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Using the Crop operation

From: Illustrator CS4 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Using the Crop operation

In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to use the Crop operation to use one path that cut through a bunch of other paths inside of Illustrator. I have gone ahead and saved my progress so far as Cape & smock.ai and the idea is this robot right here... We are now looking at the lower region of the robot, his torso as it were. He's got kind of a lab coat on, let's say, and so what I'm calling the smock is this white area in the background, the main white of the body. Then what I'm calling the cape is really this opening right here that will reveal the grill lines. So, I want this grill lines to appear just inside of the V of the cape. And we are looking to get this effect here. This is the Ghost robot.ai file, so the finished version of the illustration and you can see the grill lines only appear inside of the area that's not covered by the cape.

Using the Crop operation

In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to use the Crop operation to use one path that cut through a bunch of other paths inside of Illustrator. I have gone ahead and saved my progress so far as Cape & smock.ai and the idea is this robot right here... We are now looking at the lower region of the robot, his torso as it were. He's got kind of a lab coat on, let's say, and so what I'm calling the smock is this white area in the background, the main white of the body. Then what I'm calling the cape is really this opening right here that will reveal the grill lines. So, I want this grill lines to appear just inside of the V of the cape. And we are looking to get this effect here. This is the Ghost robot.ai file, so the finished version of the illustration and you can see the grill lines only appear inside of the area that's not covered by the cape.

All right, so we are going to use the cape to crop the grill lines. So let's switch back here to Cape & smock. Now the first thing that we need to do is make sure that we get rid of all the strokes and convert them over to fills. So I'm going to start by clicking on anyone of these grill lines because they are all grouped together. I went ahead and grouped them in advance. We can actually see these I believe inside of the Layers palette. If I twirl open my pathfinders right there and I'll go ahead and hide the Stroke palette for a moment, we can see there is this group of grill lines right there.

So it's not too far down the stack at this point. Go ahead and select all of them. They are open paths, which of course is dangerous, but what's really bad about them at this point is they have strokes and no fills which means that the Pathfinder operation is going to completely obliterate them and that's not what we want. So we need to convert them to paths that have fills and no strokes. So go up to the Object menu, same thing we've seen before, go to Path and then choose Outline Stroke. And I should say something. Outline Stroke really is a pathfinder operation.

It's just a pathfinder operation that isn't included with the Pathfinder palette over here. And it oftentimes is a first step before applying the pathfinders. So go ahead and choose the command or if you load the dekeKeys, Control+Backslash, Command+Backslash on the Mac. We now have a series of closed and filled paths that have no strokes at all. All right, the next step is to grab this shape that's going to serve as the cropper. So this is the shape that's going to crop the grill lines. Now there is two things that have to happen with the crop shape here. One is that it needs to be filled so again we need a fill on those strokes. However, we need to reinstate the cape outline ultimately with its stroke intact because we are going to lose it in just a second, as you will see. So we need to copy it is basically when it comes down to.

As you work with Pathfinder operations, you will learn to recognize when you need to do this but often times, you will need to copy your shape before you send it into a Pathfinder operation because you are going to lose it in the course of the Pathfinder operation and you want to regain it later. So when in doubt, just go ahead and chose the Copy command. If you think something is going to go amiss then just go ahead and copy in advance, so I'm going to go up to the Edit menu and choose Copy, Ctrl+C, Command+C on the Mac and we have now copied this cape shape right here. Now what we need to do is go ahead and click on the switch icon here or press Shift+X in order to swap the fill and stroke so that we have a filled shape without any stroke associated with it whatsoever.

Now I'm going to go ahead and change the color of the field right here by bringing up my Color palette, switching over to the fill like so and let's just grab a random color, like so, like this red. What I want you to see here is that the cropping shape is in back of the grill lines. Now this is something you have to come to terms with in Illustrator in general. When you are masking, as we'll see in the later chapter, and when you are cropping whatever is serving as the mask or the crop or what have you has to be in front of everything that is going to crop. That is a really strange thing in my opinion but it's the way it is. So you need to press Ctrl+Shift+Right-Bracket or Command+ Shift+Right-Bracket on the Mac to go ahead and pop that guy to the top of the stack and you can see it right there now, at the top of the My Pathfinders layer.

Now then, go ahead and Shift-click on any one of the grill lines to select all of these guys. And now we are finally ready to crop and here's what you do. You go over to this icon right there, inside the Pathfinder palette of course, and you click on it and you have now successfully cropped your shapes as you can see here. So the grill lines have now been cropped by the topmost shape and everything has been brought to the top of the stack. So there is our group right there. Voonderbar. Now of course, as I was saying-- I'm going click off the paths so that we can see.

As I was saying we lost the cape outline. It's still kind of there but it's part of the larger group of junk that's going on here and it's going to make some later editing difficult if we decide to stick with the lines that are there and they are invisible right now and so on. Why not just paste our original path into place? So I'm going to press Ctrl+F or Command+F on the Mac in order to paste that path to front, the one we copied just a moment ago. Now I'm going to scroll upward a little. You can see that we have got a lot of overage right here, a lot of leftover line.

So here is what I'm going to do. I'm going to press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y in order to switch to the Outline Mode and just to make sure that I get things exactly right, I'm going to press Ctrl+ Spacebar or Command+Spacebar on the Mac to get my Zoom tool and I'm going to marquee around this area right there. So that we are really zoomed in. What am I at? 4331.25% and so we are way zoomed in. Now I'm going to go ahead and grab my Scissors tool. This guy right there. If you don't see it then it's probably the Eraser tool. Click and hold on Eraser and choose Scissors. You also have a keyboard shortcut of C and you want to click at this location right there in order to cleave that path and this, the top path for me, is still selected. It's important that the path we selected before you operated on it with the scissors tool and I'm going to go ahead and spacebar drag over to this location right there.

And if you can't tell where you are, you can sort of zoom out or you can bring up the Navigator palette and find your way around the illustration but this is the other area that I need to cut, one of the other areas. So I'll go ahead and zoom in and I'll click at this location right there and it's just helpful to be zoomed in because then you can see exactly where that intersection is. All right, now I'll go ahead and take my own advice and bring up the Navigator palette and find that my advice isn't all that helpful when this guy is so tiny. Let's go ahead and make this palette bigger and then I'm going to drag up to here so that we are inside the heart. See this region right there where the cape is intersecting with the heart shape? And we want to get rid of that stuff as well because we don't want the cape to go in there. I'll show you what I mean.

I'll press Ctrl+Y again, Command+ Y on the Mac. See how it goes up into the heart? That's not what we wanted. The heart is a hole inside of the robot, because he has no heart. See, how he's so sad? All right so go ahead and grab your black arrow tool once again. Click on that path outline to make sure it's active because you have to have a selected path in order to operate on it with the Scissors tool. Then go ahead and grab your Scissors again, press Ctrl+Y Command+ Y on the Mac in order to switch to the outline mode. You can of course also by the way go up to the View menu and choose the first command at the top of the menu.

Then I'm going to go ahead and click right there at that intersection and that deselects the paths that I want to work on. So I'll press the Ctrl key to temporarily get my black arrow tool and that's the Command key on the Mac. And then click on this path outline like so in order to make it active and then I'll click there with the Scissors tool after releasing the Ctrl or Command key. I have now cut the path exactly where I wanted to cut and I'll go ahead and zoom out, a few times don't you know, and then I'll get my black arrow tool.

I'll click on this top path in order to select it and then press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac. You will still see it here in the preview mode. That's because we also have the invisible guy that's part of this group right here. Don't worry about that and if that mixes you up, just go ahead and press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y on the Mac to switch back to the preview mode. You will see that that is gone away now. All right let's go ahead and scroll down, click this guy right there, Shift-click on this guy in order to select those two and then press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac to get rid of them as well and we have now done an awesome job of cropping our grill lines inside of our cape and keeping our cape outline as well.

In the next exercise, we are going to get to work on this Frisbee shapes right here.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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

149 video lessons · 21608 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  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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