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As you begin to work with artwork inside of Adobe Illustrator, especially artwork that was created by other people, you may run into some problems that you need to remedy with the paths that were created. When I first started working with Illustrator, I ran into this problem a lot. As a matter of fact, I created this problem a lot, and so in this movie I'm going to show you how to take two separate paths and join them together, or average them together to create one single path. Basically what I'm talking about, if you focus on this area here inside the artwork that I have open, you'll notice that this leaf down here is actually comprised of two separate shapes, this one and this one.
They're both open ended paths though. I simply drew one half of the leaf here, and I drew one half of the leaf here in the arcing shapes. The line from here to here is actually created because of the open-ended shape. What I want to do is make sure that this turns into one of these, and in order to do that, I'm going to have to utilize the Join or the Average Command. So the first thing I need to do is determine which one of those in need to use. Well technically on this particular shape, I can use either one. Let's take a look at what they both do, so you can see exactly what to use in any given situation.
I'm going to first zoom in really close to the edge of this leaf. And you'll notice here at the end, I have two endpoints, and I can actually take these and make sure that they match up really close, like so. Once I get them really close, I can then use something called the Join Command and the Join Command is actually going to take both of these and join them into one single path. Now could I manipulate these anchor points individually and move them into the right space and then use something like the Pathfinder or Compound Shape to do this? Absolutely, I could.
But that takes a lot of time and as you know, we don't have a lot of time. So let's go ahead and see how we can do this quickly and easily by utilizing one of these cool commands. I'm going to grab the Direct Selection tool, and the first thing I'm going to do is draw a marquee selection around the ends of the shapes. I know there are only two endpoints here, because I drew the shapes. What you'll have to do is investigate your artwork and see exactly how many anchor points are at the point where you're trying to join. You have to work with two anchor points here and they have to be close together like you see here.
I'm going to go up to the Object menu, and I'm going to go down the Path. At the top of the Path menu you'll see Join, and you also see the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+J. So if you wanted to use the keyboard shortcut, as opposed to this command, you could simply hit Ctrl+J on your keyboard and you can do the exact same thing. Once I hit Join, you're going to notice that the line in between disappears. They become one unified point, and if I zoom out, and click away, I've pretty much created the shape that I wanted. However, the endpoints weren't exactly matched up.
So when I look at this, it joined them into this slanted-off ending. I don't like that at all. So let's go ahead and undo what I just did. So for this particular case, I don't believe that Join is going to be the right thing to do. So I'm going to click away and grab my Direct Selection tool again. This time I'm going to select the two endpoints here. Notice that these endpoints have a little bit of distance between them, they are not actually touching. So in this case I have to do something called Average. So I'm going to go to the Object menu and I'm going to choose Path and I'm going to choose Average.
When it pops up, it's going to ask you which Axis that you look at, in order to determine how to join these paths together. For this particular one, I'm going to choose Both and see what happens. When I hit OK, they snap right together into one path, and if I zoom out, you'll see here that it has completed the shape just like I wanted it to. If I click away and zoom back out, you can see that it looks just like all the others. Now there is somewhat of a seam down the middle, and we could fix that simply by creating a compound shape or merging these with the Pathfinder.
But I've essentially eliminated the problem that I had before, wherein I had two separate paths. Now I've one single path that I'm able to edit and manipulate just like the rest. So the next time you run into a problem like this, try the Join and Average Commands and see if they don't help you get where you need to go, just a little bit faster.
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