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Removing pattern overspill

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Brian Fisher
Removing pattern overspill
on Apr 21, 2010 at 2:03:49 pm

Ok, I'm using Illustrator CS4, and I'm literally just beginning, so please bear with me.

I'm trying to create some simple lines on a panel - so it looks like planks of wood. I'm creating the panel, then drawing with the pen tool back and forth over the top of it. So far so good. My problem comes when I try to remove the excess part of the lines - the bits which extend beyond the edges of the panel.

Is there a way to crop out the edges of the lines so the area they occupy conforms exactly to the area of the panel? I've tried Minus Front and all those options, but nothing seem to just "get rid of the outside bits." The Pathfinder options always make an unholy mess no matter what I try - usually by deleting all the lines or, most often, leaving just the outside bits of lines. The very bits I'm trying to delete!

To give a clue as to what I'm trying to achieve - in Photoshop I would create the lines and panel on two separate layers. Then I would select the area outside the panel and use this selection to delete the "spare" bits of line.

How do I do this in Illustrator?

Mac Pro, 10.5.8, 2x2.66GHz, 6GB RAM, GeForce 8800GT 512MB


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les nemeth
Re: Removing pattern overspill
on Apr 21, 2010 at 7:18:04 pm

Here are two ways to do it.

Method 1 (the sloppiest, longest, tedious way to do - aka beginners' way):
Use the knife or scissors tool to cut the lines where they intersect the panel(s). If you turn on Smart Guides (View > Smart Guides), the cutting tool will snap to the intersections and the cursor will indicate "intersect" at the right spot.

Method 2
Step 1. If you have multiple panels AND they overlap, then first select all panels and copy them (Edit > Copy). Then use the Pathfinder to UNITE (aka Add) them together and expand the result (if necessary) so only 1 shape remains after the operation.

If you have multiple panels but they DO NOT overlap, select all panels and make a compound path out of them. If you have only 1 panel to deal with, then don't do anything and just proceed to Step 2.

Step 2. Move the panel (now there's only one since you either ADD them or created a compound path out of them in step 1; or you simple had only a single panel to deal with) to the very top in the Layers palette, so they are on top of all other shapes. (or Ctrl+SHIFT+])

Step 3. Select all objects in question (the panel and the lines) and create a clipping mask (Right click > Make Clipping Mask). Now the lines are clipped by the shape of the panel. In the Layers palette you will see a new Group, and the first item in the group will be the clipping mask, in a form of a .

Step 4. If in Step 1, you had multiple panels that were overlapping and you used the Pathfinder to ADD them and after that you made a copy of them, now paste them back in front (Edit > Paste in Front). Now just color the pasted back panel lines as you wish.

If in Step 1, you had multiple panels that were NOT overlapped and therefore you made a compound path out of them, just select the clipping mask in the Layers panel and assign stroke/fill color to it as needed.

If in Step 1, you had only one panel to deal with, then just do as before, select the clipping mask in the Layers palette and just assign a stroke/fill color to it.


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Brian Fisher
Re: Removing pattern overspill
on Apr 21, 2010 at 11:00:12 pm

That worked perfectly, thank you. I used method 2 (I'm not planning on being a beginner for ever!)

I can see thousands of eventualities where I could use that technique, so thanks for the concise and helpful answer, it's really made a big difference.





Mac Pro, 10.5.8, 2x2.66GHz, 6GB RAM, GeForce 8800GT 512MB


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