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Advanced Divide and Unite


Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

with Deke McClelland

Video: Advanced Divide and Unite

In this exercise we're going to bring together all of the learning we've done so far inside of this project file and apply it to the task of assembling this B here. This letter B in the word Boo. I have gone ahead and saved my progress as Challenge of the If you're still working inside that original file, stick with it by all means. We want to take these rounded rectangles and these partial shapes and combine them into a single B, which we can see here inside the final finished Ghost file. So that you can see that we've got a B with a larger hole downstairs and upstairs.
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  1. 28m 41s
    1. Welcome
      1m 7s
    2. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      8m 59s
    3. Resetting the Function keys on a Mac
      4m 47s
    4. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 20s
    5. Loading the CS4 color settings in Illustrator
      6m 3s
    6. Loading the CS4 color settings in Bridge CS4
      3m 25s
  2. 1h 53m
    1. From the simple emerges the complex
    2. Introducing Pathfinder operations
      4m 17s
    3. Editing a compound shape
      4m 39s
    4. Adding to a compound shape
      3m 11s
    5. Inserting a subpath into a compound shape
      3m 56s
    6. Expanding a compound shape
      4m 53s
    7. Assembling primitives
      4m 42s
    8. Preparing a template in Photoshop
      7m 0s
    9. Uniting paths permanently
      5m 40s
    10. Minus Front vs. Minus Back
      1m 55s
    11. Working with compound paths
      6m 49s
    12. When in doubt, divide
      3m 54s
    13. Divide and Unite
      3m 2s
    14. Open path pitfalls
      5m 35s
    15. Strokes bad, fills good
      4m 38s
    16. Advanced Divide and Unite
      8m 59s
    17. Using the Crop operation
      8m 30s
    18. Expert Divide and Unite
      8m 45s
    19. "Ghosting" shapes with Fill Opacity
      6m 45s
    20. Anticipating and troubleshooting
      8m 16s
    21. Exclude and Intersect
      7m 24s
  3. 44m 59s
    1. Familiar one moment, different the next
      1m 3s
    2. Snapping to anchor points
      5m 41s
    3. Aligning a group to the artboard
      3m 34s
    4. Distributing objects on the artboard
      4m 16s
    5. Setting the key object
      4m 54s
    6. Distributing objects by space
      3m 6s
    7. Distributing objects by selections
      3m 19s
    8. Aligning point text
      6m 7s
    9. Aligning live text vs. using outlines
      4m 58s
    10. Aligning key letters
      3m 35s
    11. Aligning to key objects
      4m 26s
  4. 1h 4m
    1. CS4’s gradient renaissance
      1m 7s
    2. Applying a gradient
      6m 0s
    3. Dragging and dropping color swatches
      2m 55s
    4. Using the Gradient palette
      6m 27s
    5. Designing a shaded gradient
      5m 9s
    6. Saving a gradient swatch and adding a texture
      4m 2s
    7. Introducing the new Gradient tool
      4m 39s
    8. Editing color stops inside a shape
      3m 26s
    9. Setting multiple gradients to the same angle
      5m 0s
    10. Adding and adjusting radial gradients
      7m 20s
    11. Making a transparent gradient
      7m 6s
    12. Adding drop shadows (a kind of gradient)
      6m 28s
    13. Blends vs. blend modes
      4m 38s
  5. 1h 17m
    1. Creating freeform color flows
      1m 0s
    2. The power of CS4's transparent gradients
      10m 25s
    3. Creating a gradient mesh
      4m 30s
    4. Expanding a gradient to a gradient mesh
      7m 40s
    5. Adding and deleting rows and columns
      6m 13s
    6. Selecting and coloring points
      6m 5s
    7. Assigning colors with the Eyedropper tool
      7m 42s
    8. Cool mesh editing techniques
      3m 56s
    9. Warping and puckering a mesh
      7m 24s
    10. Applying precise finishing touches
      5m 48s
    11. Gradient strokes
      9m 45s
    12. Gradient text
      6m 50s
  6. 55m 35s
    1. The first of the dynamic functions
      1m 4s
    2. Making a blend automatically
      5m 48s
    3. Fixing problem blends
      3m 56s
    4. Making a blend with the Blend tool
      3m 6s
    5. Cloning and coloring a blended path
      4m 37s
    6. Creating a mask
      3m 53s
    7. Blending between translucent shapes
      5m 30s
    8. Blending along a curve
      4m 34s
    9. Adjusting the speed of a blend
      2m 58s
    10. Filling and stroking a mask
      4m 36s
    11. Creating a compound clipping mask
      6m 3s
    12. Nesting one clipping mask inside another
      6m 7s
    13. Ghosting nested masks and blends
      3m 23s
  7. 1h 13m
    1. Patterns that repeat forever and ever
    2. Introducing tile patterns
      6m 36s
    3. Beginning a core design
      5m 6s
    4. Building an interlocking element
      6m 25s
    5. Achieving precise radial symmetry
      4m 46s
    6. Rotating duplicates around a common center
      3m 10s
    7. Determining how a pattern repeats
      9m 54s
    8. Coloring the core objects
      5m 0s
    9. Identifying the rectangular tile
      7m 14s
    10. Saving tile patterns
      7m 19s
    11. Applying tile patterns to a shape
      3m 25s
    12. Protecting patterns from transformations
      7m 36s
    13. Moving patterns without paths
      5m 51s
  8. 1h 19m
    1. Illustrator gets natural
      1m 15s
    2. Introducing the vector painting tools
      3m 16s
    3. Calligraphic brush options
      4m 3s
    4. Pressure sensitivity
      5m 17s
    5. Editing a calligraphic brush
      5m 53s
    6. Repainting and smoothing paths
      5m 30s
    7. Making the paintbrush behave
      6m 16s
    8. Erasing stroked paths
      3m 17s
    9. Painting with the new Blob brush
      6m 24s
    10. Refining filled paths with the Eraser
      4m 14s
    11. Painting independent paths
      3m 53s
    12. The Selection Limits Merge options
      3m 20s
    13. Applying and scaling an art brush
      6m 23s
    14. Snipping a brushed path
      4m 55s
    15. Colorizing an art brush
      4m 9s
    16. Heaping a stroke on an art brush effect
      4m 32s
    17. Creating a custom art brush
      6m 51s
  9. 1h 44m
    1. The computer art world’s dynamic duo
      1m 7s
    2. Copying and pasting pixels from Photoshop
      7m 21s
    3. Linking is efficient, embedding is not
      2m 47s
    4. Editing an image in Illustrator
      7m 30s
    5. Filtering an image in Photoshop
      6m 34s
    6. Adding a filter mask in Photoshop
      6m 25s
    7. Masking a woman from the background
      3m 49s
    8. Creating a sepia effect
      6m 37s
    9. Adding a second gradient map layer
      2m 13s
    10. Achieving a graphic effect with Levels
      8m 10s
    11. Preparing an image for use in Illustrator
      5m 46s
    12. The importance of image resolution
      9m 40s
    13. Placing and linking images
      4m 43s
    14. Managing linked images
      6m 18s
    15. Integrating an image into a design
      5m 12s
    16. A better way to wrap text
      7m 28s
    17. Previewing the trim size
      4m 25s
    18. Layer comps and editable text
      8m 42s
  10. 2h 11m
    1. Transparency is safe and fun
      1m 27s
    2. Introducing the translucent composition
      4m 39s
    3. Assigning opacity to an Appearance attribute
      3m 41s
    4. Creating a knockout group
      5m 7s
    5. Defining an opacity mask
      7m 15s
    6. Using the Clip checkbox
      2m 41s
    7. Opacity mask tips and tricks
      3m 20s
    8. The Multiply blend mode
      6m 8s
    9. Adding to an existing opacity mask
      7m 53s
    10. Blending between parallel groups
      7m 27s
    11. Creating a gradient opacity mask
      4m 54s
    12. Employing an opposing gradient mask
      7m 57s
    13. Combining Multiply and Screen
      3m 49s
    14. Blend mode roundup
      5m 24s
    15. Mixing blend modes inside a single path
      3m 48s
    16. Blend mode and transparent gradient
      3m 49s
    17. Masking an entire layer
      7m 0s
    18. Combining Screen with 100K Black
      7m 43s
    19. Knocking out a drop shadow
      5m 18s
    20. But will it print?
      3m 8s
    21. Working with the Flattener preview
      8m 44s
    22. Rasterizing an illustration in Photoshop
      9m 16s
    23. Super-rich blacks and raster effects
      3m 35s
    24. Exporting TIFF artwork from Illustrator
      7m 48s
  11. 58s
    1. Until next time

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Watch the Online Video Course Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced
12h 54m Intermediate Jul 09, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Knowing the fundamentals of drawing and reshaping paths is only part of the story. In Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, the second of the popular One-on-One series, computer graphics expert Deke McClelland covers some of Illustrator's most powerful and least understood features. He shows how to merge simple shapes to create complex ones with the Pathfinder palette, as well as align paths to create schematic illustrations. Deke explains how to paint fluid, multicolor fills with blends, and the new and improved gradient tool. He explores seamlessly repeating tile patterns, blobs and brushes, and imported images. He also dives into one of the deepest features in all of Illustrator, transparency. Exercise files accompany the tutorial.

Recommended prerequisite: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals.

Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Illustrator from the Exercise Files tab.

Topics include:
  • Working with compound shapes in the Pathfinder palette
  • Ghosting shapes with Fill Opacity
  • Understanding gradients and the gradient tools
  • Cloning and coloring a blended path
  • Saving tile patterns and applying them to a shape
  • Importing and linking images from other applications
Deke McClelland

Advanced Divide and Unite

In this exercise we're going to bring together all of the learning we've done so far inside of this project file and apply it to the task of assembling this B here. This letter B in the word Boo. I have gone ahead and saved my progress as Challenge of the If you're still working inside that original file, stick with it by all means. We want to take these rounded rectangles and these partial shapes and combine them into a single B, which we can see here inside the final finished Ghost file. So that you can see that we've got a B with a larger hole downstairs and upstairs.

We also have this thick edge on right and this thick partial edge over here on the left-hand side. All right, I'm going to press Ctrl+Tab or Command+Tilde on the Mac in order to switch to the Challenge of the file right here. How do we combine all of the shapes together in order to create the B that we're looking for? Well, we're going to work through the stuff that we've learned so far. We're going to start with "strokes are bad, fills are good." So I'm going to Marquee all these shapes, with the Black Arrow tool, and make sure that I have all of them selected. In all, I believe we've got four different paths. This right edge, this inner edge of the larger hole downstairs, the central rounded rectangle, and then this left edge as well.

So those are the four paths that we're working with. Make sure that the Talk Balloon is not selected, as it is not in my case. Go up to the Object menu, choose Path and then choose Outline Stroke or if you've loaded dekeKeys, you have got my keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Backslash or Command+Backslash on the Mac. Now, you've got a series of filled shapes. So that's step one. Step two is to roughly approximate the final appearance of this letter in this case. I'm going to do that by bringing this guy right here to front. What we don't want is this area right there. That's going to all go away because this is all hole right there.

So I'm going to click off the paths in order to deselect them. Then I'm going to move my Arrow Cursor around until I get that little black square right there that tells me I've got something under my cursor. For those of you who are just joining us, who did not watch any of the fundamentals portion of this series, I want you to change this setting. This is very, very important. Press Ctrl+K or Command+K on the Mac to bring up the Preferences dialog box. Click Next in order to switch to the next panel of options. Then there's this check box right there called Object Selection by Path Only. By default, it's off. I want you to turn it on. That way, you can select through Shapes in Illustrator, very useful when working inside of complex illustrations.

So turn it on, click OK, then move your cursor around until you see that black square that tells you there's a path outline right there. Click in order to select the whole thing and then press Ctrl+Shift+Right bracket or Command+Shift+Right bracket on the Mac to bring it to front. Now, we've got the approximate appearance that we're going for. We've got a hole upstairs. We've got the hole that will look better than this downstairs. We've got the thick right edge. We've got the thick left edge. Good, all right. Now what we need to do is we need to apply that classic divide and unite combo.

So we'll start with Divide of course. This is step three. Go ahead and Marquee your stuff there, like so. Make sure that the Talk Balloon is not selected. Then go over to the Pathfinder palette and click on Divide. Now you have divided everything. It doesn't look different. We've learned that in the past that's okay. We've come to expect that from Illustrator. Now, let's go ahead and zoom in. Now that we've divided all these intersecting paths apart from each other, we need to get rid of this junk down here that's interfering with our ability to express a hole in the downstairs region of the B because after all, you have gone ahead and grouped these shapes together now by virtue of the fact that you apply the Divide operation.

So get your White Arrow tool. This is step four by the way. Let's go ahead and click off the shapes in order to deselect them. Then Alt+Drag or Option+Drag around this region right here in order to select these shapes whatever they may be, and then press the Backspace key, or the Delete key on the Mac in order to delete them. So we end up with this weird sliver sort of going into the B. That doesn't concern us in the slightest. What does is that we've got this weird thing still left over down there. We don't want that. So go ahead and Alt or Option+Drag around it, and press the Backspace key if you're having that problem, you may or may not.

Then I'll Alt or Option+Drag around this region like so, not too far in. I don't want to go that far in because that selects some stuff we want to keep, just this far in about there in order to select these various paths and press the Backspace key or the Delete key on a Mac in order to get rid of them. Now, I've got some weird sort of blue artifacting on screen here. I'm not sure if those are real things, they don't seem to be. When I hover over them, notice that forces a refresh and makes them go away. So I just want to make sure that we're getting rid of the bad stuff. Looks good to me. All right, so step four successfully completed.

Let's go back to the Black Arrow tool. Just click anywhere on anyone of the paths because they're all grouped together. Then go over to the Pathfinder palette. Step five is to click on the Unite option in order to unite all of those paths together. Now, something went wrong. We've gotten the hole downstairs, but we lost the hole upstairs. Why is that? Well, step six is to figure it out. Press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac in order to undo that operation right there. I'm going to click off the shapes in order to deselect them. I'll go back to the White Arrow tool and I'm going to Alt or Option-click on this outline right there in order to select it.

Now, let's move that over just to see if there's something else going on here. I'll Alt or Option+Drag right there. Sure enough, I've got a path. It's not filled or stroked but it still got taken into consideration because it's a closed path, Illustrator is deciding that it is something that needs to be united with everything else, and so it becomes part of the big united object. So let's go ahead and undo the movement of that stuff that we want to keep there by pressing Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac. What I'm going to do is I'm going to click off the shape for a moment to deselect it, Alt-click or Option-click. No, the frame I'm trying to select is in back of this, so that's no good.

So I'll go ahead and Alt or Option+ Marquee this region right there. Got the Alt or Option key down, it's very important. And then Shift+Alt or Shift+Option-click on that shape in order to deselect it. Now, I've got just this area selected, just this bad path. And I'll press the Backspace key or the Delete key to get rid of it. Now step seven. Now that we've solved the problem hopefully, knock on wood. Let's go back to the Black Arrow tool, click on anyone of the paths to select everything. Then let's go back to Unite and see how things fair.

So I'll click on the Unite icon, things are looking great. So now let's go ahead and make this B into a full- fledged letter by pressing the I key to get the Eyedropper and then I'll click on this neighboring O right here. We're pretty zoomed-in. So you can't see the entire O, but that's what it is, in order to lift its Fill and Stroke attributes and everything is looking totally great actually at this point right here. Now, if you happen to see any weird problems like if you zoom in on this edge, you may notice some sort of weird little fissures that are happening down here.

What you can do is you can drag with the White Arrow tool. Don't drag around this point. Notice I'm careful to avoid this point right there because it is the extreme end of this curved edge right there. We need to keep that curve. So I want to go ahead and start things at this location there. This is a point that we don't need to keep anymore. I'm dragging over to about here actually is good enough because we want to keep this anchor point that's right there. It looks like a keeper to me. I'll just Marquee around these three points. I'm not pressing the Alt or Option key by the way. I'm just marqueeing in order to select those three points.

Then I'll press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac to get rid of them and then press Ctrl+J or Command+ J on the Mac in order to fuse these two end points. What were formally end points just now with a straight segment. Then we want to repeat that same operation down here because I do have a little bit of a divot at that location there. So I'm going to click on that path just to see where the points are and I'll Marquee around these points right here, the bad points in order to select them. Press the Backspace key in order to get rid of them. That would be Delete on the Mac and then press Ctrl+J or Command+J on the Mac to connect those end points with a straight segment. And we have it. That's it folks.

You might say, well, gosh! Was that, that much easier than just drawing this path outline with the Pen tool? Yes, way easier. Even though that's pretty hard, what we saw was a pretty complicated combination of Pathfinder operations. It was still easier than hand drawing because we are able to achieve exacting effects here. We're able to take advantage of the geometric accuracy of the Rounded Rectangle tool, so that we get nice straight edges and nice curvature as well. Nice even and consistent curvature, which is something that you can maintain with the Geometric Shape tools. That's very difficult to maintain with something like the Pen tool.

In the next exercise, it may seem like we've seen everything where Pathfinder operations are concerned but we're going to see more, much more coming up soon.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced .

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Q: In the lesson on pressure sensitivity, exactly what kind of Wacom tablet is the instructor using?
A: The instructor is using a Wacom Intuos 3 tablet
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