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Hi all, I´m working on a laser engraving design.. obviously and its fun! But I have a big problem..

It´s basically two layers now, one "outline" and one background"

First I made the outline design with all the shadowing and expanded the strokes and used "add" to add them all together as one curve.

Then I made the background All outside the outline but I made it a little bigger so I could have curves to fit exactly to the outline wnen using the subtract button. But when I use subtract it creates insane lots of unnessesary nodes (See screenshots)

Is there any settings or reason why it makes so many nodes? It would take forever to try to clean up all this, as the laser engraver will go a little mental with all these nodes.

I´m using a Mac Catalina 10.15.6 and Affinity Designer 1.8.6

 

Any help or tips would be very welcome 🙂

 

1901664258_Screenshot2020-11-30at22_06_41.png.e7c9f4913a4949524866bb1d2c5f9f46.png92043615_Screenshot2020-11-30at22_21_12.png.caf8e4849b3f51c0428f29a16dba1077.png560523389_Screenshot2020-11-30at22_21_35.png.a19e0aa7aa2a8960e7f8dae6ea49d9c6.png744449804_Screenshot2020-11-30at22_08_24.png.087d3517d18b08783f5012834a5595fd.png

Edited by 276ccm
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9 hours ago, 276ccm said:

expanded the strokes

That's what does it, unfortunately that functionality in Designer is very clunky.

You will have to use some other software to reduce the nodes automatically, Designer doesn't have that kind of function. InkScape can do this, it's free software but it's a bit painful to use. The function you need is referred to as 'simplify'.

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I can try Inkscape but yes it’s horrible to work with! 

Do you know if illustrator has it too? Maybe silly to ask as I have a illustrator subscription but only to export to DXF files as affinity can’t.. but that’s all I use illustrator for :-) never open illustrator if it’s not for this :-) 

thanks for feedback! :-) 

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Yep Illustrator can do it, Object > Path > Simplify (you can run it multiple times if needed).

You could also try svg omg, save as svg from Designer and run it through https://jakearchibald.github.io/svgomg/

There are online free converters that can take an SVG and output a DXF. Might be worth a try if that's all you are paying for Illustrator for.

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4 hours ago, BofG said:

 [...] That's what does it, unfortunately that functionality in Designer is very clunky. [...]

... that some kind of understatement here. I'd call Affinity's approach in this regards as almost unusable for creating proper designs for CNC and/or laser cutting (alongside with the lack of support of the DXF format).

Yet again, we have to rely on third party apps and/or workarounds.

»A designer's job is to improve the general quality of life. In fact, it's the only reason for our existence.«
Paul Rand (1914-1996)

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Yea it’s a bit tricky but at the same time, I absolutely love working with Affinity designer, changing back and forth from the iPad and desktop.. it’s such a great app in most ways.. which still makes it worth it but it would be a big advantage with DXF and a few other improvements.. 🙂 

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I posted a while ago a comparison of simplification efficacy between different apps but here is a version that is created specifically in purpose of trying to clean the side effects of Boolean operations made in Affinity Designer. The blue object with 155 nodes can be created by dividing the bottom three objects. There are minor differences in curvatures but Inkscape does this really well, and objects can be exchanged via Clipboard, which makes cleaning pretty easy. Illustrator seems to be the worst of the lot (not counting Affinity curvature smoothener which often only just increases the number of nodes): the curvature needs to be retained nearly at 100% to avoid distorting the shape, and reducing the number of nodes to anything like Inkscape results in clearly distorted shapes.

simplification.jpg.116ab49feeb7bc12fab8846e68a24e6d.jpg

division_nodeparty.afdesign

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CorelDRAW also does a pretty good job of this sort of thing.  I would not buy a CD license just for this function, but as I've already got it, it's what I would do the simplification in.

Actually, given the current statue of Affinity suite booleans and the just-added contour operator, I would probably do the vector graphic work in CD at this point in time.

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Tried to simplify the nodes with Illustrator and Inkscape today.. For me illustrator made a quite good job but changed the design a tiny bit so would take some time to clean that up.

With inkscape it cleaned up pretty well to but after the design was totally useless.. would take more time to clean up than trying to make a new.. so in my case, inkscape was really useless.. and it was my impression from many years ago.

 

 

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1 hour ago, 276ccm said:

With inkscape it cleaned up pretty well to but after the design was totally useless.. would take more time to clean up than trying to make a new.. so in my case, inkscape was really useless.. and it was my impression from many years ago.

What was wrong with it? Did it distort more complex shapes? I have only just used its simplify feature for a few test cases and it appeared to do good automatic node reduction (Path > Simplify). Interctivity in Illustrator works well but it begins to distort the shape quite soon. Inkscape has also an interactive tool under Path > Path Effects > Simplify (+ some other node manipulation effects), but its operation is not as intuitive as that of Illustrator's interactive node reduction tool.

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Yes it just distorted the design too much.. as it is a quite complex design. Illustrator removed quite a lot of nodes too, but dint distort the design a lot, just a little bit.

I tried both ways in Inkscape, but with the effect, it didnt really remove much nodes to keep the design usable. 🙂

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Thanks for your reply! 🙂

Corel sounds interesting to try, but the thing is I do most of this kind of scrollwork on the ipad and AD there with the Apple Pencil, and I have never ever used an app where the workflow is that good as AD on the iPad 🙂 It´s really mindblowing.. so I dont really have much options. To do this kind of vector lines with all the shadowing etc would just take too much time on the desktop.

I could test Corel to clean up after though, but I really want to try to find a solution without adding another program.

I dont do laser at all, I´m actually a hand engraver, but I do a lot of comission designs for laser engravers. For some laser engravers which has a lot of experience and great machines the work usually go seamless, but for others it´s just too much hassle.. 🙂

If there is a demo version of Corel I could check out how it cleans up after, but if it is another expence I just have to find a way.. 🙂

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12 hours ago, Marder said:

Corel had trials available for as long as I remember but is probably way too expensive for curve optimization. Well, it is actually.

You can get a licence for little money for some of the previous versions. In particular if you just want to reduce nodes, you wouldn't need any of the latest versions. CorelDraw does this job really well for ages now, since so many versions ago. Actually, this feature seems to be that well implemented so long ago, that there wasn't any need to improve it any further with the latest version(s).

»A designer's job is to improve the general quality of life. In fact, it's the only reason for our existence.«
Paul Rand (1914-1996)

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