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Pathfinder Subtract Issue

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mike petriano
Pathfinder Subtract Issue
on Jun 16, 2015 at 7:29:43 pm

Running off of Mac Pro -- Yosemite
Illustrator CC 17.1.0

If I take a font, outline it, then place it over a shape (say a rectangle) and I go to pathfinder/subtract - the "line" thicknesses are screwed up. I.e, the stroke of the fonts aren't precise anymore. Attached is an image to show what I mean.

Any ideas as to what's happening?


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Steve Crook Jr
Re: Pathfinder Subtract Issue
on Jun 17, 2015 at 2:10:11 pm

Okeydokey. No image came through, so I am going to have to go by your description. :)

So, here is my take on your issue:

* You have formatted text (stroke/fill) that you want cut out of another object.

Ok. Well, the pathfinder uses the actual lines to perform its functions, not the perceived appearance; when you add a stroke to an object, the lines of the artwork do not change, just how they appear.

So, to get the effect you want takes a little extra work...

1) Style and place the text the way you want it - in this step the most important part is the stroke width and position over the object being cut out. you can fully adjust colors, etc. later, but the position and absolute outline will be fixed from here on out. (Once placed, you may want to hide or lock the underlying object, just for ease of selecting things.)

2) Duplicate the text. CTRL-C, then CTRL-SHIFT-V (paste in place). Then hide one.

Now, we are going to make lines needed to cut out the text from the underlying object.

3) Set your text's fill to 'none'.

4) Now use Type > Create Outlines (CTRL-SHIFT-O). {You've been here before, kinda.}

Here comes the magic that does what you want...

5) Object > Expand... and uncheck all but stroke.

At this point, each part of the glyphs in your text have been converted to compound paths. They are the key to 'cutting out' objects. In fact, you are going to be making your own in just a couple more steps. Do a search sometime for details on how they work.

6) Object > Compound Path > Release (ALT-CTRL-SHIFT-8), does what it says, releases the compound path into its component parts.

We do not want all of those pieces, just the 'outer-most' ones. We COULD spend our time deleting all the extraneous paths, but AI will do it for us with just one more click.

7) Pathfinder > Merge

Finally, we are ready to do what you wanted in the first place: (show or unlock your underlying object if necessary)

8) Select your underlying object, Pathfinder > Minus Front.

9) Show your original text.

That should do it for you.


Steve Crook, Jr.

I am a simple creative professional that can get my Adobe suite and a few other creative tools to do what I want. Barely. :)

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