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Utilizing Pathfinder functions

From: Illustrator CS4 Essential Training

Video: Utilizing Pathfinder functions

While the Shape modes in the Path Finder panel are the functions that you use most often, there's also a second row that appears beneath it called Path Finders. In fact, this one on the far left over here called Divide is used many times inside of Illustrator. So let's explore what some of these particular functions do. I'm actually going to go ahead and select all these right now and you'll see that these are four distinct shapes that we've created, think of them as four surfboard stuck in this end. So I have them here and maybe I want to be able to apply colors to the inside parts where they overlap. But of course right now I only have four distinct shapes, you cannot fill these areas that are here.

Utilizing Pathfinder functions

While the Shape modes in the Path Finder panel are the functions that you use most often, there's also a second row that appears beneath it called Path Finders. In fact, this one on the far left over here called Divide is used many times inside of Illustrator. So let's explore what some of these particular functions do. I'm actually going to go ahead and select all these right now and you'll see that these are four distinct shapes that we've created, think of them as four surfboard stuck in this end. So I have them here and maybe I want to be able to apply colors to the inside parts where they overlap. But of course right now I only have four distinct shapes, you cannot fill these areas that are here.

So what you can do is, basically, use this Path Finder Divide function that basically splits up all objects, however they overlap, into their own separate distinct shapes. So when I click on this right now, you'll see basically that I end up with a shape like this, and a shape like this so on and so forth for all these shapes. And because now these shapes are all distinct objects, I have the ability to go ahead and fill these areas differently then some of the other areas as well. And again, depending on what my design needs' are and how I'm working, basically the thing is divide filters away that, just chops up all the overlapping pieces that they all become their own pieces of their own and you could fill them and treat them as such.

I'm going to press Undo a few times to get back to my original here. Now let's explore the next option here. This one here is called Trim. What Trim does when I click on this, is that, you'll see that basically all of the overlapping areas are removed completely. As you can see now the parts that were behind of this other surfboard here are now no longer here. Then press Undo to get all those back again, and you also notice that when I use the Trim command, the stroke disappears on the particular object. The other function here called Merge, basically, puts them all together into one shape. It's very similar in some levels to the Path Finder Unite command over here. However, it also kind of trashes the stroke command here as well. So that's another difference that you have there. Then you are going to see this one over here called Crop. What Crop does, it allows you to define any other shape and then have all these shapes basically fit in within that shape.

So just as an example, if I were to take, let's say, this Rectangle tool and draw a shape, just like this. Since that's not the topmost object, if I would now select all these and then choose the Crop command, I'm basically only left with the shapes that would appear inside of that particular rectangle. Anything on the outside is gone and the shapes that are here are the same thing that I would get if I had done the same command over here, which is the Trim command. So I'm going to go ahead here and press undo one more time just to get rid of that rectangle. There's another function here if I choose to select all of these here, which is called the Outline command. When I choose Outline, it's actually pretty interesting. Right now, I'm going to have to press the D key for Default. It's actually a pretty important key inside of Illustrator, to know. It sets you all of your objects through a white fill and a black fill.

But take a look what happened here? It looks like that it does something almost similar to what I had before, when I used the Divide command. When I click on these, you'll see that these are actually all now just strokes themselves and you see how it kind of did more than just divide, it actually kind of broke them all to distinct paths on their own. It does add a lot of anchor points that are there, which I think are little bit too much that -- although we'll see later on, in this chapter, how to actually reduce the number of points on a path. I'm going to press Undo to go back again to my original. I love the fact, we have unlimited Undo's inside of Illustrator. Just keep stepping back as you need to. So the last one over here is called Minus Back, so remember this one over here with the Minus Front. So if I took these two shapes right now, so what happen is, is that the front one, would get subtracted from that, well it did the add one. I would do the Minus Front there and then the front object disappears and it basically chops away the one behind it.

But if I wanted that this piece now should remove this part from over here from this particular overlapping area, doing Minus Back would have that particular function. So I mean, it just says we start normally. If I wanted that, I'll have to take this object, bring that to the front and I use the keyboard shortcut for that, by the way it's Command+Shift, and then use the Open or Close bracket keys into the back or the front. If you're on a PC, that will be Ctrl+Shift and again you can bring objects to the front and back that way. So instead of you having to manually bring it to the front and then do the subtract or a Minus Front, that you simply chose to do Minus Back, and again that's another function that's there. So just one thing to point out as you are using Path Finder. This is more of an advanced kind of thing, but you may chip upon this at sometime. If you go to the flyout menu over the Path Finder panel, there's a setting here called Path Finder Options and there's a value for precision. Imagine you have very, very complex artwork with lots of points.

Well, Path Finder commands could actually result in taking a long time to figure that out. So, what Illustrator does, it has a little precision level and if you find sometimes where you're using Path Finder for some commands and you are not really happy with the results of the past, don't look as perfect or as clean, maybe come here and adjust the precision a little bit and you may near a little bit of hit in performance but at least you will get better result but I find for the most part though, you can leave this alone by just pointing out in case anything like that happens. By the way, I mentioned before that there were some extra points. There is a setting here called Remove Redundant Points. It doesn't actually reduce the number of points that Path Finder uses. Only if for some reason there are two shapes that overlap and those shapes have paths that overlap each other or anchor points that overlap each other, it will remove those redundant points because obviously you don't need two anchor points stacked on top of each other. So it will do that. So say, you are not going to save even extra few steps if you wanted to do that. Other than that, that is basically the level of functionality you have for the Path Finders that appear inside of the Path Finder panel.

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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS4 Essential Training
Illustrator CS4 Essential Training

116 video lessons · 48484 viewers

Mordy Golding
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 59s
    1. Welcome
      59s
  2. 33m 17s
    1. Why use Illustrator?
      2m 22s
    2. What are vector graphics?
      8m 4s
    3. Understanding paths
      4m 13s
    4. Fill and Stroke attributes
      5m 32s
    5. Selections and stacking order
      8m 31s
    6. Isolation mode
      4m 35s
  3. 23m 43s
    1. The Welcome screen
      1m 11s
    2. New Document Profiles
      4m 36s
    3. Using multiple artboards
      7m 17s
    4. Libraries and content
      3m 52s
    5. Illustrator templates
      2m 56s
    6. Adding XMP metadata
      3m 51s
  4. 43m 55s
    1. Exploring panels
      4m 18s
    2. Using the Control panel
      5m 25s
    3. Navigating within a document
      5m 27s
    4. Using rulers and guides
      5m 23s
    5. Using grids
      2m 12s
    6. Utilizing the bounding box
      3m 3s
    7. Using Smart Guides
      4m 59s
    8. The Hide Edges command
      3m 31s
    9. Preview and Outline modes
      2m 18s
    10. Using workspaces
      7m 19s
  5. 38m 3s
    1. The importance of modifier keys
      1m 9s
    2. Drawing closed-path primitives
      7m 15s
    3. Drawing open-path primitives
      5m 5s
    4. Simple drawing with the Pen tool
      7m 28s
    5. Advanced drawing with the Pen tool
      10m 33s
    6. Drawing with the Pencil tool
      6m 33s
  6. 46m 37s
    1. Editing anchor points
      13m 7s
    2. Creating compound shapes
      5m 55s
    3. Utilizing Pathfinder functions
      5m 11s
    4. Joining and averaging paths
      5m 37s
    5. Outlining strokes
      3m 24s
    6. Simplifying paths
      5m 41s
    7. Using Offset Path
      2m 43s
    8. Dividing an object into a grid
      1m 41s
    9. Cleaning up errant paths
      3m 18s
  7. 35m 23s
    1. Creating point text
      4m 4s
    2. Creating area text
      4m 19s
    3. Applying basic character settings
      6m 27s
    4. Applying basic paragraph settings
      4m 4s
    5. Creating text threads
      5m 28s
    6. Creating text on open paths
      5m 18s
    7. Creating text on closed paths
      3m 57s
    8. Converting text to outlines
      1m 46s
  8. 20m 15s
    1. Using the basic selection tools
      7m 53s
    2. Using the Magic Wand and Lasso tools
      6m 34s
    3. Selecting objects by attribute
      2m 38s
    4. Saving and reusing selections
      3m 10s
  9. 40m 35s
    1. Using the Appearance panel
      6m 48s
    2. Targeting object attributes
      3m 26s
    3. Adding multiple attributes
      7m 6s
    4. Applying Live Effects
      8m 9s
    5. Expanding appearances
      4m 48s
    6. Appearance panel settings
      6m 51s
    7. Copying appearances
      3m 27s
  10. 37m 15s
    1. Defining groups
      7m 2s
    2. Editing groups
      5m 28s
    3. Working with layers
      8m 10s
    4. Layer and object hierarchy
      6m 57s
    5. Creating template layers
      2m 3s
    6. Object, group, and layer attributes
      7m 35s
  11. 44m 4s
    1. Applying colors
      3m 18s
    2. Creating solid color swatches
      4m 48s
    3. Creating global process swatches
      5m 1s
    4. Using spot color swatches
      4m 27s
    5. Creating swatch groups and libraries
      6m 50s
    6. Working with linear gradient fills
      6m 34s
    7. Working with radial gradient fills
      2m 19s
    8. Applying and manipulating pattern fills
      4m 51s
    9. Defining simple patterns
      5m 56s
  12. 22m 43s
    1. Moving and copying objects
      2m 1s
    2. Scaling objects
      4m 49s
    3. Rotating objects
      3m 14s
    4. Reflecting and skewing objects
      2m 27s
    5. Using the Free Transform tool
      2m 9s
    6. Aligning objects
      5m 15s
    7. Distributing objects
      2m 48s
  13. 25m 13s
    1. Using a pressure-sensitive tablet
      1m 38s
    2. Using the Calligraphic brush
      6m 10s
    3. Using the Scatter brush
      4m 0s
    4. Using the Art brush
      2m 26s
    5. Using the Pattern brush
      3m 21s
    6. Using the Paintbrush tool
      1m 41s
    7. Using the Blob Brush tool
      3m 42s
    8. Using the Eraser tool
      2m 15s
  14. 16m 36s
    1. Using symbols
      3m 9s
    2. Defining your own symbols
      2m 1s
    3. Editing symbols
      4m 4s
    4. Using the Symbol Sprayer tool
      2m 32s
    5. Using the Symbolism toolset
      4m 50s
  15. 35m 37s
    1. Minding your resolution settings
      6m 15s
    2. Applying basic 3D extrusions
      6m 43s
    3. Applying basic 3D revolves
      2m 31s
    4. Basic artwork mapping
      5m 9s
    5. Using the Stylize effects
      5m 35s
    6. Using the Scribble effect
      5m 43s
    7. Using the Warp effect
      3m 41s
  16. 21m 37s
    1. Placing images
      4m 51s
    2. Using the Links panel
      2m 47s
    3. The Edit Original workflow
      2m 0s
    4. Converting images to vectors with Live Trace
      5m 29s
    5. Rasterizing artwork
      1m 55s
    6. Cropping images with a mask
      4m 35s
  17. 10m 35s
    1. Saving your Illustrator document
      8m 18s
    2. Printing your Illustrator document
      2m 17s
  18. 6m 25s
    1. Exporting files for use in QuarkXPress
      1m 8s
    2. Exporting files for use in InDesign
      39s
    3. Exporting files for use in Word/Excel/PowerPoint
      45s
    4. Exporting files for use in Photoshop
      1m 25s
    5. Exporting files for use in Flash
      1m 15s
    6. Exporting files for use in After Effects
      19s
    7. Migrating from FreeHand
      54s
  19. 2m 23s
    1. Finding additional help
      2m 0s
    2. Goodbye
      23s

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