I created a complex object by taking a pattern and using live trace to make it vector. I've expanded it and unified it with the pathfinder, but it's still too complex to make a mask out of. I just want a box to clip off the edges of the pattern. but so far I find that any group layer of semi-complex paths doesn't like to become a clipping mask. yet i can't find any tuts for getting around this issue.
using Simplify Path makes the pattern look like crap. I've thought about using Flatten Transparency, but if I do that won't my vector art becomes rasterized, right? I want to keep all vector so that the graphic can be blown up to any size without losing quality.
Can an illustrator guru offer any suggestions? Thanks :P
Usually depends on how much time you are willing to put into it.
You already tried to Simplify. Did you try 98% or 99%?
Sometimes making the object larger before performing the Simplify will help.
Sometimes I'll put an odd colored rectangle on top of a complex path, select all, Pathfinder/Divide, use the Direct Selection tool to select and delete the outer stuff, then Select/Same/Fill Color and Copy Paste to isolate stuff.
If you are trying to make a square, maybe try doing one side at a time using Pathfinder/Minus Back, by putting a rectangle behind the pattern, once for each of the four sides.
Maybe try separating the operation into half of the pattern, or a quarter, then recombining the parts.
You could try working the edges with the Knife Tool, but that will be time consuming.
There is always a way, but sometimes it's just not worth the time to 'perfect' a vector if it's going to be used for print, maybe if it was for die cutting.
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