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Outlining a group of paths to create a heavier stroked border

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Bob Ruhe
Outlining a group of paths to create a heavier stroked border
on Oct 28, 2010 at 8:37:34 pm

Example of my challenge - look at the cow logo at the top left corner of the screen. Imagine I import this from an AutoCAD file without any line weight variances. I could select around the boarder of the cow to trace it and give the stroke a heavier weight... but imagine if I'm bringing in 1000 cows of various sizes and shapes. This would take a long time. I've played with Pathfinder and I think the answer is in front of me... but is it a simple one click thing? I don't want to have to manually set all the line weights here.

Any help would be SOOO appreciated.


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Vincent Rosati
Re: Outlining a group of paths to create a heavier stroked border
on Oct 28, 2010 at 9:06:16 pm

This might take a bit to work out.

As you are describing an object with no colors or stroke weights you're limiting your use of Select/Same Fill or Same Stroke.

You require randomizing.
This can be handled with a script, but you'd still need a way to select the appropriate components.

Could you drag your object into the Brush palette and create a Scatter Brush with random size?

Or maybe you could add the stroke to a basic object, like a circle or something, then drag the circle into the Graphic Styles palette. Then you could select all of your objects, click on your new style, and whammo!, the style is applied to everything you've selected.

Just some ideas to get the ball rolling.

Vince

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Bob Ruhe
Re: Outlining a group of paths to create a heavier stroked border
on Oct 29, 2010 at 12:18:53 am

Thanks for the reply. I was working on this after I posted - What I'm doing is creating an Exploded View in Autodesk Inventor. I export that to a DWG file I can open in Illustrator. So now I have a vector file with, for example, an exploded view of a car engine... every part separated from the other. I want to give these depth using different line weights, but what I have is one file with every path stroked at the same weight.

Here's what I did. I created a 2nd layer copy of the first, locked the original, then I did an Object>Expand>Path and then I Alt-Clicked Unite in Pathfinder. Then I clicked the Expand button in Pathfinder. This gave me black objects with no stroke. But it also gave me individual borders around each item. Now all I have to do is select the outer paths and move them to a 3rd layer, then delete the 2nd layer and I have my outlines. Of course then I would do some manual line weighting... not sure how many technical illustrators are here. But this is how I figured out how to do this. I wonder though...

Is there a better way? It certainly goes faster than I thought this way, but I'm always ready for faster shortcuts!


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Vincent Rosati
Re: Outlining a group of paths to create a heavier stroked border
on Oct 29, 2010 at 5:16:06 am

Any chance you could ZIP an AI file with a few of the components in the original state so we can see exactly what you are describing - or even just the whole original file? Use the File Upload feature, above.
Maybe put some text notes in the file.

You said:
Object>Expand>Path and then I Alt-Clicked Unite in Pathfinder. Then I clicked the Expand button in Pathfinder.

Thinking out loud...
So, you selected everything, outlined the strokes, turned everything into one object so that it has a black fill with no stroke.

You said:
But it also gave me individual borders around each item. Now all I have to do is select the outer paths and move them to a 3rd layer, then delete the 2nd layer and I have my outlines. Of course then I would do some manual line weighting...

I think I'm just not clear on what you are working with and what your desired result is.

Here's a CS4 file showing what I have in my mind. I have little confidence that it's anything remotely close to what you are trying to do...
1228_partcs4.ai.zip
(D'oh, I should have set the file to View/Show Transparency Grid.)

Vince

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