Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Creating compound paths

From: Illustrator CS5 Essential Training

Video: Creating compound paths

You know that you can create shapes inside of Illustrator, things like ellipses, circles, rectangles, squares, so on and so forth, and these are all objects that are made up of single path. However, there is a concept in Illustrator, something called a compound path, which is a single path, but that single path is made up of multiple paths inside of it. The main use for creating a compound path is for when you want to chop out or punch out a hole inside of your shape. Let's take a look at an example of this and how to work with these compound paths.

Creating compound paths

You know that you can create shapes inside of Illustrator, things like ellipses, circles, rectangles, squares, so on and so forth, and these are all objects that are made up of single path. However, there is a concept in Illustrator, something called a compound path, which is a single path, but that single path is made up of multiple paths inside of it. The main use for creating a compound path is for when you want to chop out or punch out a hole inside of your shape. Let's take a look at an example of this and how to work with these compound paths.

So in this file right here, I am just going to zoom in closer to this photograph here, and I am going to take my Ellipse tool here and hold down the Shift key while drawing to create a nice perfect circle here. I hit the D key for the default settings. Now just a single one point black stroke with a white fill, very simple here, and I want to now create a second circle and I want to be able to basically see through a part of this bigger circle. So what I am going to do is I am going to hold down the Shift key once again and create another circle, just about right over here. I want this area right here should actually appear hollow, so I could see through to the photograph that appears beneath.

So to do that, I am first going to switch to my Selection tool. I already have now this circle selected. I am going to hold down the Shift key. I am going to click on this circle, so now both of the circles are selected. I have two paths currently selected, and I am now going to choose to turn this into a compound path, meaning take two paths and turn them into one path. So I am going to go to the Object menu here. I am going to choose Compound Path > Make. The keyboard shortcut for this is Command+8 on Mac or Ctrl+8 on Windows.

Now you can see that I've effectively taken that second smaller circle and I've punched it out of the original larger circle so I can now see directly through the shape to the objects or the artwork that appears beneath it. So again, my result here is now one path. Just to show you right now, I'm going to take my stroke value, which is now 1 point. I am going to change that to something like 5 points and you will see that that applies now to both of the circles, because right now this acts as one shape.

It's one object that I have selected, something called the compound path. But that compound path is made up of multiple paths inside of it and those multiple paths determine which parts of the objects are visible and which parts are invisible. Now it's important to realize that compound paths can be made up of more than just two shapes. I'm going to press Undo two times. Now I'm back to just having two paths here. I am going to draw a few more circles So I will draw let's say smaller one here, maybe a medium-size one here.

Something like that. Now I am going to basically switch to my regular Selection tool. I am going to hold down the Shift key and select all these five different circles. So I now have five circles selected. Now once again I am going to choose Object, I am going to choose Compound Path > Make, and now I have been able to basically cut holes out through many parts of that one overall circle. Now, how do compound paths actually work? Well, the reality is that Illustrator looks at all these paths and determines the direction that those paths travel in.

We don't really think about it, but normally whenever I create any kind of a path inside Illustrator that path travels in a certain direction. So just to give you a basic idea, if I draw a circle right here and for example let's say this is my starting point of my circle, my path basically starts here and then travels in this direction all the way across the path back to here. So you can see that right now my path is traveling in a clockwise direction. Now let's say I draw another circle right here and just for purposes of illustration here, I am going to draw a line right through the middle here.

This line doesn't really exist, but I want you in your imagination to imagine as if there were some kind of a line there. Now if I were to start over here with this part of my path and start traveling in one direction, I am now traveling in a clockwise direction. So I come all the way around here, but then at this point of the path I cut towards the inside of this path, and now I am going to start going in a counterclockwise direction. I come here, I go back into line, and you can see I am returning back to a clockwise direction. So what happens when Illustrator creates a compound path is that it looks at the direction that those paths are traveling in.

Anything that travels in a clockwise direction remains visible, but any part of my object or any part of the path that travels in a counterclockwise direction becomes invisible on the object. You can actually control this very easily inside of Illustrator. I am just going to delete these objects right here and let's return back to this example. I am going to use my Direct Selection tool to now click on just this circle right here. This part of the path. I am now going to go to the Window menu. I am going to open up a panel called the Attributes panel.

Inside of the Attributes panel, if I completely expand it so that I can see all of it right here, there is a setting here whenever I have a compound path selected that allows me to reverse the path direction. So right now, it says Reverse Path Direction is on. That makes this part of this object invisible. But if I wanted to turn the Reverse Path Direction off, notice now that circle is now visible, because both the outer path and this path are now traveling in the same direction.

So you can see how compound paths work inside of Illustrator and in reality compound paths are used mainly inside of fonts. For example, the uppercase A has a hole that is kind of cut out from the middle of it. Same thing for lowercased E or the letter O, for example. All those are created using compound paths.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS5 Essential Training
Illustrator CS5 Essential Training

126 video lessons · 82043 viewers

Mordy Golding
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 3m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 18s
    2. What is Illustrator CS5?
      1m 46s
    3. Using the exercise files
      31s
  2. 12m 37s
    1. What are vector graphics?
      6m 3s
    2. Path and appearance
      3m 42s
    3. Stacking
      2m 52s
  3. 32m 6s
    1. The Welcome screen
      2m 23s
    2. Creating files for print
      6m 7s
    3. Creating files for the screen
      2m 55s
    4. Using prebuilt templates
      2m 40s
    5. Adding XMP metadata
      4m 18s
    6. Exploring the panels
      6m 33s
    7. Using the Control panel
      3m 11s
    8. Using workspaces
      3m 59s
  4. 43m 44s
    1. Navigating within a document
      9m 15s
    2. Using rulers and guides
      7m 26s
    3. Using grids
      3m 6s
    4. Using the bounding box
      3m 37s
    5. Using Smart Guides
      5m 56s
    6. The Hide Edges command
      3m 22s
    7. Various preview modes
      3m 47s
    8. Creating custom views
      4m 3s
    9. Locking and hiding artwork
      3m 12s
  5. 28m 46s
    1. Using the basic selection tools
      8m 50s
    2. Using the Magic Wand tool
      5m 22s
    3. Using the Lasso tool
      2m 28s
    4. Selecting objects by attribute or type
      3m 37s
    5. Saving and reusing selections
      2m 15s
    6. Selecting artwork beneath other objects
      2m 13s
    7. Exploring selection preferences
      4m 1s
  6. 1h 16m
    1. The importance of modifier keys
      1m 52s
    2. Drawing closed path primitives
      11m 38s
    3. Drawing open path primitives
      5m 47s
    4. Understanding anchor points
      3m 43s
    5. Drawing straight paths with the Pen tool
      7m 37s
    6. Drawing curved paths with the Pen tool
      9m 47s
    7. Drawing freeform paths with the Pencil tool
      5m 33s
    8. Smoothing and erasing paths
      3m 8s
    9. Editing anchor points
      7m 21s
    10. Joining and averaging paths
      10m 9s
    11. Simplifying paths
      4m 55s
    12. Using Offset Path
      2m 17s
    13. Cleaning up errant paths
      2m 32s
  7. 48m 26s
    1. The Draw Inside and Draw Behind modes
      7m 34s
    2. Creating compound paths
      5m 56s
    3. Creating compound shapes
      8m 0s
    4. Using the Shape Builder tool
      10m 28s
    5. Using Pathfinder functions
      8m 6s
    6. Splitting an object into a grid
      1m 16s
    7. Using the Blob Brush and Eraser tools
      7m 6s
  8. 49m 5s
    1. Creating point text
      4m 2s
    2. Creating area text
      8m 13s
    3. Applying basic character settings
      7m 44s
    4. Applying basic paragraph settings
      4m 28s
    5. Creating text threads
      8m 25s
    6. Setting text along an open path
      6m 29s
    7. Setting text along a closed path
      6m 24s
    8. Converting text into paths
      3m 20s
  9. 18m 55s
    1. Create a logo mark
      11m 26s
    2. Add type to your logo
      7m 29s
  10. 42m 42s
    1. Using the Appearance panel
      8m 21s
    2. Targeting object attributes
      4m 42s
    3. Adding multiple attributes
      4m 25s
    4. Applying Live Effects
      5m 18s
    5. Expanding appearances
      4m 42s
    6. Appearance panel settings
      4m 33s
    7. Copying appearances
      4m 51s
    8. Saving appearances as graphic styles
      5m 50s
  11. 34m 0s
    1. Applying color to artwork
      5m 57s
    2. Creating process and global process swatches
      8m 54s
    3. Creating spot color swatches
      3m 19s
    4. Loading PANTONE and other custom color libraries
      4m 49s
    5. Organizing colors with Swatch Groups
      3m 31s
    6. Finding color suggestions with the Color Guide panel
      4m 24s
    7. Loading the Color Guide with user-defined colors
      3m 6s
  12. 50m 23s
    1. Creating gradients with the Gradient panel
      8m 12s
    2. Modifying gradients with the Gradient Annotator
      4m 37s
    3. Applying and manipulating pattern fills
      5m 33s
    4. Defining your own custom pattern fills
      9m 13s
    5. Applying basic stroke settings
      5m 22s
    6. Creating strokes with dashed lines
      3m 41s
    7. Adding arrowheads to strokes
      2m 45s
    8. Creating variable-width strokes
      4m 35s
    9. Working with width profiles
      2m 36s
    10. Turning strokes into filled paths
      3m 49s
  13. 32m 46s
    1. Creating and editing groups
      8m 18s
    2. Adding attributes to groups
      12m 17s
    3. The importance of using layers
      5m 9s
    4. Using and "reading" the Layers panel
      7m 2s
  14. 12m 13s
    1. Creating and using multiple artboards
      7m 52s
    2. Modifying artboards with the Artboards panel
      2m 2s
    3. Copy and paste options with Artboards
      2m 19s
  15. 31m 10s
    1. Moving and copying artwork
      3m 55s
    2. Scaling or resizing artwork
      6m 47s
    3. Rotating artwork
      2m 44s
    4. Reflecting and skewing artwork
      2m 34s
    5. Using the Free Transform tool
      2m 15s
    6. Repeating transformations
      3m 39s
    7. Performing individual transforms across multiple objects
      2m 10s
    8. Aligning objects and groups precisely
      4m 27s
    9. Distributing objects and spaces between objects
      2m 39s
  16. 35m 40s
    1. Placing pixel-based content into Illustrator
      5m 14s
    2. Managing images with the Links panel
      4m 49s
    3. Converting pixels to paths with Live Trace
      8m 44s
    4. Making Live Trace adjustments
      6m 9s
    5. Controlling colors in Live Trace
      6m 4s
    6. Using Photoshop and Live Trace together
      4m 40s
  17. 14m 42s
    1. Managing repeating artwork with symbols
      4m 38s
    2. Modifying and replacing symbol instances
      3m 8s
    3. Using the Symbol Sprayer tool
      6m 56s
  18. 16m 57s
    1. Cropping photographs
      1m 59s
    2. Clipping artwork with masks
      3m 22s
    3. Clipping the contents of a layer
      3m 31s
    4. Defining masks with soft edges
      8m 5s
  19. 26m 2s
    1. Defining a perspective grid
      7m 48s
    2. Drawing artwork in perspective
      8m 46s
    3. Moving flat art onto the perspective grid
      9m 28s
  20. 25m 8s
    1. Printing your Illustrator document
      3m 26s
    2. Saving your Illustrator document
      6m 39s
    3. Creating PDF files for clients and printers
      7m 30s
    4. Exporting Illustrator files for use in Microsoft Office
      1m 4s
    5. Exporting Illustrator files for use in Photoshop
      2m 31s
    6. Exporting artwork for use on the web
      3m 3s
    7. Exporting high-resolution raster files
      55s
  21. 2m 18s
    1. Additional Illustrator learning resources
      1m 36s
    2. Goodbye
      42s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now "Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Illustrator CS5 Essential Training.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.