In addition to joining paths together inside of Illustrator, you may find the need to actually split paths apart as well. In this movie, I'll walk you through exactly how to do that utilizing two tools, one of which works exactly as advertised, and the other which is a little different. So let's first start off by zooming in on a piece of our artwork, and then come right here on the top of this leaf and I'm going to grab something called the Scissors tool. The Scissors tool is a tool that allows you to split paths based upon anchor points that you select.
I'm also going to be utilizing something called the Knife tool, but we'll get to that in just a second. If you want these tools out on screen where you can easily switch between them, come over to the toolbar and click and hold on the scissors and then grab this little arrow right here. That will give you your own free floating panel to use. Now before I get to use this I need to select artwork. In order to temporarily get a hold of this leaf, I'm going to simply hold down the Ctrl key on the PC, the Command key on the Mac, and you'll notice when I do that, it temporarily turns into the Selection tool. If I click, it becomes my active selection.
Now when I let go of the Ctrl key, I'm right back to using the Scissors tool. Now all I have to do is find this anchor point at the end and click and find this anchor point on the end and click. When I do that, it splits the path right down in the middle. You may be able to see the seam or you may not. If you can't see it, just take this and drag it over, there we go. I've split it pretty easy. Let's undo that and I'll rejoin them again by hitting Command+Z or Ctrl+Z, back to normal. Now let's take a look at the Knife tool. The Knife tool, like I said, it works a little different; it's not as precise as the Scissors tool per se.
When I grab the Knife tool, you're going to notice that I'm able to click and start making a cut. The issue is, by default, this acts sort of like a liquid knife, because when I click and drag, it doesn't draw on a straight line, but you can create some pretty cool curves just by doing something like that. Once I've made my cut, you'll notice that I can then double-click to go into isolation mode and I can actually move the piece that I just cut from the other. If I double-click and move back out, you can see the full curve of both of them. Now let's undo that. Let me show you a little trick with the Knife tool to make it work a little bit more like it's supposed to in my opinion.
I'm going to grab the Knife tool and I'm simply going to hold down on my keyboard, the Alt key on PC, the Option key on Mac, and I'm going to click and draw a line. Notice how much straighter it goes. If I let go, it makes a cut completely straight, down the middle, and I can then go in and I can move the pieces apart, pretty easy. So the Knife tool unlike the Scissors tool is not precise by default. It actually goes along with the curvature of whatever you're drawing across.
But if you hold down that Option or Alt key, you can make it behave a little bit more like a knife should. However I find that the Scissors tool works much better for creating precise cuts when you're working with paths. Let's try it one more time. I'll move over here to the right and select this piece of the leaf, and I'll go ahead and grab my scissors. I'll click once, twice, and I've split the path. When I separate, you can see the nice clean cut down the middle. If I move over and split this leaf using the Knife tool, I can go with a curved line simply by clicking and dragging through or I can undo that, hold down my Option or Alt key and then click and drag straight.
So again, if you want to make nice, clean precise cuts, go with the scissors. If you want to make creative cuts or follow the curvature of a shape, you should use the Knife tool. These are great ways to split one single path into two separate paths that you can then edit and manipulate on their own.
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