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In the previous movie we talked about utilizing basic shapes inside of Illustrator to mock up things like web banners and things like that. In this movie I'm going to be exploring how to take those basic shapes even a step further to create some more complex shapes utilizing something called the Pathfinder panel. Now this is something that a lot of people don't really understand, and I think it's very highly underused. So let's take a look at it now and see how we can turn these basic shapes, and that's all they are-- it's just shapes, you can see-- and we're going to take these shapes and turn them into a robot.
So I'm going to go to the Window menu and I'm going to bring up Pathfinder and Pathfinder comes up here. and I think what gets people a little thrown off is the fact that the path finder has all of these different buttons associated with it, and really no descriptors as to what these buttons do, and the little icons don't make a whole lot of sense when it comes to exactly what's going to happen. But if we take a look at the shape modes up at the top, when you hover over them, they do give you somewhat of an idea of what's going to happen. So Unite, it's going to create a compound shape and add to shape area.
You can minus the front. That means whatever object is in front of the object that you have currently selected, as long as you have both of them selected at the same time, it's going to be subtracted, or cut out, from the back object. Then you can also intersect, which means it's going to keep the intersected area of the shapes. And then of course we have the Exclude option, which means wherever they overlap, exclude that area please. And basically the ones that I use most often are Unite and Minus Front. We also have Pathfinder operations underneath here which can divide things into separate pieces, trim them, merge them together, crop them, outline them, and also minus the back.
So we have Minus Front. Here we have Minus Back down here. So totally up to you which one you use, but in this case I'm going to be utilizing Unite and Minus Front. So the first thing I'm going to do is I'm going to start building the basic shapes of the robot. And so the shapes that aren't going to change necessarily are going to be the body, and I have to make the decision on if I want the body and the neck to be the same color. In this case I don't, so what I'm going to do is just keep the body as its own separate piece, and then I'm going to select the neck pieces by just click and dragging the selection around them, like so.
Once I do that, I can then unite those into one single shape by clicking the Unite button, and when I do that, they turn into one single shape, just like so. I'm then going to select the head, I'll hold down Shift, and I'll select the ears on either side. I'm also going to select this circle up top, the stem of the antenna, the little ball on top of the antenna, and I'm going to unite those as well. Now, it's going to appear that these come forward, and they do, in the stacking order. That's okay.
You can right-click, choose Arrange, and you can say Send to Back and they'll go right back where they came from, just like so. Then I'm going to select the mouth, and I'll select the head. I want the mouth to be a cutout from the head, so I'm going to choose Minus Front. Now, again, this is going to look like it jumped forward, and it did. If you want to easily send this backwards, just hold down the Command key on Mac, the Ctrl key on PC, and press the left square bracket key until it goes all the way back, just like so.
Now we'll take the eyes. And I'm going to do these individually, so I'm going to select the eyes like this, and I'll choose Minus Front. That's just going to leave a hole right there. Do the same thing over here, Shift+Click. Minus Front. Here we go. And so now I've got just the rings of the eyes, got the mouth, got that and the body all ready to go. So let's add some color to this and see exactly what we've come up with. So I'm going to click the body down here at the bottom and I'll give it an orange color.
Turn the Stroke off. Here we go. The neck, I'm going to give it sort of a dark gray. And you can pick whatever colors you want. The top, the head piece, I'm going to give this no stroke, and sort of light gray, like this. You can see kind of how it's come together. And now the last piece is the eyes. Give those no stroke, and maybe we could fill those with a darker gray like so.
And so there we have a nice little robot shape that we've created, and now all of this stuff is selectable and able to be moved and scaled individually from each other, and the pieces that needed to be united are united. And it's a very awesome way to crate complex artwork using just the basic shapes. If I hadn't used Pathfinder, I would have known how to draw all of this stuff with either the Pen tool, the Pencil tool, or some other method. And I find it a lot easier just to use basic shapes and then combine them using something like the Pathfinder panel to create even more complex artwork.
It makes it look like I did a lot more work than I actually did.
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