To really understand this, read Pat's ReadMe: http://www.pdcarto.c...on/csreadme.txt
Better yet, download and try it: http://www.pdcarto.com/freehand.html
I'll see if Support has a copy of FreeHand still installed (I suspect they do for support calls) and if so I'll download it and give it a whirl.
If I understand the description, it sounds like Smooth has zero impact on the vertex count. So if a line has 403 vertices before, it'll have 403 after -- they will simply be bezier vertices now? I'm playing around with the idea on paper just drawing things by hand and I can see how that might function; definitely interesting.
We used to have a 'Spline Lines' filter in MAPublisher, but frankly the code was mystifying. We couldn't find anyone who used it so we pulled it a while back -- certainly no one complained, which kind of lent weight to the decision. I wonder now if it wasn't doing something like this. I don't think so -- if I had to guess I'd say it was a glorified wrapper around Illustrator's Simplify with 100% curve precision & 0% curve threshold -- but it would be interesting to know.
I'd have to go over the algorithm as described in Pat's detailed description, but I don't see why something like that couldn't work in Illustrator. Certainly they both handle paths the same. We've toyed with several 'smooth' operations before and never really found any that overjoyed us -- mostly they were about point elimination though. I know we have one in our labeling engine for running labels along paths (which might have jagged sections you'd rather not see replicated in the label!) but again, that's definitely using point elimination. A more subtle one that simply 'splined' existing lines within constraints would be a different approach.
If I asked our cartographers about this, what kind of places do you find this handy? Is it to give 'rough' paths a softer feel, without losing detail? Certain kinds of features, like rivers or roads?