Wednesday, February 17, 2010


The Anatomy of a Vector Illustration Part 4 - Summary

The anatomy of a vector illustration has an exact, finite pattern. There are only so many parts to it. It is summarized below:

An ILLUSTRATION is composed of vector
  OBJECTS each having one or more
    PATHS which are composed of
      LINE SEGMENTS having
        ANCHOR POINTS at each end
ANCHOR POINTS fall into two categories:

1. Those having CONTROL HANDLES and
2. Those having NO CONTROL HANDLES

Line segments with points having control handles are curved.
Line segments with points having no control handles are straight.

An ANCHOR POINT can have either:


There is really only ONE handle per SIDE of a point because points between consecutive line segments are shared.

Points with both handles in line with each other are called SMOOTH POINTS. All other points (except for the specialized ones - "symmetrical node" and "connector point") are generally referred to as CORNER POINTS.

Objects have stroke and fill properties. Stroke (or outline) properties apply to the path of an object and fill properties apply to the area enclosed by the path.

Objects may be:

1. Grouped or
2. Formed into Composite Paths or
3. Combined into new objects

Paths are either:

1. Open or
2. Closed

That's it!

The whole purpose of this was to drive home the point that there is an anatomy to a vector illustration. It has an exact pattern. It is finite. It is simple and all vector illustrations from the simple to complex will reveal this pattern.

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