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Using the Scissors tool and the Knife tool

From: Illustrator CS6 Essential Training

Video: Using the Scissors tool and the Knife tool

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.

Using the Scissors tool and the Knife tool

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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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS6 Essential Training
Illustrator CS6 Essential Training

116 video lessons · 72277 viewers

Justin Seeley
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 15s
    1. What is Illustrator?
      1m 15s
  2. 2m 17s
    1. Welcome
      58s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 19s
  3. 41m 25s
    1. Understanding vector graphics
      5m 0s
    2. Setting preferences
      9m 24s
    3. Touring the interface
      9m 41s
    4. Exploring the panels
      6m 54s
    5. Working with the Control panel
      4m 25s
    6. Creating and saving workspaces
      6m 1s
  4. 43m 42s
    1. Creating files for print
      4m 42s
    2. Creating files for the web
      3m 36s
    3. Managing multiple documents
      3m 25s
    4. Navigating within a document
      5m 21s
    5. Using rulers, guides, and grids
      6m 59s
    6. Changing units of measurement
      1m 50s
    7. Using preview modes
      3m 10s
    8. Creating and using custom views
      3m 12s
    9. Locking and hiding artwork
      3m 43s
    10. Creating and using artboards
      7m 44s
  5. 1h 1m
    1. Setting your selection preferences
      5m 57s
    2. Using the Direct Selection and Group Selection tools
      4m 6s
    3. Using the Magic Wand tool
      5m 45s
    4. Using the Lasso tool
      4m 9s
    5. Selecting objects by attribute
      6m 48s
    6. Grouping objects
      3m 7s
    7. Using isolation mode
      4m 48s
    8. Resizing your artwork
      3m 55s
    9. Rotating objects
      2m 10s
    10. Distorting and transforming objects
      6m 26s
    11. Repeating transformations
      5m 6s
    12. Reflecting and skewing objects
      4m 54s
    13. Aligning and distributing objects
      4m 38s
  6. 29m 27s
    1. RGB vs. CMYK
      1m 46s
    2. Adjusting Illustrator color settings
      5m 10s
    3. Process vs. global swatches
      5m 6s
    4. Creating spot colors
      3m 40s
    5. Using the swatch groups
      2m 33s
    6. Working with color libraries
      3m 17s
    7. Importing swatches
      4m 4s
    8. Using the Color Guide panel
      3m 51s
  7. 57m 36s
    1. Understanding fills and strokes
      4m 18s
    2. Working with fills
      4m 58s
    3. Working with strokes
      8m 46s
    4. Creating dashes and arrows
      8m 1s
    5. Creating variable-width strokes
      4m 3s
    6. Using width profiles
      3m 31s
    7. Outlining strokes
      3m 51s
    8. Creating and editing gradients
      5m 45s
    9. Applying gradients to strokes
      3m 8s
    10. Applying and editing pattern fills
      4m 52s
    11. Creating your own pattern fill
      6m 23s
  8. 20m 20s
    1. Understanding paths
      2m 41s
    2. Understanding anchor points
      4m 20s
    3. Working with open and closed paths
      5m 28s
    4. Joining and averaging paths
      4m 9s
    5. Using the Scissors tool and the Knife tool
      3m 42s
  9. 37m 56s
    1. Understanding drawing modes
      4m 23s
    2. Creating compound paths
      5m 15s
    3. Creating compound shapes
      4m 11s
    4. Working with the Shape Builder tool
      6m 32s
    5. Working with the Blob Brush and Eraser tools
      5m 26s
    6. Working with the Paintbrush and Pencil tools
      7m 8s
    7. Smoothing and erasing paths
      5m 1s
  10. 35m 53s
    1. Exploring the Pen tool
      2m 39s
    2. Drawing straight lines
      5m 12s
    3. Drawing simple curves
      5m 23s
    4. Understanding the many faces of the Pen tool
      6m 10s
    5. Converting corners and curves
      1m 46s
    6. Your keyboard is your friend
      2m 14s
    7. Tracing artwork with the Pen tool
      12m 29s
  11. 35m 33s
    1. Adjusting your type settings
      4m 10s
    2. Creating point and area text
      3m 36s
    3. Basic text editing
      2m 14s
    4. Creating threaded text
      4m 59s
    5. Using the type panels
      9m 48s
    6. Creating text on a path
      5m 11s
    7. Converting text into paths
      1m 43s
    8. Saving time with keyboard shortcuts
      3m 52s
  12. 27m 25s
    1. Exploring the Appearance panel
      4m 44s
    2. Explaining attribute stacking order
      1m 40s
    3. Applying multiple fills
      3m 1s
    4. Applying multiple strokes
      4m 20s
    5. Adjusting appearance with live effects
      4m 46s
    6. Saving appearances as graphic styles
      8m 54s
  13. 20m 44s
    1. Exploring the Layers panel
      4m 18s
    2. Creating and editing layers
      3m 27s
    3. Targeting objects in the Layers panel
      3m 3s
    4. Working with sublayers
      3m 0s
    5. Hiding, locking, and deleting layers
      4m 14s
    6. Using the Layers panel menu
      2m 42s
  14. 46m 0s
    1. Placing images into Illustrator
      2m 53s
    2. Working with the Links panel
      6m 5s
    3. Embedding images into Illustrator
      3m 12s
    4. Cropping images with a mask
      5m 8s
    5. Exploring the Image Trace panel
      12m 14s
    6. Tracing photographs
      8m 6s
    7. Tracing line art
      4m 33s
    8. Converting pixels to paths
      3m 49s
  15. 19m 21s
    1. What are symbols?
      2m 45s
    2. Using prebuilt symbols
      3m 3s
    3. Using the Symbol Sprayer tool
      4m 19s
    4. Creating new symbols
      3m 50s
    5. Breaking the symbol link
      3m 19s
    6. Redefining symbols
      2m 5s
  16. 12m 9s
    1. Defining a perspective grid
      4m 29s
    2. Drawing artwork in perspective
      3m 49s
    3. Applying artwork to the grid
      3m 51s
  17. 35m 7s
    1. Printing your artwork
      6m 16s
    2. Saving your artwork
      2m 2s
    3. Saving in legacy formats
      3m 0s
    4. Saving templates
      4m 18s
    5. Creating PDF files
      5m 23s
    6. Saving for the web
      4m 46s
    7. Creating high-res bitmap images
      3m 58s
    8. Using Illustrator files in Photoshop and InDesign
      5m 24s
  18. 56s
    1. Next steps
      56s

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