The Shape Builder Tool is a fast way to perform Pathfinder functions faster than using the Pathfinder Panel. It can add, subtract fills and strokes as well as breaking section apart. Proper set up to begin with is helpful to be able to get the results you want quickly and consistently.
Double click on the Shape Builder Tool in the Tool Bar to call up the options for the Tool. The options allow the shapes to be open or closed shapes when selecting and using the Shape Builder Tool.
The options will also allow you to split the paths of the shapes into sections that can be deleted or edited as a seperate shape.
Pick color option allows you to set the way the colors get merged. If the option is set to Artwork it will pick up the fill and stroke of the object that is being merged. Color Swatches option will blend the last used color (the ones that appear in the color picker) until you choose another color.
Start with shapes that have a stroke and/or fill. Select the shapes you want to merge or subtract. Use the Shape Builder Tool to select the area (shows a mesh pattern) and click. If the options are set to Color Swatches it will use the last used fill and stroke color to fill the selected shape.
By clicking on the shapes, it will add the new fill and stroke to those shapes.
The last used swatches in this example was orange file, red stroke.
To change the mode from ADD (+) to SUBTRACT (-) hold OPTION down to activate the Subtract moded
With the options set to Artwork mode, this will pick up the fill/stoke of the artwork. You can then click and drag across the shapes you want to add together.
To break a stroke apart, you can hover over a selected path and click to "break" it apart.
Then use the Group Selection Tool to move the object with out having to ungroup the set of objects.
Another option is to have the Shape Tool set to Straight line instead of Freeform to draw a connecting line between shapes
This is the tool in Freeform drawingmode.
Here's how you build a fish using the Shape Builder. Start with these basic shapes, select them all.
Add the tail to the body by dragging over both, adding them together.
Hold OPTION to subtract as you drag over the mouth.
Ever wonder what the Expand Button in the Pathfinder Panel does and why it is not available? Here is how to access the Expand button and what it does!
Draw two or more shapes and select them with the Selection Tool.
Open the Pathfinder Panel and choose one of the Pathfinder options. You will notice that the Expand Button is not available.
However, when you hove over the Expand Button, it will give you the Tool hint telling you to Option + Click in order to create a Compound Shape.
If you click on a Pathfinder option, it will perform the function and give you one shape as a final result. You cannot edit each shape individually any more.
So what is a compound Shape? A compound shape is 2 or more shapes that make up a what looks like one shape. The result may look the same but each shape is still editable individually.
When you hold OPTION + click on a Pathfinder Mode, it gives you the final result BUT it keeps each shape as an individual shape that is editable.
When you OPTION + click on the shape mode, the Expand button becomes available.
The Expand Button allows you to expand the shapes, which are individually editable, to expand the shapes into one shape.
If you want to edit each shape, you can use the Isolation Mode to select just one of the shapes. Use the Selection Tool and then double click on the shape to enter into Isolation mode. Now you can edit and move the shape independently of the first shape. To exit Isolation mode, hit the Escape key.
Another way to edit each shape in a Compound Shape, select an item in a Compound Shape use the Group Selection Tool that is nested with the Direct Selection tool.
When you have the Compound Shapes selected, you can click the expand button to make all the shapes into a single shape that is no longer made up of individually editable shapes.
This is a set of shapes that has been "Expanded".
3 sets of firework you can create to celebrate the 4th of July. Using Transform, Width Shape Tool and the Blend Tool you can create a simple yet effective set of fun fireworks using Adobe Illustrator. Enjoy and happy holidays.
Start with several lines, in various length. Use the Stroke Panel to Cap the ends (hot dog) to make them round.
Select the set of lines, under the Effect menu choose Distort & Transform>Transform. Click the Preview button in the dialog box to see the results then set an angle FIRST, then set the number of copies, then click the random button.
Adjust the angle in the Transform dialog box until you get a random burst pattern, then click OK.
Using the Direct Selection Tool, select the center line, then change the color of each line segment in the set.
Using the Width Shape Tool, select each line segment and vary the width of each.
Create different widths in several of the line segments, this will translate into all the copies of the lines
Here is the results of the colored line segments and varying the width of those segments.
For the color behind the burst, create a lighter colored larger circle, then a smaller circle centered on the larger circle in a darker color.
Double-Click on the Blend Tool to call up the dialog box. Set the Specified Steps to 4. Then click on the edge of the first circle, then the edge of the second circle.
This will blend the circles together with 4 colors steps in between the inside circle and the outside circle.
Place the yellow blend behind the burst.
For the next set of fireworks, create a line and add a stroke of 4 pt.
Use the Width Shape Tool to pull one of the ends wider.
Duplicate the shape, then flip it inline with the first shape and select both with the Selection Tool.
Under the Effect menu choose Distort & Transform>Transform. Click the Preview button in the dialog box to see the results then set an angle FIRST, then set the number of copies, then click the random button.
Once the burst looks like you want, click the OK button.
For the sparkler effect, create a series of circles, random sizes clustered together.
Duplicate the set and change the randomness of the circles.
Double-Click on the Blend Tool to call up the dialog box. Set the Specified Steps to 16 (more if you want a longer sparkler burst). Then click on the edge of the first circle set, then the edge of the second circle set.
The blend will create 16 steps from the top set of random circles to the bottom set.
You can use the opacity to create translucent shapes.
Or you can copy and use the Adjust Color under the Edit Menu > Edit Colors > Adjust Colors to change the colors of the object and shift the hue.