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Turning variable width strokes into filled paths

From: Illustrator Insider Training: Drawing without the Pen Tool

Video: Turning variable width strokes into filled paths

It's important to realize that variable widths are really just stroke attributes. They're no different than regular strokes that you apply to your artwork, and from a production perspective sometimes we may think about when we send artwork out to other people to work on, we want to convert all of our stroke outlines to actual filled paths. The reason why we want to do that, especially with logos or artwork that's going to be reused many times, is because when people scale artwork inside of Illustrator they may have different settings for those options.

Turning variable width strokes into filled paths

It's important to realize that variable widths are really just stroke attributes. They're no different than regular strokes that you apply to your artwork, and from a production perspective sometimes we may think about when we send artwork out to other people to work on, we want to convert all of our stroke outlines to actual filled paths. The reason why we want to do that, especially with logos or artwork that's going to be reused many times, is because when people scale artwork inside of Illustrator they may have different settings for those options.

For example, if I go to Preferences here, I'm going to choose Illustrator here and choose Preferences and I go down to where it says General, and again if you're on Windows you would choose Edit and then Preferences. You can see there is an option here called Scale Strokes & Effects, which right now is turned off. That would mean if I took Mister Zee right now and enlarged him to 300%, my stroke weight would not scale along with the artwork. The paths would get larger, the artwork would get larger, but the stroke weights would all stay the same.

Now again, there may be times when you want that to happen and maybe times when you don't, but usually when you create artwork, well like I said logos or artwork that's going to be used in many, many different ways or applications, you probably don't want to keep artwork which stroke weights intact and you want to convert them to actual filled paths and that way they'll always scale correctly. So I'm going to click on the Cancel button here. I'm just want to show you that if you select some paths, for example I'll select these three paths that each have widths applied to them. I can go up to the Object menu and choose Path and then choose Outline Stroke, and when I do so, Illustrator now converts those to actual filled paths.

So they're no longer editable as strokes. I can no longer modify their widths using the Width tool. They're treated as regular filled objects inside of Illustrator. So if I know I want to lock down the look of my artwork, I know I'm not going to be making any other changes to this artwork, I might choose to select all my strokes and convert them to filled paths in this way to ensure that the integrity of my artwork remains constant, no matter how it's used, no matter where it's used, and no matter who uses it.

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This video is part of

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  1. 7m 4s
    1. Welcome
      1m 21s
    2. The evolution of vector drawing
      3m 46s
    3. Getting the most out of this training
      1m 30s
    4. Using the exercise files
      27s
  2. 39m 2s
    1. Plotting points vs. drawing paths
      5m 36s
    2. Drawing artwork vs. building artwork
      7m 59s
    3. The keyboard shortcuts you HAVE to know
      8m 52s
    4. Groups and layers really do matter
      3m 11s
    5. Taming Smart Guides and the Bounding Box
      10m 53s
    6. Do you need a drawing tablet?
      2m 31s
  3. 47m 51s
    1. To sketch or not to sketch?
      2m 32s
    2. Setting up a template layer for your sketch
      3m 37s
    3. Optimizing default settings for drawing
      5m 27s
    4. Using the primitive shapes tools
      5m 7s
    5. Mastering the modifier keys
      2m 8s
    6. Mastering the transform tools
      6m 37s
    7. Creating curves with the Reshape tool
      6m 44s
    8. Using the Smooth tool
      3m 35s
    9. Using Simplify to create smooth paths
      3m 2s
    10. Recording an action for the Simplify command
      5m 2s
    11. Mirroring art for speed and accuracy
      4m 0s
  4. 50m 18s
    1. Deconstructing the Pathfinder panel
      1m 56s
    2. Using the Shape Modes functions
      12m 4s
    3. Using the Pathfinder functions
      13m 4s
    4. Understanding how compound shapes work
      11m 45s
    5. Understanding why compound shapes exist
      7m 32s
    6. Exploring additional Pathfinder options
      3m 57s
  5. 52m 51s
    1. Why Live Paint was created
      10m 45s
    2. Creating a Live Paint group
      4m 21s
    3. Using the Live Paint Bucket tool
      7m 8s
    4. Using Live Paint with open paths
      5m 6s
    5. Detecting gaps in Live Paint groups
      3m 42s
    6. Adding paths to a Live Paint group
      5m 34s
    7. Using the Live Paint Selection tool
      6m 28s
    8. Releasing and expanding Live Paint groups
      2m 59s
    9. Understanding how Live Paint works
      6m 48s
  6. 27m 37s
    1. Why the Shape Builder tool was created
      4m 18s
    2. Focusing on the big three: Add, Subtract, and Divide
      2m 27s
    3. Using the Shape Builder tool to add and subtract artwork
      9m 50s
    4. Using the Shape Builder to divide artwork
      3m 48s
    5. Building and coloring artwork at the same time
      3m 50s
    6. Using Gap Detection with the Shape Builder tool
      3m 24s
  7. 23m 2s
    1. Understanding how variable widths work
      8m 25s
    2. Modifying width points along a path
      7m 9s
    3. Saving time with width profiles
      5m 14s
    4. Turning variable width strokes into filled paths
      2m 14s
  8. 28m 21s
    1. Understanding how the Pen and Pencil tools differ
      4m 41s
    2. Adjusting the behavior of the Pencil tool
      7m 5s
    3. Using the Path Eraser tool
      1m 17s
    4. Drawing with the Calligraphic Brush tool
      5m 43s
    5. Drawing with the Blob Brush tool
      5m 53s
    6. Using the Eraser tool
      3m 42s
  9. 3m 44s
    1. Looking at the VectorScribe plug-in
      2m 16s
    2. Next steps
      1m 28s

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