Hi all, I am currently using a software that allows me to select a line or a whole section like the image on the left, then I can tell it to explode the lines at 5mm for example. The image on the right shows the result with the center lines gone and a new set of lines have been drawn around each piece. This feature is very handy for creating sandblasted glass designs etc. Can I do something like this with Illustrator? I have CS5.1 but haven't managed to find out how to do this yet
yes you can. Use Expand Apperance with fill and stroke options checked. make sure your original stroke is the thickness you desire your "explosion" or expansion to be. Choose two colors that are obviously different from the background for your fill and stroke attributes. Once you have done that you will Expand and then use the Pathfinder palette to "Weld" (Unite?) your pieces together. You will notice if you do View>Preview that the pieces overlap if you don't take this step and once you do in View>Preview you will see they do look finished.
Edit for above...
Use the pathfinder's unite before the 2 steps above.
or the new shape builder for CS5 and higher.
edit again, these steps will create an outline round the entire shape making the shapes look like 1 peice. Play around with the pathfinder to get different results. Hopefully thats the end of my editing. lol.
There is another simple way to create this effect:
Make a stroke: Black 12 pt.
Go to the Appearance Panel and add another stroke above it: White 8 pt.
In the Graphic Styles Panel add a new style.
In the Layers Panel click on the small circle next to the Layer name.
Go to the Graphic Styles Panel and select the style you have just created.
You have added a style to the Layer.
Now every objet that you draw on that layer will give you the result you wanted.
This is also a good technique to draw crossing roads on maps (instead of viaducts).
Europe, Middle East and Africa