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Expanding a compound shape

From: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Expanding a compound shape

In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to expand a Compound Shape into its various independent path outlines. I've gone ahead and saved my progress as Luke Submarine.ai. Why Luke Submarine? Because quite obviously, based on a silhouette here, Ringo Starr has become Luke Skywalker and we've Jabba the Walrus in the background. Thank you very much. So what we're going to do is I'm going to go ahead and click on the larger Compound Shape in order to select the entire thing here with the Black Arrow tool. I want to go ahead and move Ringo independently of everybody else. So I'm going to meatball Ringo right here inside of the Layers palette and then I'm going to drag Ringo to a different location and what I'm trying to do here is stress the fact that we've this dynamic interaction between Ringo and the Submarine and same for that matter where the Fin and the Submarine are concerned. And of course you could get both Ringo and the Fin operating on the Submarine at the same time in certain regions of the illustration, if you want.

Expanding a compound shape

In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to expand a Compound Shape into its various independent path outlines. I've gone ahead and saved my progress as Luke Submarine.ai. Why Luke Submarine? Because quite obviously, based on a silhouette here, Ringo Starr has become Luke Skywalker and we've Jabba the Walrus in the background. Thank you very much. So what we're going to do is I'm going to go ahead and click on the larger Compound Shape in order to select the entire thing here with the Black Arrow tool. I want to go ahead and move Ringo independently of everybody else. So I'm going to meatball Ringo right here inside of the Layers palette and then I'm going to drag Ringo to a different location and what I'm trying to do here is stress the fact that we've this dynamic interaction between Ringo and the Submarine and same for that matter where the Fin and the Submarine are concerned. And of course you could get both Ringo and the Fin operating on the Submarine at the same time in certain regions of the illustration, if you want.

I'm just going to move them off to the side, a little bit like so. Then I'm going to click on some portion of the larger Submarine in order to select the entire Compound Shape here with the Black Arrow tool or I could meatball the Compound Shape, if I wanted to do here inside the Layer palette. Then you go to the Pathfinder palette and you click on this button right there, Expand, which is going to expand the Compound Shape into its independent path outlines. Now I want you to notice what's going to happen here inside the Layer palette. Notice that we have this item that's called Compound Shape. It doesn't have any brackets around it and you can twirl it open.

Now if I click on Expand, that item is going to change to Compound Path with little braces around it, whatever those things are called, the lesser than and greater than signs. And we're not able to twirl this item open anymore and we do have what is known as a Compound Path inside of Illustrator. Now, Compound paths are more old school. They do permit a certain amount of dynamic modification as we'll see in future exercises. But ultimately, especially when we're expanding from a Compound Shape, ultimately you're getting static results.

So we're actually getting anchor points at the intersection of the location of our previous subpaths. We no longer have our previous subpaths. So Ringo's head has disappeared and his feet have disappeared as well and we have what are essentially independent paths. Now to get to those independent paths, you can no longer select them by meatballing them here inside the Layers palette, because you don't have access to them anymore. You have to either get your White Arrow tool and then click off of the larger Submarine and then say Alt-click or Option-click on this rudder right here and then you could move it to a different location, like so and by virtue of the fact that I Alt -clicked or Option-clicked on it, I selected the entire subpath. I'll go ahead and undo the movement of that rudder.

Another way to work is to get your Black Arrow tool and double-click on some portion of this Submarine path in order it isolate it from the rest of illustration and now you can get to the independent pieces here by dragging with the Black Arrow tool. Or there is one more thing you can do. I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on a Mac a couple of times. Press the Escape key in order to exit the Isolation mode right there. You can also break the Compound Path into its various subpaths so that you can have independent access to each one of these new paths here.

By clicking on the item in order to select the whole thing and then right click somewhere inside the illustration window and choose this command right there, Release Compound Path and I'm just going to tell you, it's got a keyboard shortcut, in case you're interested. It's Ctrl+Shift+Alt+8. Isn't that memorable? As Command+Shift+Option+8 on the Mac and if you think about it, then 8 is the ultimate Compound Path, because it's a couple of lumps. It's like a snowman with two holes cut out, one at the top and one at the bottom. So that's why 8, in case you're curious.

Anyway, choose the command and now notice that our Compound path has gone and we now have four new paths all of which are named Path. And each of those represents some intersection of paths from the original compound shape. So for example, this last Path right here is the wedge between Ringo's legs. Anyway, now if I click off of a path in order to deselect the whole thing and click even using the Black Arrow tool outside the isolation tool. Click on any one of these subpath outlines with the Black Arrow tool. I select just that one path and I can move it to a different location, like so.

So we have completely independent control of each one of these fragmented path outlines here inside of Illustrator. Now you may wonder at this point, okay, we've got Compounds Shapes, we've got Compound Paths, we've Independent Paths. Oh, my goodness! How do I put all of this to practical use? I'm going to show you exactly how Pathfinder operations can become, not only practical, but incredibly powerful as well beginning in the next exercise.

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This video is part of

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Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

149 video lessons · 21515 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
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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
      42s
    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
      51s
    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
      58s

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