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Average two shape paths around a polar coordinates

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Kevin Knutson
Average two shape paths around a polar coordinates
on Apr 7, 2016 at 9:14:58 pm

Hi all-

I'm trying to figure out a little riddle here that seems like possibly an easy to accomplish task... or perhaps not.

I'm a motion guy, and a little weak in the illustrator world. So bear with me.

I want to take two closed path shapes, stack them on top of each other at their centers, and then create a THIRD, new shape, from the average between the two. I've added an image to help explain:

You can see a stroked square, and an irregular shape as well. If you extend an imaginary line out of the center point in any direction, and find the mean value in the space between the two shapes along that line, and keep doing that as you spin the "imaginary line" around 360 degrees, you could get a new shape as indicated by the red dots.

I just eyeballed the red dots to help make the point, I know its not perfect.

So is there a function/command/tool that can achieve this end result?

***just to clarify, I dont mean the average value of the two shapes relative to the center point, rather, relative to each other. So of course, any point the two shapes intersect would be a point on the new shape as well.


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Vincent Rosati
Re: Average two shape paths around a polar coordinates
on Apr 7, 2016 at 10:20:43 pm

Select both objects and Object > Blend > Make.
Then with them still selected, Object > Blend > Blend Options, and select 'Specified Steps' with a value of 1.
The optionally Object > Expand with all options.


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Kevin Knutson
Re: Average two shape paths around a polar coordinates
on Apr 8, 2016 at 4:03:41 pm

Hi Vincent-

Some of my initial searching lead me to the blend tool as you've described, and you definitely confirmed thats the right tool. However, in doing so, I now realize my initial tests were failing due to much too complicated shapes.

So dang... I have some more thinking to do.

Thanks for putting me on the right track tho!

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Kalle Kannisto
Re: Average two shape paths around a polar coordinates
on Apr 9, 2016 at 9:28:57 am
Last Edited By Kalle Kannisto on Apr 9, 2016 at 9:30:43 am

You can control the way the blend tool interpolates in two ways:

1) clicking a specific point in the two shapes forces direct interpolation between those two points. Everything else is based on that.

2) selecting specific points before blending and then doing (1) on one of the points forces this and the other selected points to be interpolated between. Just select the same number of points in both paths.

That's probably explained much clearer in the manual...

Taking your case of a square, if you select the four corner points and select those four points on your freeform path that are best aligned with your corners, then blend from one point to a corner, the result is likely better than just doing a blend with the two objects fully selected.

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