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Need help separating single object based on background objects

Aug 1, 2012 10:03 AM

I am working with a vector puzzle file that is going to have a design overlaid on top of it. This puzzle is eventually going to be CNC'd into large wooden pieces with the overlaid design engraved halfway into the wood.


Each puzzle piece in this vector image is a separate object and I eventually need to pull them all apart with the design that will be engraved on top of them in a different stroke color. In other words, in the attached example image, I would need to eventually be able to pull, say the top right piece away, leaving me with the single puzzle piece in a black stroke, and the small purple part intersecting the piece.


Is there any easy way to do this? I do not have that much experience with these type of things in illustrator. Any help would be greatly appreciated!



  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 1, 2012 10:42 AM   in reply to sean.mateer
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    Aug 1, 2012 10:50 AM   in reply to sean.mateer

    Select all without the circle in front and Copy (Ctrl + C).

    Make sure the puzzle pieces have fill color. From your image I can't tell if they have a white fill or none. If none, add a fill color.

    Select all and in the Pathfinder panel click the Crop button (4th in the bottom row)

    Ungroup (Shift + Ctrl + U)

    Paste Behind (Ctrl + B)

    If you like select each cut piece of the circle and the puzzle piece behind it and Group them (Ctrl + G)


    if using a mac use the corresponding keys.


    edit: Hi Jongware,

    looks like a cool script

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    Aug 1, 2012 1:57 PM   in reply to sean.mateer

    > We will see if my computer explodes with the 25 by 20 foot 500 piece puzzle I need to make.


    Ah ...


    Here's how it works -- you might need to know that. The bulk of the script creates the random puzzle pieces. It was a bit of fun trying to make each part just a bit different while still keeping a coherent single piece -- too much derivation of the default shape, and you might get a broken off corner. After the hard work is done, it copies *the entire artwork* into each of the pieces ... (they are used as clipping masks).


    That means that if your artwork consists of 10MB of vector artwork, dividing it up into "500" pieces, your document will actually contain 500 complete copies and thus swell to a formidbl.. fromibad ... grand total of 5GB!


    Your system might be able to deal with such a size, but if not: create the main jigsaw pieces using a blank rectangle, and then go over each of them with the pathfinder, so all excess objects are discarded. ... Times 500, that is.

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    Aug 2, 2012 10:16 AM   in reply to sean.mateer

    Try and see what the Pathfinder can produce? I know it has a "cut objects below" function hidden somehwere.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 2, 2012 10:41 AM   in reply to sean.mateer

    Have you tried using the Direct Selection tool, then selecting one of the 'invisible' objects and Select > Same Fill and Stroke  and then deleting?



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