Obvious In Hindsight
Archive of tips, tricks and solutions for designers and programmers!

Illustrator: Cutting out a shape or a path


Cutting out a shape or a path from a background

For the purposes of this explanation, we have a larger image upon which a shape (rectangle tool, ellipse tool etc.) or path (drawn using the pen tool) is overlayed and whatever of the larger image falls outside the perimeter of the said shape or path is to be deleted.

  1. Place the shape or path over the object you want to cut out.
  2. Select both of them by dragging a box over them using the selection tool (V).
  3. Right click them both and select ‘Make Clipping Mask’.

Cutting out a shape to leave a blank space

For the purposes of this explanation, we have one shape overlayed another. The outline of the overlayed shape will be cut out from the shape beneath, leaving a blank space in the shape of the overlayed shape.

  1. Place the shape to be cut out over the shape to be cut from.
  2. Select both of them by dragging a box over them using the selection tool (V).
  3. Go to WINDOW > PATHFINDER (CTRL + SHIFT + F9).
  4. Select ‘Minus Front’ from the pathfinder panel.
  5. Select the ‘Expand’ button from the pathfinder panel.

Everything’s obvious in hindsight, eh?

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