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033 Learning Pathfinder Tips and Tricks

From: InDesign FX

Video: 033 Learning Pathfinder Tips and Tricks

Let's start by looking at this gear shape. Can you imagine trying to draw all of this with the Pen tool? It would take you forever and you still might not end up with the exact look that you want. But if you pause and really look at it, try to see each individual shape and then you might start to see how you could use the Pathfinder tools to make this. Overall it seems sort of like a starburst effect but with all the sharp points snipped off. And then I have a series of circles that make up these rings and the circle in the middle. And then I have these wedge shapes which sort of seem like triangles that have been combined with the circles.

033 Learning Pathfinder Tips and Tricks

Let's start by looking at this gear shape. Can you imagine trying to draw all of this with the Pen tool? It would take you forever and you still might not end up with the exact look that you want. But if you pause and really look at it, try to see each individual shape and then you might start to see how you could use the Pathfinder tools to make this. Overall it seems sort of like a starburst effect but with all the sharp points snipped off. And then I have a series of circles that make up these rings and the circle in the middle. And then I have these wedge shapes which sort of seem like triangles that have been combined with the circles.

If you think like this, you can start to see simple shapes combined together, you can make anything, including this gear shape. It's sort of like solving a puzzle and it's actually kind of fun. I'll start by taking my Polygon tool and I'll click in my document and I'll create a polygon that's 300 pixels wide and tall with 30 sides and a Star Inset of 20%. So it's basically a starburst effect that we start with. Then I want to cut off the sharp tips of all the stars, so I'll go to my Object menu, choose Corner Options, and I'll choose a Bevel, and click OK.

And immediately it starts looking less like a starburst and more like a gear. Next I want to copy this and choose Edit > Paste in Place or Command+Shift+Option+V, Ctrl+Shift+Alt +V, so I have a second copy right on top of the old one. Then I'll go up to my Object menu and choose Convert Shape > Ellipse to make it into a circle. Now I want to scale this down a little bit. I'm going to make those holes that are punched out of the gear shape. And I'm going to start by making this a little bit smaller than the overall gear shape. So I'll hold down Command+Shift+Option, Ctrl+Shift+Alt, and scale from the center of the object.

I'll click and drag down and scale it to about there. And let's add a stroke so I can see what I'm doing a little bit better. Let's target the stroke and give it a little black stroke. I'll copy it and paste it in place again and I'm going to make another circle, slightly smaller than this one. I'll Command+Shift+Option+Drag, Ctrl+ Shift+Alt+Drag again to scale from the center, down to about there. I'll Shift+Click to select both circles and head over to the Pathfinder panel. Now I'm going to subtract the smaller circle from the larger one, so I'll press the Subtract button. Now I have sort of a donut shape.

If I move it out here, we can see what's going on. That's what I want, so I'll undo to put it back where I need it, I'll copy it, paste it in place. And now I'm going to convert it into a triangle by choosing Object > Convert Shape > Triangle. I'm going to reduce the width of this triangle down to about 100 pixels. And what I'm trying to do now is to create these curved wedge shapes that are cut out of the gear shape. I'm going to click and drag straight down holding the Shift key to constrain until the top of my triangle is right at the center of my gear shape.

And I'm going to create more triangles rotated all the way around the circle. I'm going to do that with my Rotate tool. First I'll make sure that the Reference Point is set to the top center, then I'll double-click on the Rotate tool and I'll use this angle, 72 degrees, because I want five copies of the triangle rotated around the 360 degrees of the circle. For the first one I'll click Copy. for the rest of them, I'm going to press a keyboard shortcut, Command+Option+4 or Ctrl+Alt+4, to transform again. There I have my copies.

I'll press V to get my Selection tool again, and I'll Shift+Click to select all of the triangles, plus once on the donut shape. Then I want to subtract all the triangles from the donut shape, so in the Pathfinder panel, I'll click Subtract. Yeah, those are cool. Now I'll Shift+Click to select the gear shape and I'll click Subtract again. Now I just what one more thing. I want a hole right in the center of the gear. So I'll Copy, Paste In Place, and then Command+Shift+Option+Drag, Control+Shift+Alt+Drag to reduce this in size and down to the center.

I'll choose Object > Convert Shape, to an ellipse, because I want a circular hole, and then I'll Shift+Click on the gear shape, and one more time I'll press Subtract. There! There's my gear shape. Now let's make it a little more realistic. We'll add some effects, like a Bevel and Emboss. I'll double-click to bring up the dialog box, click on Bevel and Emboss, and I'll choose an Inner Bevel, with a Technique of Chisel Hard, and I'll reduce the size a little bit. There! That looks good.

I'll click OK and there's my gear shape. Let's try another trick. Here I have a couple of interesting frames that sort of fit together with this nice wavy side, and I did this with the Pathfinder tools. Let's see how. Starting from a simple rectangle, I'll press the A key on my keyboard to get the Direct Selection tool and I'll click on the bottom left anchor point. Then I'll hold down Command+Option, Control+Alt to get my Convert Direction Point tool and I'll click and drag up. I'll keep these keys held down and I'll click on the outer direction handle to snip it off.

And once again, holding Command+ Option, Ctrl+Alt, I'll drag on the bottom right anchor point to drag out direction handles, and then I'll click on the outside one to snip it off. And that gives me the nice wavy shape at the bottom of my frame. I'll press the V key to get my Selection tool again, I'll copy this, I'll choose Edit > Paste in Place, so I have a copy right on top of the original, then I'll choose Object > Convert Shape > Rectangle. And then I'll Shift+Drag it down. I'll Shift+Click to select both frames.

And in the Pathfinder panel, I'll choose Minus back to subtract the original frame from the lower frame. Now I'll choose Edit > Paste in Place to put my original frame back and I'll drag the bottom one down to separate them a little bit. Now I have this nice wavy area where the two frames sort of fit together. Now I can paste some content in and make a little design, so I'll copy this picture of the boat and paste it into the top frame. And I'll scale it a little bit up so it fits. There we go! That's pretty cool. Let's try another trick.

Not only can we create interesting shapes, we can also solve some problems that can happen when we transform objects that we've applied effects to. Now here I have two crescent shapes that I have applied a Bevel and Emboss and a Drop Shadow to. And the angle is the same on both of these effects. it's 90 degrees, meaning that the light is shining straight down on these objects from above. Now if I take the left crescent shape and say I want it to rotate it 180 degrees, I could click on the Rotate buttons in the Control panel couple of times to rotate it around.

But wait. Look at the problem I've just created. I still have the drop shadow, but the drop shadow won't rotate at all. So now I have a drop shadow underneath and I have a beveled highlight right next to it. That doesn't make any sense. How could I have a highlight and a shadow right next to each other? But I can use the Pathfinder commands to fix this. I'll just press the F key on my keyboard to get my Rectangle Frame tool and I'll click and drag a small shape that fits entirely inside the crescent shape, and I'll double-click on my Eyedropper tool.

I'll make sure that all my settings are turned on so the eyedropper will grab any attribute of an object that I click on. I'll click OK, and then I'll click on my crescent shape. What I want to do here is grab the fill and all the effects, the strokes, everything to do with this crescent shape, so these two objects match. The small one and the crescent shape have everything in common. I'll select both shapes and I'll choose Pathfinder > Add. And when I add the two shapes together, the beveling from that small object takes precedence, because that was sitting on top of the crescent shape.

So now my effects are in sync. The lighting is consistent from the top again, so I have my rotated crescent with a highlight at the top and the drop shadow at the bottom. Nice! Let's do another variation on this trick. Say I wanted this crescent shape flipped horizontally. So I'll press the Flip Horizontal button on the Control panel. And if I wanted to fill this with type, I could press the T key or my keyboard and click in it, and choose Type > Fill with Placeholder Text. But wait, look what happened. because I flipped the crescent shape, the type is flipped too. That's no good.

I want type that people can actually read. So I can use the same Pathfinder > Add command to fix this backwards type. I'll undo and deselect, I'll press the F key on my keyboard to get my Frame tool, click and drag a small shape that fits inside the crescent shape, I'll press the I key to get my Eyedropper, and click on the crescent shape to grab all its attributes. Then I'll press the V key to get my Selection tool and Shift+Click to select both objects, and then I'll choose Pathfinder > Add.

I've added the two shapes together, and now this crescent is no longer flipped. If I look in the Control panel, I see the P has its normal orientation. It's not flipped. So now I can press the T key to get my Type tool, click in the frame, and fill it with placeholder text, and it's not backwards. Awesome! The Pathfinder commands can help you draw interesting shapes precisely, like gears and wavy frames that we saw in this video. And they can also help you straighten out conflicting effects that can occur when you transform an object.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for InDesign FX
InDesign FX

109 video lessons · 37248 viewers

Mike Rankin
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 8h 7m
    1. 000 Welcome to InDesign FX
      2m 42s
    2. 001 Blurring Objects with Drop Shadows
      6m 26s
    3. 002 Creating Interlocking Objects
      3m 46s
    4. 003 Exploring the Effects Panel
      8m 43s
    5. 004 Creating Long Text Shadows with Type on a Path
      4m 23s
    6. 005 Making Shiny Effects
      4m 46s
    7. 006 Producing Slime
      6m 22s
    8. 007 Exploring Bevel and Emboss Settings
      5m 34s
    9. 008 Exploring Inner Glow Settings
      2m 9s
    10. 009 Building Better Bevels
      3m 16s
    11. 010 Punching Holes
      4m 26s
    12. 011 Exploring Basic Feather Settings
      2m 52s
    13. 012 Exploring Directional Feather Settings
      5m 15s
    14. 013 Getting Effects into Print
      8m 10s
    15. 014 Getting Effects into Ebooks
      4m 32s
    16. 015 Simulating a Polaroid Effect
      3m 15s
    17. 016 Creating Metallic Strokes
      3m 18s
    18. 017 Exploring Inner Shadow Settings
      3m 50s
    19. 018 Exploring Drop Shadow Settings
      6m 15s
    20. 019 Simulating Multiple Strokes, Part 1
      3m 59s
    21. 020 Simulating Multiple Strokes, Part 2
      3m 29s
    22. 021 Creating Metallic Chrome Effects
      3m 56s
    23. 022 Creating Glass and Plastic Effects
      4m 49s
    24. 023 Exploring Satin Settings
      6m 57s
    25. 024 Exploring Gradient Feather Settings
      3m 51s
    26. 025 Simulating Carving and Chiseling
      6m 42s
    27. 026 Understanding Transparency Blend Space
      8m 2s
    28. 027 Drawing Extrusions, Part 1
      5m 25s
    29. 028 Drawing Concentric Shapes
      3m 17s
    30. 029 Creative Blend Mode tricks, Part 1
      5m 29s
    31. 030 Creative Blend Mode tricks, Part 2
      4m 6s
    32. 031 Drawing Star Bursts
      6m 7s
    33. 032 Scaling effects
      3m 0s
    34. 033 Learning Pathfinder Tips and Tricks
      9m 10s
    35. 034 Learning Transform Again Tips and Tricks
      6m 39s
    36. 035 Creating Cast Shadows, Part 1
      5m 27s
    37. 036 Exploring Outer Glow Settings
      6m 45s
    38. 037 Understanding Perspective Drawing
      4m 38s
    39. 038 Drawing 3D Banners
      3m 23s
    40. 039 Shearing to Create 3D Effects, Part 1
      6m 41s
    41. 040 Shearing to Create 3D Effects, Part 2
      6m 20s
    42. 041 Simulating a Ripped Background
      1m 53s
    43. 042 Creating a Breakthrough Effect
      2m 10s
    44. 043 Creating Spotlight Effects
      2m 22s
    45. 044 Backlighting an Object
      6m 8s
    46. 045 Simulating Stickers and Tape
      4m 23s
    47. 046 Creating Burnt Edges
      6m 26s
    48. 047 Creating Seamless Patterns
      8m 39s
    49. 048 Using Scripts to Create New Shapes
      6m 40s
    50. 049 Simulating Liquid
      2m 48s
    51. 050 Creating Editable Knockout Text
      5m 52s
    52. 051 Making Peeling Stickers
      5m 42s
    53. 052 Tips for Text Stroke Effects
      6m 44s
    54. 053 Creating 3D arrows
      3m 37s
    55. 054 Creating personal buttons
      4m 22s
    56. 055 Simulating leather with bevel and emboss
      4m 17s
    57. 056 Creating the effect of a magnifying glass
      4m 20s
    58. 057 Simulating a college notebook
      6m 11s
    59. 058 Using multiple effects to create plastic type
      3m 58s
    60. 059 Achieving a rough-hewn look
      2m 28s
    61. 060 Creating speech bubbles
      2m 41s
    62. 061 Creating buttons for interaction
      4m 37s
    63. 062 Creating wraparound headings
      5m 46s
    64. 063 Creating picture frames
      3m 24s
    65. 064 Customizing stroke styles
      5m 19s
    66. 065 Creating photo corners
      3m 44s
    67. 066 Making new shadow effects
      3m 19s
    68. 067 Making 3D type
      3m 15s
    69. 068 Making a 3D object
      5m 13s
    70. 069 Making translucent objects
      3m 10s
    71. 070 Mocking up a film strip
      4m 53s
    72. 071 Showing graphics as tiles
      3m 41s
    73. 072 Simulating chalk
      3m 7s
    74. 073 Using drop- and inner-shadows to create a cutout effect
      4m 30s
    75. 074 Applying multiple strokes with layers
      7m 1s
    76. 075 Enhancing design with skewed text
      3m 59s
    77. 076 Creating and revealing hidden objects
      3m 33s
    78. 077 Setting text vertically
      2m 51s
    79. 078 Achieving a developing Polaroid effect
      3m 38s
    80. 079 Creating ornamental frames
      5m 54s
    81. 080 Framing photos in letters
      4m 19s
    82. 081 Creating effects with paragraph rules
      3m 30s
    83. 082 Putting curved shadows on paper
      2m 40s
    84. 083 Building a puzzle
      2m 16s
    85. 084 Applying a gradient to text
      2m 2s
    86. 085 Creating a theater marquee
      4m 38s
    87. 086 Centering type on a curve
      2m 33s
    88. 087 Creating looks without fill
      2m 31s
    89. 088 Creating spiral patters from random lines
      3m 11s
    90. 089 Creating highlights at top and bottom
      3m 24s
    91. 090 Combining stroke styles
      2m 11s
    92. 091 Making a bottle cap
      1m 47s
    93. 092 Creating a 3D bevel effect behind a cover
      3m 30s
    94. 094 Making trading cards
      4m 43s
    95. 093 Creating custom frames
      2m 11s
    96. 095 Revolving an item around an object
      2m 44s
    97. 096 Creating old-fashioned spotlights
      2m 12s
    98. 097 Creating a rust effect
      1m 44s
    99. 098 Creating sparkle
      1m 54s
    100. 099 Double beveling text
      2m 24s
    101. 100 Creating a 3D pocket with bevel and gradient
      3m 2s
    102. 101 Creating metallic text
      3m 7s
    103. 102 Creating stained glass
      2m 53s
    104. 103 Bobbling a photograph
      4m 47s
    105. 104 Creating a lighted sign
      3m 9s
    106. 105 Creating a blue ribbon NEW
      12m 58s
    107. 106 Putting items on a shelf NEW
      6m 11s
    108. 107 Creating a shredded-document effect NEW
      4m 12s
    109. 108 Simulating a train-station display board NEW
      9m 54s

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