7 Replies Latest reply: Feb 20, 2009 10:18 AM by Harron K. Appleman RSS

    Knockout In Illustrator

    mikeadobe Community Member
      How do i take a line of text and subtract it from another object, in Illustrator?

      http://i223.photobucket.com/albums/dd286/freefileinc/photoshop_knockout.gif
        • 1. Re: Knockout In Illustrator
          Harron K. Appleman Community Member
          In AI 12 (CS2): Pathfinder | Subtract from shape area



          The example above shows three objects -- red and black rectangles and text (from bottom to top). Pathfinder subtract was applied with black rectangle and text selected. Bottom example is a copy with black rectangle displaced. Note that text remains live (editable).

          There are other ways to do this in Illustrator.

          Please state Illustrator version in future posts.
          • 2. Re: Knockout In Illustrator
            mikeadobe Community Member
            I'm usually quite specific in my posts, this one is just frustrating as it should be quite simple, I'm just missing something.

            Illustrator CS4
            • 3. Re: Knockout In Illustrator
              Harron K. Appleman Community Member
              In the following screen capture, I have again two identical sets of three objects as described above. In the bottom copy, I have done nothing more than change the color of the base rectangle.



              AI 14 (CS4) pathfinder buttons behave slightly differently, I've been told. Someone with the newer version will have to confirm the action of the Subtract from shape function.
              • 4. Re: Knockout In Illustrator
                mikeadobe Community Member
                Thanks for your help. I couldn't figure out how to do it with the pathfinder but I was able to achieve the desired effect with a opacity mask.

                Applies to CS4 (most likely CS3), not certain on previous versions.

                1. Make your shape
                2. Place your text on top, color it either white or black
                3. select the text layer, choose Edit>> Cut
                4. Select the shape
                5. Choose Window>> Transparency
                6. If you don't see a thumbnail image of your shape in the Transparency window, click the menu icon in the upper right hand corner and and choose show thumbnails.
                7. In the same menu choose Make Opacity Mask
                8. A black box will appear next to the thumbnail of your shape. (this is the mask) Next to that are 2 check boxes. [ ]Clip [ ]Invert Mask
                9. Uncheck [ ]Clip. If your text is white check [x]Invert Mask, if it is white leave it unchecked.
                10. Click the mask thumbnail and choose Edit>> Paste in Front.
                (note: paste in front, while pasting in front also acts like "paste in place" in indesign)
                11.The text the background layers should now be visible through the shape where the text is.
                12. Click the shape thumbnail to enter back in the document (nothing but the mask is editable when the mask thumbnail is selected, including all other layers). Click the mask thumbnail to edit the mask.
                (note: The opacity mask is not limited to text, it can be any black, white or gray tone shape)

                Alternatively, if you want to actually subtract the text from a shape:
                1.Place the text over the shape, (color doesn't mater) but place it exactly where you want it to be subtracted from.
                2. Select the text, right click it and choose Create Outlines
                3. With all the text still selected, right click again and choose ungroup.
                This is the important step
                4. With all the text still selected, right click once more and choose Release Compound Path.
                (note: don't worry about letters like aA bB dD... etc, having solid holes.
                5. Select all the text and the shape it is to be "subtracted from"
                6. Right click the selection and choose Make Compound Path.
                7. The text should now be "punched out" of the layer and the letter "holes" should be respectfully filled in.
                8. If you do not see the 'Make Compound Path' option than most likely one of your letters is still a compound path. 4 is important because if you simply convert your text to paths and try to make it a compound path with another shape it will not work as the letters themselves are compound paths and you can not make a compound path with a path that is already a compound path.
                • 5. Re: Knockout In Illustrator
                  Harron K. Appleman Community Member
                  As I stated in my first post, there are many ways to do this in Illustrator. I find the pathfinder method the easiest, especially if you want to keep the text 'live.'

                  If you expand appearance after using subtract from shape area, you end up with outlined text and a compound path -- the same end result as your second method.

                  Are you using Pathfinder from the Effect menu or the pathfinder palette (aka panel)? (These are not the same things.) If the former, try the latter. Again, apologies if things are different in AI 14.
                  • 6. Re: Knockout In Illustrator
                    mikeadobe Community Member
                    That's the confusion. Yes the Pathfinder 'Effect' from the Effects menu.

                    I think palette and panel are the same thing, they just changed the terminology at some point. But 'palette/panel' verses 'menu option' makes sense.

                    The other issue was grouping.

                    http://help.adobe.com/en_US/Illustrator/14.0/WS714a382cdf7d304e7e07d0100196cbc5f-645aa.htm l#WS714a382cdf7d304e7e07d0100196cbc5f-6459a

                    Apply a Pathfinder effect using the Effects menu
                    1. Do one of the following:
                    *Group together the objects you want to use, and select the group.
                    *Move the objects you want to use into a separate layer, and target the layer.
                    2. Choose Effect > Pathfinder and choose a Pathfinder effect.

                    Doing that, worked exactly like you demonstrated.

                    I don't quite see how the 'expand appearance' method would work, but:

                    Using 'Minus Front' (shape mode) from the Pathfinder palette:
                    1.Place the text over the shape, (color doesn't mater) but place it exactly where you want it to be subtracted from.
                    2. Select the text, right click it and choose Create Outlines
                    3. Select all the text and the shape it is to be "subtracted from"
                    4. Press the 'Minus Front' button on the Pathfinder palette.

                    Is a much faster way to create the compound path than I previously stated.
                    • 7. Re: Knockout In Illustrator
                      Harron K. Appleman Community Member
                      >I think palette and panel are the same thing, they just changed the terminology at some point.

                      Yes. 'aka' is an abbreviation for 'also known as.' Sorry for the confusion, and damn Adobe (the company, not you) for these silly terminology changes.