21 Replies Latest reply on Jul 31, 2009 8:55 AM by minimum99

    How to cut a hole that is part of a compound path

    minimum99 Level 1

      I have spent many hours using all the tools available in Illustrator CS4 to reshape the hole that is part of a compound path with no success.

      The compound path consists of a square with a round hole, I want to for example, cut the round hole in half. Erase, Knife, Pathfinder do not work. I can do it if first release the compound path, cut the round hole, then make compound path again. While this method is easy for this example but not good for very complex drawing, because it would be too time consuming to convert back and forth the compound paths and remembering which holes belong to which compound path. Please help. I am to the point where I am willing to spend money to get a good cutting tool plugin, any reccomendation?

        • 1. Re: How to cut a hole that is part of a compound path
          PrepressPro1 Adobe Community Professional

          If you want to edit the circle which knocks out the center of a square, say cut the circle in half. Just direct select the two quarter circle vectors and delete them. Then you need to direct select the two points at each end of the now semi-circle and join them (Command+J). It may help at times to toggle the preview mode (Command+Y) better to see the vectors.

          • 2. Re: How to cut a hole that is part of a compound path
            Jacob Bugge MVP & Adobe Community Professional

            It is enough to DirectSelect and delete the Anchor Point not wanted and then just Ctrl+J.

             

            Possibly more appropriate in other connexions, you can use the Delete Anchor Point Tool and (Shift)Drag the handles (in) as wished. It is easier to find if the Compound Path is selected.

            • 3. Re: How to cut a hole that is part of a compound path
              minimum99 Level 1

              Thank you, your method works great for the example I have given, but most of my projects involve many compound paths (generated from live trace), each with many holes, and I wanted to quickly reshape these holes. I wish the eraser tool allows you to partly erase these knockouts without adding extra paths as it does currently, which is a useful thing in itself, but would'nt it be nice to be able to configure the eraser tool to erase only the paths not the filled area and the paths. The only thing I can do for now as you have reccommended is to direct select and move the anchor points then rejoining them; this take too long and not as easy to reshape simple shape into more complex shape and vice versa, I hope there is another quicker and more freehand method to do this.

              • 4. Re: How to cut a hole that is part of a compound path
                PrepressPro1 Adobe Community Professional

                There may very well be quicker more effective ways to do what you need to do in the files you have. More like freehand… I don't know about that. I have tried to give you a simple method, easily explained and if this gets you one step closer to knowing and understanding the tools… You might want to work on your Illustrator chops. The more you know about the tools in Illustrator the more creative you will get at manipulating art in it. I remember years ago when I learned Illustrator, and went to work for a guy who was a complete Freehand nut. He pushed every Freehand job onto my desk he could, I got better at Freehand fast. But I think it sometimes comes down to the ol' adabpt or parish scenario.

                • 5. Re: How to cut a hole that is part of a compound path
                  Jesseham Level 4

                  I think he meant free hand, like stylistically, not referring to the software.

                   

                  One thing that might help would be to use the pen tool rather than the direct select tool and instead of removing anchor points, delete them.  Saves at least a couple of steps. It'll leave your shapes closed...

                  1 person found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: How to cut a hole that is part of a compound path
                    Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

                    Did you try converting the art to a Live Paint group which allows you to even input a gap requirement and would allow you to fill the areas you choose with a fill of none?

                    • 7. Re: How to cut a hole that is part of a compound path
                      minimum99 Level 1

                      I did not mean that the software is not good, on the contrary, it is one of the best if not the best. When I say freehand I mean using the hand to freely reshape a shape. As you know, the live trace is one of the best tool Illustrator has, it produces the knockout (call it Shape A) and also a closed path (call it shape B) exactly the same shape on top of Shape A. We can use the Blob Brush tool to freely reshape the Shape B but not Shape A. I convert alot of photographs a day using live trace, but there are always shapes need to be reshaped or smoothed out quickly. Live trace is a great tool but like all tools, it does not have the human touch neccessary to produce fine art. Using the Knife tool only cut Shape B and leave Shape A alone. Using the Erase tool adds unwanted paths. Using the Smooth tool gives you random results regardless of how you configure the tool. 

                      • 8. Re: How to cut a hole that is part of a compound path
                        Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

                        What you might be looking for is a little used tool that called the reshape tool which is under the scale tool. also you probably know about the option to ignore white in Live Trace but if you do not then try it.

                        • 9. Re: How to cut a hole that is part of a compound path
                          minimum99 Level 1

                          Dan, thank you, I will give it a try. And much appreciated for your help.

                          I will let you know shortly.

                           

                          Don

                          • 10. Re: How to cut a hole that is part of a compound path
                            minimum99 Level 1

                            Thanks, but the Reshape tool is not what I am looking for. What I am trying to achieve is what the Blob Brush tool can do added the ability to reshape both Shape A (the knockout) and Shape B (the closed path sitting on top of the knockout that is the same shape as the knockout) at the same time. Of all the great tools Illustrator has, none so far can do this. I am looking for a plugin, if anyone know of one I would be eternally grateful.

                            • 11. Re: How to cut a hole that is part of a compound path
                              PrepressPro1 Adobe Community Professional

                              I have found with live trace images expanded, the need to delete what you're calling shape A. In very complex tracings I have found use for the Magic Wand (yes illustrator has a Magic Wand too) to select Shape A and move it to another layer for editing or delete it altogether.

                              • 12. Re: How to cut a hole that is part of a compound path
                                [scott] Level 6

                                Blob Brush Tool to add to shape.. Eraser Tool to remove from shape.

                                 

                                I don't think you'll find a plug in for such a specific need.

                                • 13. Re: How to cut a hole that is part of a compound path
                                  Gunnar Halldórsson Level 1

                                  It is BEST to reshape a "hole" with something You already have available. Like a rectangle for instance or any other shape.

                                  By placing a rectangle on top of Your hole and selecting WITH "A" tool ("A" ARROW) - both the hole and the rectangle (in CMD+Y mode)

                                  You can cut the hole with PATHFINDER/UNITE! You MUST drag the "A" arrow over the hole and rectangle!

                                  Hope this solves Your problem... maybe partly?

                                   

                                  Picture 4.png

                                  • 14. Re: How to cut a hole that is part of a compound path
                                    minimum99 Level 1

                                    Gunna, that is a very clever idea!

                                    But since each hole generated by Live Trace has another closed path that match exactly the hole, we must reshape both, so, your method works great if there is just the hole. I know now there is not a single tool to do this, but even with two tools I would be very happy.

                                    • 15. Re: How to cut a hole that is part of a compound path
                                      [scott] Level 6

                                      After expanding the Live Trace.. hit Pathfinder > Merge. you can then click one extra shape, use Select > Same > Fill & Stroke and then hit delete to remove the superfluous shapes.

                                      • 16. Re: How to cut a hole that is part of a compound path
                                        Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

                                        Good one Scott zI am curious to see what the OP has to say.

                                        • 17. Re: How to cut a hole that is part of a compound path
                                          minimum99 Level 1

                                          Scott, could you please give a little more description? I am having a hard time following it.

                                          Thanks,

                                           

                                          Don

                                          • 18. Re: How to cut a hole that is part of a compound path
                                            [scott] Level 6

                                            Sure....

                                             

                                            1. Place or Open raster image.
                                            2. Live trace (whatever settings you like) I'm assuming it's a 1 color trace (line art) and not a photo or color image
                                            3. Click the "Expand" button in the Control bar
                                            4. Everything should be selected/highlighted
                                            5. Click the Merge button on the Pathfinder Panel (3rd from left, bottom row)
                                            6. *optional -- Choose Object > Ungroup from the menu (Using Pathfinder command creates Groups for some reason. These groups aren't always needed.)
                                            7. Deselect all (Command-Shift-A or Ctrl-Shift-A or just click somewhere empty to deselect the artwork)
                                            8. Select the Direct Selection Tool (the white arrow)
                                            9. Click the center of a "hole" or counter. This will select one of the superfluous white shapes.
                                            10. Choose Select > Same > Fill & Stroke from the menu. All the extra shapes should highlight.
                                            11. Hit delete.

                                             

                                            You should be left with just black compound paths with no superfluous shapes anywhere. In fact, after this if you Select All, the color panel shoudl show a simple black fill and no stroke. Of course, this somewhat depends upon your Live trace settings.

                                             

                                            What this does is merge all black and white shapes into the simplest form and at the same time it cuts through bottom objects with top objects. So if you have a white shape sitting on top of a black shape, it cuts that white shape out of the black. This ensures all the black has the correct compound shape assignments. Sometimes with Live Trace you can get white fill areas and not get the corresponding compound hole below it. Or the compound hole will not be exactly the same shape as the white object sitting on top of it. Using Merge corrects that. Then deleting the white shapes just removes all the unnecessary objects. If you want a color for the compound holes, just draw a rectangle or shape below the black and fill it with any color. All you need to is alter the counters or compound holes now to correct anything. No more double paths.

                                             

                                            All these steps are not always necessary. But it's sometimes good practice depending upon what you are tracing. Once you do it once or twice you'll see it's only about a 1-2 minute processes and most of that will be waiting for the Merge command to complete.

                                            • 19. Re: How to cut a hole that is part of a compound path
                                              JETalmage Level 6

                                              Minimum,

                                               

                                              I'm not following your description of the problem. But part of it sounds like you are:

                                               

                                              1. Autotracing a raster image with default settings. (Without invoking the LiveTrace options dialog).

                                              2. Getting white-filled paths wherever there are voids (subpaths in Compound Paths) in the black-filled paths.

                                              3. Desiring to modify the shapes of the identical white-filled paths at the same time you modify the shapes of the corresponding voids (subpaths).

                                               

                                              If that's the case: Turn on the Ignore White checkbox in the LiveTrace Options dialog. (The white-filled paths are not necessary to have "holes" in the black-filled regions.) When you expand the trace, the white-filled paths won't be there. You can then direct-select and modify the shape of the subpaths.

                                               

                                              JET

                                              • 20. Re: How to cut a hole that is part of a compound path
                                                Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

                                                I would be surprised if the user did not know this I never brought it 

                                                up s it sounded like they wanted the white paths to be editable.

                                                 

                                                I was also amazed that anyone seemed to understand what the OP was 

                                                referring to.

                                                • 21. Re: How to cut a hole that is part of a compound path
                                                  minimum99 Level 1

                                                  Scott, you hit the hammer right on the nail, well.. almost! Thank you very much for all the useful tips and the detailed description. I am now using the Pathfinder/Merge right after expanding the Live Trace, as you have pointed out, to make sure the art is clean, since I also notice that Live Trace sometime create the hole that do not match exactly the filled path that sit on top it and did not know how best to solve it until reading your reply. Sometime I do Live Trace with just black and white but most of the time I use it to generate multiple colors, but in the colored cases I want to keep both the holes and the filled paths. Your idea has prompted me to figure out the following procedures to solve the problem with the colored cases - please comment:

                                                  1. Expand the Live Trace

                                                  2. Ungroup couple times until all nested groups are ungrouped

                                                  3. Pathfinder/Merge (for cleaning up any mess Live Trace created)

                                                  4. Uncheck "Object Selection by Path Only" to easily select any path regardless of its stacking order

                                                  5. Locate the path that I want to reshape and select it, this will force the Blob Brush tool to have the same fill color

                                                  6. Use the Blob Brush tool to reshape the selected path (adding fill area to it) and bring it to front if not already in front.

                                                  7. Shift select the other path that has the corresponding hole and Pathfinder/Merge to trim the hole.

                                                  8. While the two paths are still selected, ungroup them, since the Merge automatically group the two.

                                                  9. Repeat steps 5-8 until the desired result is obtained.

                                                   

                                                  Jet, sorry for the confusion, as stated above, I do want to edit both the hole and the corresponding shape in the colored cases. I do use Live Trace configuration settings extensively, but wonder what the "Ignore White" was and did not find any description in the user manual. Thank you, now I know and think that your method is the best to handle the black/white case.

                                                   

                                                  Wade, your are correct, the reason I want to edit both is to keep the colors generated by live trace.

                                                   

                                                  And thank you all for the useful tips even if they are not applicable to solving the current problem, nevertheless are very valuable.