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Using the Shape Builder to divide artwork

From: Illustrator Insider Training: Drawing without the Pen Tool

Video: Using the Shape Builder to divide artwork

So we see how the Shape Builder tool allows us to apply both the Add and the Subtract Pathfinder Functions in a visual way by simply dragging across artwork. However, we also discussed that many people often use the Divide function which is also a Pathfinder function. Let's see how we can use the Shape Builder tool to also help us apply the Divide function again in the same visual manner. So I'm working in this document here called Stripes5 and I have my Shape Builder tool selected.

Using the Shape Builder to divide artwork

So we see how the Shape Builder tool allows us to apply both the Add and the Subtract Pathfinder Functions in a visual way by simply dragging across artwork. However, we also discussed that many people often use the Divide function which is also a Pathfinder function. Let's see how we can use the Shape Builder tool to also help us apply the Divide function again in the same visual manner. So I'm working in this document here called Stripes5 and I have my Shape Builder tool selected.

I'm going to press my Command key, I'm on a Mac, but if you're on Windows, that will be the Ctrl key, and click-and- drag to select these two shapes right here. I already know that if I click across these two objects and drag across them, because I'm holding down no keys I just have to shape other tool here, I would now combine or unite all those shapes together. I also know that if I were to hold down the Option key or the Alt key and I would drag, then I would remove shapes or these regions from my artwork. However, I see that even if I don't hold any keys down, but I simply position my cursor over these shapes, the Shape Builder tool will highlight any areas that are these distinct regions that are created by the overlapping objects.

If I were to simply position my cursor over any region, let's say this middle one right here, and then simply click and release the mouse. So I have it actually drag with the mouse, but I just clicked and released, then what Illustrator does is it performs the Divide function. Just to show you by the way, if I now switch to my Direct Selection tool, and I'm going to deselect my artwork, but I'm now just going to select this shape and this shape, and this shape, you can see that now just by clicking once in that region, I've now divided that shape into the individual regions.

In other words, if I want to add, I simply click-and-drag with the Shape Builder tool, if I want to subtract, I Option or Alt+Drag with the Shape Builder tool, and if I want to divide, I simply click on a region and that will now go ahead and divide the artwork into individual objects. So now that we see how that works, let's again focus here on the bottom of Mister Zee and see how we might use that as well. So I'm going to zoom in over here just part right down here. I'm actually going to select all of these elements right here, so all the ovals, and also the line here because I want you to see how this works.

I'm now going to switch to my Shape Builder tool, and if I just click once right over here, then you can see that if I switch to my Direct Selection tool, and I'm just going to Option+Click or Alt+ Click right over here, you can see that now that got turned into its own shape. The other parts of the shapes here have not been divided because I didn't ask for it to do that. But I was able to just click in one region, and I'm telling Illustrator, you know what, I really need right now this region to be its own shape. So simply by clicking on that region with my Shape Builder tool, I'm able to perform a divide locally to that area that's right there, and turn it into its own shape.

So now we're really starting to see how the Shape Builder tool is taking the most common use Pathfinder functions and allowing us to apply them in a far more intuitive manner. In fact, I've heard some people refer to the Shape Builder tool as the Pathfinder Brush, because it allows us to quickly apply these Pathfinder functions but in a visual way just by clicking or dragging across the artwork on the screen. We discussed also that the Shape Builder tool also combines some functions that came from Live Paint. The most obvious is that I'm able to actually apply these functions in a far more visual manner, so my focus is not really on the underlying anchor points or paths, my focus is on the art that I'm trying to create.

However, there were other things that Live Paint allowed us to do like even coloring objects using the Paint Bucket tool. Is that functionality found inside the Shape Builder tool as well? The answer is yes, and we'll cover it in the next movie.

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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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