Architectural Elevations - Large File Size Issues

I’ve been trying to print a brick pattern as part of a building elevation and have been running into a situation where my file contains “a very large number of individual nodes. Because of this, the file is too complex for our software to process.”

The recommendation was to edit the vector, simplifying the design into combined paths where possible.

I’ve done some digging in the 2D illustrator matrix files, but can’t seem to figure out if this is possible - my file isn’t a combine paths problem, and its not a pathfinder issue (I think).

Any help from the gallery in reducing the nodespartial%20west%20elevation%20-%20revised%20for%2010x16%20bed%20size? My workflow is typically CAD to illustrator to .svg.


In that situation I would make it an image and engrave it or else make it a hatch pattern as the rows of bricks can be single line scores. A ten or 35 lpi engrave can produce a brick effect depending on your scale factor.

Was that an error that you received through the UI? Curious because it’s the first I’d have heard of it (wondering if they are now giving more intuitive/instructive error messages). I didn’t receive that error when uploading it, just the standard, “An Unexpected Error…”

On towards the file: Were you planning to score or engrave this?

From a point reduction standpoint - on this particular file - there isn’t much that you can do that I can see.

A couple of options:

  1. You can score it. I don’t know if it’s going to be as clean of a result as you want since you’re going to end up with a whole lot of start/stop points. First, to be able to load the file as a vector, that will allow you to score it, I deleted a couple of extraneous objects that your uploaded SVG seemed to have (basically overlaid fill layers on top of everything). Then, I just selected everything and in Illustrator, Object > Compound Path > Make. I haven’t looked at the SVG code to see exactly what it’s doing - it doesn’t reduce the number of points, but it reduced the SVG file size from 1.8mb (the file size when I saved it with 4 decimal point accuracy) to 187kb, so it’s obviously writing significantly less code into the file.

Using Proofgrade HQ Score settings (which will give you the cleanest score with the number of start/stop points you have) it’s showing to take 2 hours 21 minutes.

Using Draft Score settings, it gives me a time of: 33 mins, 38 seconds

Both took a while to process in the “Preparing Your Design” to go to print stage.

  1. Your second option would be to convert to a raster image, and engrave it as @rbtdanforth suggested. This will probably give you the cleanest render in your final print since you don’t have the overlapping start/stop points. I wouldn’t use the 10 or 35 LPI engrave though because it might give you unexpected results, especially on the vertical brick lines, since they are so short.

I didn’t process the time for the engrave, but at that size, using SD Engrave settings you are probably looking at about 2.5 hours.

Here is the compound path file: partial west (30.6 KB)

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Are you creating a hatch pattern for the brick in CAD? You might try exploding the hatch and see how many lines / points it’s creating. Some hatch patterns are crap and have lines on top of lines, multiple nodes / points, and some even use splines and other non-standard drawing ways to create the hatch. I’ve taken many a DXF or other file into CAD and had to do extensive cleanup to get it to work (USGS Topo is the WORST but source able).

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I closed the file but it’s between 22-23k points. None of them seemed to be duplicate/lines on top of lines, thankfully.

That’s a LOT of points however. One other thing to try is scaling your model down to the actual size of the piece you’re trying to cut (a 1 to 1 plot) and not plotting at scale.

You could also again, explode the hatch and then do a select filter specifically selecting for points and deleting them. That would leave behind the linework and reduce the number.

Sorry - only thing I can think of.

when i opened the OP’s file in Illustrator, I saw two black filled boxes stacked on top of each other and then the entire brick pattern was shapes with no fills or strokes. so that in and of itself was kind of odd.

fwiw, i’m at work right now and ran a test timing for a 75w universal to score the brick pattern and it would be 1:02:24. so this is a really demanding pattern to run.

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Yeah, forgot to mention that. I selected everything, after deleting those weird overlays, and gave it a .008” stroke.

Out of curiosity, how long did it take the Universal to be ready to print the file once it was sent?

it’s pretty much instantaneous. the processing is done when you run it through the print driver. and i don’t remember that taking particularly long.

now, for me to run the timing test, that took a minute or so. you can see it quickly draw through the entire file.

edit: honestly, that may be one of the benefits of using the print driver. the file that’s stored in the UCP is already processed. kind of like the RIP (rastor image processor) for a color copier or plotter. it’s storing the print/cut ready file. it’s really quick to go back to older files and if your material is set up the same way, you can literally just hit the big green button again and it will start immediately.


The processing is more what I meant. I didn’t time it - but it took a good 5 minutes for the cloud to get a cut file sent back.

yeah, nothing close to that. it was quick.

Writing your own special brick hatch pattern is not such a difficult thing. As @jbmanning5 suggests start-stop points are going to be an issue as Cad hatch patterns are straight lines only, but if you are willing to do the work at it Inkscape would allow you to do the entire hatch pattern with very few start-stop points, I laid out the basics here but talking about puzzle pieces instead of bricks
It was my thinking that a low LPI would give you a lot of horizontal lines that would imply the brick pattern without making every brick.

I just went and choked my Inkscape looking at your drawing. As it goes into Inkscape every line is in its own group and has no defined edge or fill so it took a bit of playing with it to see anything, and too big a bite at a time just locked it up so I had to start again, but I saw enough that the horizontal lines in the brick are single lines but the verticals are each single lines.

The simplest way to go I think is to make an image, put it into a copy of your drawing and delete all the brick, or if it is all in the same cad layer just make your image of only the brick and bring that in. there are many cute tricks with dashed lines and such but I think that would be the fastest and best .

First, a grateful thank you for all of the suggested solutions. I sincerely appreciate the responsiveness and detail! Fantastic!

The original error was the standard “An Unexpected Error”, with GF support providing the additional guidance.

The objective of the architectural elevation was either to score or engrave, depending on which provided the quickest and cleanest results, as well as cut the major openings (doors/windows). My default programs are CAD and BIM software packages, and as @jbmanning5 and @rbtdanforth have suggested, a raster may be the most efficient solution if I can determine how to quickly include the cut openings. It might take longer, but it would be machine time.

That said, the score option suggested by @jbmanning5 produces good results. The draft setting is all that’s required at this scale, as the lines are very close together, providing a fairly dark field of line work (a raster may be able to provide even lighter lines). The issue with this method is the labor for prep on the front end. The hatch patterns in the example SVG were generated by Revit, exported to AutoCAD (.dwg), imported to Illustrator, and finally object>compound path>make. There are always extra lines/objects to clean up at each step of the process.

Because i can hide foreground objects as I wish in Revit, for an architectural model, all i’d need to do is plot to PDF, do the post in Photoshop and upload to GF. It sounds so simple… so this is where i go next…

Thanks to all, I’ll keep you posted

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Thanks for the help, everyone! Since this question is outside our team’s scope. I’ve moved it to the Beyond the Manual so the discussion can continue there.