12 Replies Latest reply: May 1, 2012 12:18 PM by LGFN1 RSS

    "Outline Stroke"  - I don't get it

    dv8kiwi Community Member
      If I create a line, go Object > Path > Outline Stroke, I get what I expect: the stroke of the line is converted to a filled path. Great! I love it.

      Now if I want to keep the original path, I would assume using the same command in the effects menu would be non-destructive - and there it is: Effects > Path > Outline Stroke.

      When I apply it to my line, it's non-destructive alright, but that's because it does nothing to the stroke! The stroke is still a stroke - not a filled path in sight. There is a new effect "Outline Stroke" in the appearance menu, but it appears totally rendundant. Double-clicking it does nothing. And there, in the layers palette, where my original path used to be, my original path still is! There is no new path, no new group or compound path - nothing.

      And there is no mention of the "Outline Stroke" effect in the manual. Anywhere.

      So as far as I can tell, this is a purely cosmetic addition to the effects menu, designed to get us excited by possibilities, but in fact completely useless.

      Can anybody tell me if they have discovered what this effect actually does, and why it is not named differently to another menu item we all know and love?
        • 1. Re: "Outline Stroke"  - I don't get it
          Teri_P Community Member

          All live effects apply only to how the previewed art is generated. None of them cause changes to the selectable art or generate additional selectable art.

          To get access to the modified art, you need to do an Expand Appearance. If you do an Expand Appearance on your path that you have applied a live Outline Stroke command to, you will see that the expanded appearance contains a filled shape instead of a stroked shape.

          Why would someone want to outline a stroke as a live effect when a preview of an outlined stroke should look the same as a preview of that same stroke before outlining? (Discounting deficiencies in Outline Stroke such as its inability to handle dashes.)

          The answer is that all by itself, it is not much use. But when combined with other effects, it is.

          For example, make an object with a very thick stroke, like 30 pts wide. Duplicate that object. To one of the copies, apply an Outline Stroke effect. Now to both of them, apply a Zig-Zag effect. Move the Zig-Zag effect down to below the Outline Stroke effect. (By default, Zig-Zag is applied above the paint layers.) On the stroke that has the Outline effect, the zigzags will be applied to each edge of the stroke separately. On the one where it doesn't, the zigzags will be applied to the centerline path.

          Here are some interesting effects you can achieve by compounding this notion:

          The Outline Stroke effect can also be useful in conjunction with the Pathfinder effects. Kurt Gold has posted some cool examples of those.

          Here are a couple of links:

          vice86, "Can strokes be gradated?" #, 30 Oct 2005 7:30 am

          Scott Falkner, "Effect to release compound" #, 17 Aug 2005 11:23 am

          (Unfortunately Scott seems to have removed his images that he linked to, but Kurt's are still working.)

          See also the file "Outline Effects demo.ai" in this folder:


          As far as preserving a copy of your unoutlined stroke, the easiest way is probably just to copy-paste in front, and then outline the top copy.
          • 2. Re: "Outline Stroke"  - I don't get it
            dv8kiwi Community Member
            Thanks again, Teri, for clarifying that for me. OK, I think I get it - the "Outline Stroke" Effect can only have effects applied to it. It cannot be stroked or filled.

            All I was trying to do was outline a stroke in order to apply a stroke to the outline and perhaps fill the path with a gradient, and still edit the original path and have my "live" effect update changes.

            This is what I would consider to be a predictable result from an "Outline Stroke" effect, because that is the result of the "Outline Stroke" command. I see the effect is useful for deeper AI magic. Perhaps they should have named the effect slightly differently.
            • 3. Re: "Outline Stroke"  - I don't get it
              Teri_P Community Member

              Usually just stacking two strokes with the bottom one being thicker looks very similar to stroking a stroke.

              One of the threads that I linked to shows how the Outline Stroke effect can be used to fill a stroke with a gradient, live.
              • 4. Re: "Outline Stroke"  - I don't get it
                dv8kiwi Community Member
                Thanks Teri. Yes, got those examples - they're very cool. Yours too.

                • 5. Re: "Outline Stroke"  - I don't get it
                  Kurt Gold Community Member
                  Another situation where the Outline Stroke Effect can be used as part of a kind of Live Paint for those who haven't yet decided to upgrade to AI CS 2 is available here in post 3:

                  Although this example primarily describes the technique on the basis of Brush Strokes, applying the Outline Stroke Effect to common strokes would also work. Don't forget to read James' comprehensive instructions of how to get the basic idea because I missed to write that important part and was only providing a sample file that could cause confusions as it just includes a sketch, but no step by step descriptions.

                  Kurt Gold, "fill brush stokes ?" #3, 23 Sep 2005 7:51 am

                  Another thing that is worth to be mentioned is that Envelopes Distorts do recognize the Outline Stroke Effect when applied to stroked objects, that is, one can distort them as if they were filled objects. Useful sometimes.
                  • 6. Re: "Outline Stroke"  - I don't get it
                    dv8kiwi Community Member
                    Thank you Kurt. When that object has no actual fill or stroke I find the concept of distortion in that virtual space difficult to get my head around.

                    Piece of cake for someone like Stephen Hawking I'm sure ;)

                    I have found your work with effects helpful, your understanding of them is impressive. Thanks.
                    • 7. Re: "Outline Stroke"  - I don't get it
                      Community Member
                      hello, this is a test msg
                      • 8. Re: "Outline Stroke"  - I don't get it
                        Community Member
                        okay this is something i don't understand, I create an outline stroke on any of my lines and when it's a filled stroke, i go in to move some of the nodes with the white arrow and it splits the nodes into two nodes... how can i get it so that there's only one node?
                        thanks- heather
                        • 9. Re: "Outline Stroke"  - I don't get it
                          Scott Falkner Community Member
                          Heather? Are you using CS3? ALWAYS tell us the version number of the programs you are using. We cannot help you if we don't know what you have.

                          If you are using CS3 you have discovered a bug that was introduced in that version and never fixed in an update, and never will be. The only fix is to give Adobe some money and upgrade to ¢$4, which will of course introduce new bugs that may or may not be corrected with ¢$5.
                          • 10. Re: "Outline Stroke"  - I don't get it
                            Community Member
                            this is CS3, I apologize.
                            • 11. Re: "Outline Stroke"  - I don't get it
                              Bert-Bert Community Member
                              >this is CS3, I apologize

                              Wow, CS3 apologizing...