I Have around 1000 objects from a scatter plot.

Is there a possibility to lump these objects together without going insane?

enter image description here

These are the raw circle objects.

Now I want to push them together like this: enter image description here

I could do it manually, but then I go insane. Is there any form of automation or something?

2 Answers 2


You can let a nesting program to place a set of shapes so that a given "sheet" shape is filled as tightly as possible by other shapes. Metal and fabric cutters use such software to save material. Illustrator doesn't have such capability inbuilt, but there's 3rd party commercial nesting plugins. I show the idea with freeware outside Illustrator.

enter image description here

This is my SVG drawing. I want to place automatically the circles inside the polygon below. It's not by any means a demanding task to do manually because there's only a few circles and plenty of room. I can easily declare some free space to be left around every circle.

In the nesting program I defined the polygon to be my sheet and the wanted free space around every circle = 2,5 millimeters, so they do not touch each other.

This is the result:

enter image description here

It can be exported as SVG or DXF.

The nesting program I tried is deepnest.io It's very simple. It for ex. loses colors. That is understandable because the program is freeware and colors are not very important for metal and fabric cutters. Some cutting machines have their proprietary control programs and allow colors to be used for coding cutting parameters, but they vanish in deepnest.io

Here's a screenshot of deepnest.io webpage:

enter image description here

Someone may remember another freebie SVGnest. It's an earlier online version of deepnest and it can be found here https://svgnest.com.

No guarantee how these programs work in your case and do they contain anything unwanted (trojans, adware, ransomware etc...). I run them in a Sandbox.

Nesting with deepnest may be useless if you want some colors, texts or numerical values to follow. In such case it's better to use a commercial nesting plugin which says it handles complex objects or some data presentation package. Unfortunately my knowledge is too poor to recommend any.

  • That's an awesome idea. And It does work, although my Computer nearly dies. It still needs quite some manual work afterwards, but it helps a lot.
    – KSPR
    Commented Dec 6, 2023 at 14:01

Just an idea...

  • Align all on centers
  • Object > Transform > Transform Each
  • Enter values for the Move fields
  • Tick Random and then repeatedly tick other boxes to get different "Random" results until you are happy.

enter image description here

There may be a script out there for random placement... not sure and I didn't go looking.

  • Nice. I fiddled about with the alignment tool and the "align to reference". But i didn't know there is a random option. Will look into it. Thanks for the hint
    – KSPR
    Commented Dec 6, 2023 at 8:23

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