Illustrator Insider Training: Drawing without the Pen Tool
Illustration by John Hersey

Understanding why compound shapes exist


From:

Illustrator Insider Training: Drawing without the Pen Tool

with Mordy Golding

Video: Understanding why compound shapes exist

In the previous movie we learned the true meaning of something called the Shape Mode inside of Illustrator. We learned that we can create something called the compound shape inside of Illustrator which acts as some kind of a live Pathfinder object that I can consider to modify even after I perform mathematical functions like add, subtract, intersect and exclude. Now you may ask yourself, I kind of see the benefit of maybe having live objects but most of the times that I am drawing artwork, I pretty much know what I want to draw as I am working on it. So I usually want my artwork to be expanded and to create the shapes that I want to work on right now, I don't really worry about what I am going to need to change later on in the future.
Expand all | Collapse all
  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

Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now
please wait ...
Watch the Online Video Course Illustrator Insider Training: Drawing without the Pen Tool
4h 39m Intermediate Oct 06, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this installment of the Illustrator Insider Training series, Mordy Golding shows how to draw vector artwork quickly, precisely, and efficiently—without having to think about technical concepts like anchor points or control handles. The course highlights intuitive drawing techniques using the Pathfinder functions, Live Paint groups, Shape Builder tool, and variable-width strokes. It also describes the sketching workflow and features in Illustrator that use pressure-sensitive drawing tablets, allowing designers to focus more on their creativity.

Topics include:
  • Drawing artwork versus building artwork
  • Sketching ideas on paper
  • Creating curves with the Reshape tool
  • Recording actions for speed and accuracy
  • Working with the Pathfinder functions
  • Understanding how Live Paint works
  • Using the Shape Builder tool
  • Building and coloring artwork at the same time
  • Turning variable-width strokes into filled paths
  • Adjusting the behavior of the Pencil tool
  • Drawing with the Calligraphic brush
Subject:
Design
Software:
Illustrator
Author:
Mordy Golding

Understanding why compound shapes exist

In the previous movie we learned the true meaning of something called the Shape Mode inside of Illustrator. We learned that we can create something called the compound shape inside of Illustrator which acts as some kind of a live Pathfinder object that I can consider to modify even after I perform mathematical functions like add, subtract, intersect and exclude. Now you may ask yourself, I kind of see the benefit of maybe having live objects but most of the times that I am drawing artwork, I pretty much know what I want to draw as I am working on it. So I usually want my artwork to be expanded and to create the shapes that I want to work on right now, I don't really worry about what I am going to need to change later on in the future.

Well, the reason why this feature exists is because it allows a situation to exist between Illustrator and its sister application called Photoshop. You see Photoshop also has the ability on some level to work with vector graphics and it does so using something called shape layers. When illustrator added Shape Modes, Adobe made Shape Modes and shape layers consistent and actually it could be compatible with each other. In fact, it's the same underlying technology that makes both of those features work and that allows us as users to move vector objects freely between Photoshop and Illustrator using the Shape Modes and shape layers.

Let me show you exactly how that works. See right now here I am inside of Illustrator and I have my Pathfinder panel opened, you can see that I have my Shape Modes, something here called Add, Subtract, Intersect and Exclude. Let's hop over to Photoshop for just a second here and you can see that when I have Photoshop opened, I can choose some of these different Shape tools, for example this Ellipse tool which is very similar as the Illustrator's Ellipse tool. When I click and drag to create a shape, I am going to hold down the Shift key so I get a perfect circle.

There's no such thing really as a vector shape inside of Photoshop but I can have vector paths that act as like a clipping path. So what I have now inside of Photoshop is something called a shape layer. You can notice over here that by creating the shape of my art board, it looks like I have a black circle but if I look over here in my Layers panel I have created something called Shape 1 which basically is a vector mask that has black pixels inside of it. If I kind of focus on the tool Options bar here at the top of the screen, you can see that this tool has different modes inside of it.

The Regular mode over here allows me to Create a new shape layer every time I draw a new shape. However, I can also choose between four other options and don't these look familiar. Add, Subtract, Intersect and Exclude, the same options that I found inside of Illustrator. Now let's see what happens when I actually choose the Subtract mode. Now I still have my Ellipse tool selected, I am gong to hold my Shift key down and click and drag to draw another circle, but you can see that my result actually subtracts this shape from the previous one.

What I have done here is I've actually created a single mask that has these interlocking or overlapping vector paths and based on the modes that I am choosing, the pixels only fill certain parts of those overlapping paths. That's really what a shape layer is inside of Photoshop. It's simply a way for me to create these vector clipping paths and fill them with pixels and do so in a way defined by the different modes that I choose over here which are the Add, Subtract, Intersect and Exclude. Now the real cool thing about the way that Adobe implemented this is that I have the ability to move these shapes back and forth between the applications.

It's important to realize again that the concept of a fill and a stroke does not really apply to Photoshop. All I have here is some kind of a clipping path and I have pixels inside of it, but that's not really a fill attribute. So the one thing that I cannot move between Photoshop and Illustrator are the actual fill or stroke attributes. However, what I can move between the two applications are the actual vector paths themselves with the shape modes intact. So if I take the Arrow tool or the Selection tool here inside of Photoshop and I click over here to select this path and I hold down the Shift key now and I select this one as well, so now I have both of these paths within this single shape layer selected and I press Command+ C or Ctrl+C. Now let's switch over back to Illustrator and I hit Command+V or Ctrl+V to paste, I now get this thing that says Paste Options and I can choose to paste this as a Compound Shape, which is fully editable because it's now going to be converted to a shape mode inside of Illustrator or I could choose to paste it as a Compound path, which means all I am going to see is just a crescent shape, I won't see both full intact circles.

But just to see how this works I am going to choose the Compound Shape option, I am going to click OK and notice now that both of those circles have come in. If I change the Fill color because remember there was no fill on this object, it was simply a mask for black pixels, and now I choose a color like red for example, I can see that only this part of the shape is being filled in because these two shapes have a Subtract Mode inherently inside of them. Now likewise I can do the reverse, I can create a Shape mode here inside of Illustrator. in fact, just to start from scratch I am going to delete these two circles.

Let's take maybe a Rectangle tool here and click and drag and then click and drag to create another shape, select both of these and I'll come here to the Shape Modes and I'll hold down the Option or Alt key and now choose the Subtract button. So now I have created a compound shape. Notice by the way I do not use a Stroke attribute here because I would not be able to transfer that stroke attribute to Photoshop. I am now going to press Command+C or Ctrl+C to copy from Illustrator, now I'll switch over to Photoshop and hit Command+V or Ctrl+V to paste. Notice that here I have the ability to paste it either as a Smart Object, as Pixels, as the path itself or as a shape layer, which I am going to choose here and click OK.

And now I have brought these two shapes here on its own layer. In fact, if I hide now Shape 1 over here, you can see that I can click on these two shapes here and continue to still move these shapes around here inside of Photoshop, so they come in as fully editable vector shapes here inside of Photoshop as shape layers and if I knew I was working on some kind of illustration inside of Illustrator and I wanted to bring it into Photoshop and I wanted to maintain some kind of editability inside of Photoshop, meaning I still want to scale it up in size or make modifications, I can do so using these Shape Modes inside of Illustrator and bring them into Photoshop as the shape layers.

So in reality if we kind of take a step back, this is the whole reason for why the Shape Modes exists inside of Illustrator. They're not really there as much for us to work inside of Illustrator, although they are really beneficial because they tend to keep things live, but they are also really here to allow us to be able to move vector content between Photoshop and Illustrator without any loss in editability. Now, let me go back here to Illustrator for just a moment and yes, there are some times when having this Live Pathfinder might be useful to you inside of Illustrator.

But it's not so easy to work with within the realm of the world of Pathfinder and that's why we're going to find out that in the next chapter, we're going to deal with something called Live Paint which is going to give us the ability to work in a live state without the consequences of losing the editability of our artwork. But for now, we have a much better understanding of not only what Pathfinder does inside of Illustrator but the nuances that exist within the panel itself.

There are currently no FAQs about Illustrator Insider Training: Drawing without the Pen Tool.

 
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Illustrator Insider Training: Drawing without the Pen Tool.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your lynda.com subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.