Outline Object Illustrator | Illustrator – Outline Complex Objects With A Single Line

Helen Bradley

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Illustrator - Outline Complex Objects With A Single Line


Hello, and welcome to this. Youtube video tutorial today we’re having a look at outlining very, very complex shapes in Illustrator, But before we get started. I want to show you a couple of other places where you can find my illustrator training. I have a series of courses at udemy and in the description below a coupon links for all of the courses and my coupon prices are always at least as good as anything that udemy can offer. I also have classes at Skillshare and again there’s a coupon in the description below with the best offer that you’ll get for Skillshare sign up for Skillshare and you get access to thousands of classes there, including over 200 of mine. And I really look forward to seeing you either at you to me or at Skillshare, and if you do sign up for those classes, please send me a note and say that you’ve done it and I’ll look forward to seeing you in my classes there. So let’s head back to illustrator now. This is the image that I’ve downloaded from deposit photos calm, and it’s the exact same image that my Youtube subscriber had issues with what she wants to do is to outline this shape just around the very outline of the shape so that she can use that as a cutting guide. Now that’s not as easy to do as it might at first appear. So the first thing you’re going to do is just have a look at what you’ve got so here. I’ve got a document that has a group in it and inside. That group is another group and a rectangle. So just check this rectangle. You’ll see it’s white filled, so what I’m going to do is I’m going to start by making a duplicate of this because I’m going to make the cutting line on the duplicate, so I can just drag this group onto the new icon, and so I get two identical groups, The bottom one of which I’m going to lock down and turn off because I don’t want to do anything to that. That’s going to be the original art. All were here to do right now is to create a cutting line around the edge, so this rectangle, this white filled rectangle is just going to be a big embarrassment, So I’m going to remove it, so I’ll just drag it on to the trashcan so now that it’s removed, we have a whole heap of objects here, so I’m going to select this group of and a lot of these are compound paths, So what I’ll do is I’ll release those compound paths, so I’ll go to object and then compound path and then release and everything becomes black and that’s really good news because we need to put an outline around the edge of this shape and the fact that everything is black is really a good option at this stage now with everything still selected what I will do is go the Pathfinder palette and click unite because I want to create one shape, just one shape that is the shape of all of the objects that are hidden on the group below. So this is the thing that we now have to outline and all it is right now is a path, so let’s go to the appearance panel and let to outline it so. I’m going to outline it with a red stroke, but you can make up whatever color you like, so we now have a red stroke, but it’s sitting on the very edge of this shape, and we want it to be a little bit further out, So what I’ll do is first set the stroke width to whatever it is that you need for the cutting line. Just going to leave mine at one pixel. If you have a different specification, then set it as a stroke width, then click on the stroke. It’s really important that you have the appearance panel open and you click on this stroke element. Here don’t have the path selected. You must have the stroke selected and you’ll choose effect and then path and offset path and here is where you’ll create the offset. And you want to set this to whatever the distance you need around the edge of the shape for your cutting guide now. I’m going to make this point too of a centimeter, but you can make it whatever you like now. At this point, we’ve got a black filled shape. We don’t want any fill on that shape at all, so we would just turn it off, but you can see when I go and turn back on the visibility of the group below that there’s some funny things happening in this top area, so let’s go back and turn that off. Let’s go back to this path and let’s fill it with a color right now and let’s go back in and see what we can see that is causing this problem in the corners. Now when I zoom in, you’ll find that there are some anchor points here, and it’s these anchor points that are causing the issue. Now there are a few possible solutions and one them is to go to the lasso tool so. I’m just going to click away from everything and I’m going to lasso this underlying shape because it’s this shape here that is causing this shape to be looking like this so now. I’ve got all of the anchor points just at the very tip of this shape selected. You just want to grab the ones At the very tip of the shape you could choose object path, average select, both and click. OK, and what that does is that just a verage is the location of all of those points to the exact same point, so every one of those points I had selected has now been placed on top of each other, and so we’ve removed that very funky sort of corner, so that’s a possibility zoom in to any problem. Areas use the lasso tool, just grab what is probably causing the problem in the first place object path and then choose average and, okay, and that will generally solve the problem now. There are other options that you could use. For example. You could zoom into this area here. Make sure that you have it selected and you could use, for example, the smooth tool now. Running the smooth tool over the tip of this point will smooth it out. In this case, it smooths out all of those points. I’m just going to undo it. Because there is one final option that we could use with this shape selected. We could choose object and then path and simplify. I’ll turn preview on and I want to increase the angle threshold and I’ll increase the curve precision, so I’m going to leave the curve precision at a hundred percent and start backing off this angle threshold. Now, at some point, you’re going to see these disappear, and you’ll just adjust it down. Sort of one percent at a time so that you can catch the point at which those areas just totally disappear and there they’ve gone between 133 and 132 The difference is that they’ve disappeared. Now there will be some change to the black shape itself, but it’s going to be fairly minimal, so when I come back in and turn visibility on of the underlying graphic and then go back to this path and turn off filled because all we want is a stroke, we can then see how the cutting line looks. You’ll see to that. The cutting line is a bit over the edge of the art ball. So all we need to do is just go to the artboard tool and then just increase the artboard size a little bit to take into account the cutting line, so there’s a workflow for creating a cutting line around the outside of a complex shape. The first thing you’re going to do is make a duplicate of that shape. Remove any backgrounds because you don’t want them to be part of what you’re about to do. Expand all of your compound paths and then select everything and apply the unite. Pathfinder option to it so that you end up with a solid shape. Then you can go ahead and put your line around the edge of the shape and then just clean up any small problems that you have with the line that you’ve created, so thank you very much to staff. Who suggested this as a video tutorial? I think it’s a really awesome idea and something that I think a lot of people are going to encounter and so thank you for proposing it as a Youtube video. If you enjoyed the video, please give it a thumbs up and click to subscribe. Hit the notification Bell so that you’ll be alerted when new videos are released and until next time. I’m Helen Bradley. Thank you so much for joining me here on my Youtube channel you.