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One of the best ways to create complex artwork inside of Illustrator is to create something known as a compound path, and in this movie, I'm going to be walking you through exactly how to do that, using some of the Pathfinder commands here inside of Illustrator. First thing I'm going to do is zoom in on a piece of artwork. So I'll just grab my Zoom tool, and zoom in on this artwork in the top left corner. Once I do that, I'm going to select both pieces of artwork. It's actually two separate pieces: a starburst, and then the flower pattern in the back. Then I'm going to go up to the Window menu, and I'm going to find the Pathfinder.
You can also bring that up by hitting Shift+Control, or Shift+Command, and the F9 key on your keyboard. Once I bring that up, I'll move it up here in the top right corner, so I can see it. I'm going to ignore the Shape Modes for a moment; we'll cover those in their own movie. For now, we're just worried about the Pathfinders. The first option inside the Pathfinder is called Divide, and Divide is one of those that's a lot easier to show than it is to explain. So let's go ahead and just click it, and see what happens. When I click it, you're not going to see a big visual change, but basically what's happened here is Illustrator has actually divided these elements into their own individual shapes.
So now, if I were to grab the Direct Selection tool, for instance, I could come in here, and I could grab individual pieces of this artwork, like you see here, or even these little spikes around the edges, and I could remove them individually. So I'll go around to all these little spikes, and maybe even this middle piece, and I can delete those. Once I delete them, you're going to see that the underlying flower shape is still there, but so are these shapes here.
If I were to change the color of these, and I'll do so by selecting them first, I'll grab the Direct Selection tool again, and just Shift+Click across all of them. I can then change the color to something like yellow, and you can see exactly what I've done. Basically I removed all of those other pieces, simply by pressing the Delete Key. Let me step back now. Let's get it back to a normal two path system. So there's my starburst, and then my flower behind it. I'll select both of them again, and let's take a look at the Trim command.
Basically what happens when you press Trim is Illustrator automatically removes the portion of the artwork that's hidden by the overlying object. So in this case, the starburst is actually hiding portions of the flower underneath it. So if I were to deselect this, and then go into Isolation mode by double-clicking, and selecting the starburst, I could remove the starburst, and you can see there that it has removed all the portions of the flower that were overlapped by the starburst, leaving a pretty good-looking design.
If I exit out of Isolation mode by double-clicking, you go right back out, and this is now one signal path. Let's undo a few times to get it back to normal. Now I'll select them again, and let's take a look at the next Pathfinder option. This one is called Merge, and it does exactly what you think it's going to do; it merges the top object with the bottom object, and turns them into one single path. This almost looks like a crazy butterfly or something; pretty neat. I'll undo that with Command+Z or Control+Z, and go back to there.
The next option is Crop, and Crop divides the artwork into component-filled faces, and then it deletes all of the parts of the artwork that fall outside the boundary of the topmost object. Now what does that mean in real English? Well, if I crop it, basically it removes everything that was overlapped, like you saw there, so I've cropped it in. Let me undo that, and you can see exactly what I did one more time; Undo. Basically it's keeping all of these areas that are inside that topmost object.
So crop; see, it keeps all these. It's ignored the flower on the outside, and also the areas where it overlapped here. Let's undo that, and let's take it to Outline mode. When I click Outline, it basically turns this into an outlined shape. If I click away from it, you can see everything is just in its own individual little outline. I'll undo that, and go back.
Finally, we have Minus Back, and Minus Back subtracts the piece of artwork in the back from the object in the front. So if I click this, you'll notice that the flower has actually been removed, and everything that's left from where the flower and the topmost object overlapped is being displayed. So let's undo that, and click away. Using the Pathfinder options can give you some really interesting looks, and for this particular case, I think that I would actually select this, and I would use something like the Trim command.
Once I had the Trim command done, I would just go in, and remove the starburst. Removing the starburst leaves me with this really cool pattern, which then I could put something in the middle, like maybe my logo element, or something like that. No matter what, using the Pathfinder tools is a great way to experiment with creating some really complex and neat looking shapes. Take some time to see exactly how they work, and then you'll be well on your way to creating more complex artwork here inside of Illustrator.
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