Tracing logic behind the pen tool / bezier curve

One of the strategies I employ when using the Pen Tool in Illustrator to trace something is to use as few nodes as possible to make the curves as smooth as possible. I’m often surprised by what curve variations can be managed between a mere two nodes, and on the other hand occasional come across seemingly simply curve segments that require three or more nodes to trace properly. As a somewhat scientifically minded person, I find myself wanting to “know” just what’s going on…

I wondering whether any experienced tracers out there have a kind of mental checklist for when they need to drop another node, or whether anyone has a good summary of it from a maths point of view?


Like you I wanted to know how to perform tracing best. Initially it was because I failed in tracing in MS Paint many years ago. I studied bezzier curves and from this point I should say you cannot solve every curve by logic, instead you will get some “inner feeling” where to place an anchor point.
Most frequently I don’t place an anchor on heels, but place in concave part of a curve, because the smooth heel created by dragging directional points of the near anchor points.
Secondly, I decided to work the fastest way, thus for me the issue of clear path is more theoretical then practical one.
I don’t believe someone should be obsessive by removing unnecessary anchor points, because on modern pc there is sufficient memory to work and save information about millions of anchor point without affecting productivity in any way.

Source : Link , Question Author : Hari Honor , Answer Author : Ilan

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