description here

The upper set is sprayed, the lower set has a few separately drawn shapes.

The dots stay individual objects, the generated pattern is a group, which contains triangles with overlapping edges.

You can save the SVG file and open it in Illustrator. There you can make colorings and add effects just like for native Illustrator drawings:

enter image description here

There are triangles instead of separate lines to make colorings easy. If you want separate lines without overlaps, you can in Illustrator select the triangles and apply Pathfinder panel > Outline. Then insert a new stroke and ungroup, if needed.

A hint: In Inkscape let the triangle pattern have different stroke color than the dots. Let for ex. the dots be strokeless, but filled equally. Then you can in Illustrator use "Select same" for selections (after ungrouping).

  • Thanks, this is a fantastic solution. Now why doesn't Illu$trator let me do stuff like this?! – Convincible Aug 16 at 15:12
  • Inkscape is developed by enthusiasts, Illustrator is a business. Serious business does not straggle in every possible direction. Adobe is very strong in some critical things that print and video production need. Actually there surely are developed 3rd party Illustrator plugins also for mathematical gimmicks like Delaunay triangulation. I haven't one nor don't know does free ones exist. – user287001 Aug 16 at 15:40
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More correctly, this is referred to as a Plexus network - and there's an After Effects plug-in Plexus 3 which will help do this readily.

Refer to this previous question & answer for further details.

What is this «minimalistic dots» video style called?

Also see this other current question which has some great approaches in Illustrator for creating Plexus style images:

What this networking grid style effect called?

Hope this helps!

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