This post will go over the Adobe Illustrator Path Finder tool. I will be using CS4 for my example. Thanks to Lynda.com for the training lessons. If you are wanting some good extra curricular training I would highly recommend the videos. I have the Illustrator CS4 Essential Training kit and this is one of the things they go over in the video. All images I have created myself while watching the video.
The path finder tool seems like it going to be a VERY useful tool. It allows you to take multiple vector shapes and allows you to combine, subtract and oh so many other things.
First off you have to show the tool to begin with. The “Pathfinder Tool” is in the “Window” drop down menu. To enable it either click it with your mouse or use the shortcut key “Shift+Ctrl+F9”.
Once you do that you will see this box on the screen:
I will go over what each of these items does. I will start on the first row and go right. Once at the end I will start on the second line and make my way over each icon and what it does.
Adobe Illustrator Pathfinder Shape Modes
1.) Unite – Much like the name implies all objects selected would be joined. If the items are filled with a color the item that is at the top of the stack will be the fill color for the merged shape.
2.) Minus Front – This tool will take anything that is on top of the back most item and remove it. If part of the back most object is covered by part of one of the other layers it too is removed.
3.) Intersect – This tool will can only be used on two objects. I decided to select the Red and beige colors and then hit the button. As you can see the object that is left is the parts of the two objects that were overlapping each other. The top most layer always wins.
4.) Exclude – This tool only removes the parts of the objects that were touching. All items that were selected will end up using the top layer’s fill.
Adobe Illustrator Pathfinders
1.) Divide – This tool will break up the object into smaller pieces but will not remove any parts. I moved each piece away from each other just to show you how it cut things up.
2.) Trim – This tool will remove anything that is being covered by an object in front of it.
3.) Merge – This is much like unit but it removes the stroke around the objects and then combines them all into one shape.
4.) Crop – This will allow you to put an object overtop of another one. When you hit crop it will only show the items there were underneath that top most object.
5.) Outline – Will remove the file and turn the outline into open vector lines. To change all three objects black and white I just hit “D” while they were all selected.
6.) Minus Back – Keeps the the front most object but subtracts the object behind it.