Friday, 9 January 2015

Creating Compound Paths & Working With Color and Strokes - Illustrator Tutorial 5

Creating Compound Paths

Almost all objects in over daily life can be built with basic shapes. By drawing shapes using our basic shape tool, we can use compound path to combine or subtract shapes to create what we need.

What is Compound Path?

Compound path is made out of at least two objects. You can add, subtract and intersect shapes to form a compound path.

Compound Path Cheat Sheet

I have compiled a cheat sheet to show how it looks like using different functions of compound path. You can see the final effect after we applied the compound path to three colored circles.
Compound Path Cheat Sheet

Creating an Ancient Key Using Compound Path

In this tutorial, I will show you how to create an ancient key using compound paths rather than using Pen Tool in our previous tutorial.

Turning on the Grids

Go to View>Show Grid to turn on the grids, then go and turn on Snap to Grid. With the grid and snapping turned on, you can easily snap objects to the grid.
First draw a Circle using your Shape Tools, hold Alt/Option as you click and drag a new copy beside it.
Duplicate a new circle and place it on top.
Next, select the Rectangle Tool and continue building up your key shape.
Swap the Fill and Stroke for the object, this will show you all the objects we have.
Using the Selection Tool, select the whole shape and go to Window>Pathfinder to bring up the Pathfinder. Select Add to shape to combine the objects.
You can still make changes to the compound path at this stage. Try moving the top circle below to see how it works. To do this, double click with the Selection Tool to go into isolation mode to move the individual shapes.
Next we will swap it back to black fill again, draw a circle in the middle which we will punch a new hole there. Select both shapes and select Subtract from shape area.
Here is the final illustration.

Working with Color and Strokes

Filling Color Using Swatches

To fill an object, open up your Swatches Palette. Select your object and pick any color from the swatches.

Filling Color Using Color Picker

Another way to fill color is by double clicking on the Fill in your Tool Palette. A Color Picker window will appear and you can pick your color.

Changing Fill and Stroke Using Control Palette

You can also easily change fill, stroke color and stroke width by accessing your Control Palette at the top of your artboard.

Stroke Caps

The Stroke Caps determine the start and end points of a stroke. This applies to open paths only. You can choose between a Butt, Round, or Projecting cap.

Miter Limit

The stroke’s Miter Limit specifies the appearance for the joins in a shape. Notice how the joins look after we applied different miter settings to the stars.

Applying Gradient to Objects

To apply gradient to your object, go to the Tool Palette and set it to Gradient Fill.

Open up your Gradient and Color Palette. By default it is a Grayscale gradient. Click Options icon at the corner and change it to RGB mode.

After we switched to RGB there will be slider and a color chart to pick the color. Choose a dark blue for it.
Do the same for the start point, change it to RGB and choose a light blue.
To add a new gradient stop to the gradient, click right below the gradient ramp to create a new stop. Change it to white color. To remove it, you can drag the stop out of the Palette.
To change the direction of the gradient, select the Gradient Tool from the Tool Palette. Click and drag in the direction you want the gradient to follow.

Radial Gradient

To set it to radial gradient, Choose Radial instead of Linear.

Pattern Fill

To create seamless pattern fill, we can choose the pattern fill from the Swatches.


Using radial and linear gradient, we can achieve alot of realism to our artwork. Radial patterns can add depth and volume to circle, and linear pattern can used to create volume for cylinders. Here is an example of gradients used to create a jingle bell.
3d gold bells

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is one of the Team Member of Programmer vs Hacker. He has written many articles on this website and is a patner of this website.


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