How to use the Pathfinder Tool to manipulate shapes.
When to use
The Pathfinder is one of the most powerful tools in Illustrator for combining/merging or subtracting shapes from one another. It contains quite a few different options that can be used to create a wide variety of options for making new and interesting shapes.
- Begin by opening the The Pathfinder - Exercise.ai file
- In the document you will notice that there are 8 copies of two overlapping circles.
- Use your Selection Tool(V) to click and drag around the first set of circles on the top left.
- Next, go to the Window Menu and choose the 'Pathfinder' option from the list.
- With your first two circles still selected, click on the first option in the Pathfinder - Unite.
- Notice that now both of your circles are joined together into one shape.
- Grab the second set of overlapping circles and try the next option in the Pathfinder - Minus Front.
- Repeat this process by selecting a group of circles and applying one of the Pathfinder settings to see what each of them do and how they affect the shapes.
- Create some text and then convert it to outlines by selecting it and going to the Type Menu before choosing 'Create Outlines' from the list.
- Use your Pen Tool to draw a shape on top of your text so that it overlaps one of the letters.
- Grab your Selection Tool and click and drag around both the newly created shape and the outlined text.
- Try the Merge or Unite option found under the Pathfinder Panel to combine your outlined text with your shape.
- You can also experiment with some of the other options to see what kind of results it will produce.
- The Pathfinder Tool can be used to join together shapes, but it can also be used to unite outlined text that has a fill and an outline to create a heavier or more bold appearance and unifying it into one solid shape.
- You can also use the Pathfinder Tool to knock a shape out of another shape, or outlined text.
- You can add as few or as many shapes as you want before using the Pathfinder to merge or unite them together into one.
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