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In addition to working with compound paths here inside of Illustrator, we can also work with compound shapes as well. In this movie, I'll be exploring the Pathfinder panel Shape Modes in order to give you a better understanding of how they work, and how you can use them in your workflow. The first thing I am going to do is draw two simple circles. We'll get to this artwork on my artboard in just a minute. I am going to take the Ellipse tool and I am just going to draw out a circle here, and I'll draw out a circle like that. And I am going to give both of them a blue color, and set that as their Stroke.
That way you can see everything that's going on. With those two circles selected, I am then going to go into the Pathfinder. Let's zoom in on this artwork just a little bit, so we get a better understanding. Once we have the shapes zoomed in, and we've got them both selected, I am going to utilize the Shape Modes here at the top. The first one is called Unite. When I click on Unite, it unifies these into one single shape. If I undo that, they turn back into two normal shapes.
You can also choose to Minus Front. When I select this, you're going to notice that the object that was in front of the other object is subtracted, leaving the underlying object by itself. Again, I'll Command+Z or Control+Z to undo that. We also have an Intersect which is basically going to eliminate everything outside of the point where the two shapes intersect each other. And then finally, we have Exclude. If I click this, you are not going to see any visible change, necessarily, to the shapes.
However, if I were to reverse the fill and the stroke, you see now that I've left the middle of this empty, and if I were to drag this over, you could actually see this other shape coming through. It does that because it has actually removed the inner portion of those circles. Step back, and now let's take this, and delete it. I'll zoom back out of my artwork, and let's take a look at a real world example. So let's say that I am creating a logo with the R inside this circle for the Roux Academy. Basically, what I need to do is make it so that this R shape is cut out of this circle.
Right now it looks as though it's cut out, but if I put something behind there, you are not going to be able to see through the R into the background. The R is simply filled with white, which is the same color as my artboard. So what I want to do is take both of these shapes, and make them a compound shape, so that they both act as one single shape. And I'll do that by selecting both of them, and then utilizing the Pathfinder panel. Let's take a look at the options that we have available to us. If I try Unite, it turns them into a circle. That's certainly not what I want to do.
So let's undo that, and let's take a look at Minus Front. Remember, Minus Front takes the front-most object, and subtracts it from the back-most object. If I click that, I think that gives me exactly what I'm looking for, because as you can see, this is now one unified shape, and it's all using the same fill color, whereas before, if I use Command+Z or Control+Z to undo, Illustrator was a little confused as to what fill or stroke was being applied here. That's because I had two separate objects selected, both with different fills.
But once I use the Minus Front feature, it automatically just tells me, well okay, the R actually no longer exists; it's now carved into the blue circle. So the Pathfinder has made it really easy for me to create this complex shape with very little effort. And now, if I take another shape, like let's say a rectangle, and I'll give it a red color, and I'll draw it, and then I'll go up to the Object menu, and choose Arrange, and I'll choose Send to Back.
When I do that you can see right through that R to the red square. If I move this, it's transparent all the way through it, and that's exactly what I wanted. So let's delete that red square, and I can continue working. So the next time you're trying to create a complex piece of artwork like the one that you see here, try utilizing some of the Shape Modes in the Pathfinder panel to see if it doesn't get you a little closer to where were trying to go.
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