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Open path pitfalls

From: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Open path pitfalls

Now I'm the first guy to tell you that Pathfinder Operations absolutely rock but they only rock so long as you are working with closed paths. Once you start working with open path outlines, they don't rock so much, don't you know? So let me show you what I'm taking about. I have gone ahead and saved my progress as Time 2 Boo.ai. And what I mean by that is it's time to assemble the word Boo that the robot is saying to us. Boo, not only because it's trying to scare us but also because Boo is short for Boolean and the idea is that these Pathfinder Operations are Boolean operations because we are adding and subtracting and applying various mathematical functions to our hand-drawn paths here inside of Illustrator.

Open path pitfalls

Now I'm the first guy to tell you that Pathfinder Operations absolutely rock but they only rock so long as you are working with closed paths. Once you start working with open path outlines, they don't rock so much, don't you know? So let me show you what I'm taking about. I have gone ahead and saved my progress as Time 2 Boo.ai. And what I mean by that is it's time to assemble the word Boo that the robot is saying to us. Boo, not only because it's trying to scare us but also because Boo is short for Boolean and the idea is that these Pathfinder Operations are Boolean operations because we are adding and subtracting and applying various mathematical functions to our hand-drawn paths here inside of Illustrator.

All right, but in our case, he just wants to scare us. So that's where the word Boo comes from. What I want to do though is I want to go ahead and somehow assemble these lines right here into a kind of a talk balloon with these wavy lines coming out of it, so that we know he is not just saying Boo. He is saying Boooo, because that's not really communicated by the text so much as more of a robot boo going on up there. Now one would hope we could just select all three shapes and we could just go ahead and unite them with the Unite operation. So let's go ahead and zoom in so that we can see things up close and personal here, and then I want you to see that these guys right there are open paths.

So the larger ellipse, that's a closed path outline, but these are two open paths, two identical open paths of course, and they have fills associated with them but the fills are just tracing along here as if they are some sort of outline at work and that's just something that Illustrator does automatically. That behavior gets emphasized if I go ahead and click on Unite. So if I click on that Unite operation, notice that we do go ahead and unite these paths in this completely awful manner. Illustrator doesn't automatically draw a segment at the end of the paths, the way I might like, instead it goes ahead and draws along that area that used to be the fill line, and that's not what we want at all.

So I'm going to go ahead and press Ctrl +Z, Command+Z on the Mac and what I'm trying to demonstrate here is that when you are working with open path outlines, either the Pathfinder Operation is going to convert that open path into a closed path or it's just going to plain fail and make a mess of things. So you don't want to work with open paths when you can avoid it, but here is a work around. I am going to go ahead and combine these paths into a compound shape by pressing the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and then clicking on Unite, and now we have a compound shape that also has strokes but notice that it didn't go ahead and finish that area off with the segment. It just went ahead and stroked that virtual outline right there. That doesn't really exist. That's fine. Then check this out.

Now at this point, because I'm working with the compound shape, I can make modifications to my path outlines. For example, I can take these two open paths and join them either into a larger open path, which is where I'll start, or to form a closed path if I want. So I'm going to go ahead and grab my White Arrow tool, click off the shape and then click on this bottommost point, this end point of the left hand path, and I'll drag it so that it snaps into alignment, and I can see I have got it snapped because I have a white arrowhead, snaps into alignment with the similar endpoint on the right hand path.

And then I'll go ahead and move this control handle over a little bit. I'll go ahead and marquee these two coincident points in order to select both of them, then I'll go up to my Control palette and I'll click on this icon right there, Connect selected end points, or I could press Ctrl+J or Command+J on the Mac to invoke the Join command. Assuming that both points are indeed coincident, as they are in my case, I'll get this dialog box. I definitely want a Corner point, I don't want a Smooth point and I don't want a continuous arch. So I'll click OK in order to accept Corner point, and I get this effect right there which is much closer to what I'm looking for.

The only thing I don't want like about it, I'll go ahead and zoom in here, is that I have a beveled join at this point. Now if I go over to the Stroke palette, I can see that I have requested a Miter join right there, which should give me a nice sharp point but my Miter Limit is set to too low of a value. It's set to 4 times 4x the stroke weight right there. So, in other words, the miter join is only allowed to extend 4 times the line weight. So in our case, we have a line weight of one point so the miter joins only allow to extend four point away from this anchor point right there, and apparently, it has to extend farther.

Let's go ahead and take this value up to 10, and now we have got a nice sharp spike but that looks too sharp to me, and so what I prefer to do is let's go ahead and reduce the angle at which these two segments are meeting by dragging one of the control handles away from the other one. I suggest we drag this one, and we are going to get less of a spike as you are seeing right there. All right. Now I'll go ahead and zoom out and this is a lovely effect. Now if you wanted to, you could go ahead and say, you know what? I want to change this from an opened path to a closed path. So you'd select the entire thing by Alt-clicking or Option-clicking on the path with the White Arrow tool as I have done. Then press Ctrl+J or Command+J on the Mac in order to finish off this path outline. So I went ahead and connected the two endpoints with the straight segment. That makes no difference in terms of the final effect, but you can do it if you want to.

But my point here is whether the path outline is opened or closed, you are going to get the exact same effect because the Unite operation is already doing its best to convert all of these paths to closed paths, where the final effect is concerned. In the next exercise, we are going to go ahead and combine all of these path outlines up here that are associated with the word Boo into a single word Boo. This is advanced pathfinder territory, folks. Stay with me.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced
Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

149 video lessons · 21461 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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