Illustrator shape builder

by Design Workshop Sydney

Creating compound objects in Adobe Illustrator has been made even easier with the new Shape Builder tool. We demonstrate its versatility in our Illustrator training courses.Print
For example, to create the complex shape of the cloud shown here, the old method was to create several ellipses with the Ellipse tool. We would use a white stroke with no fill, and create a few overlapping oval shapes.
To combine them into one object we would then open the Pathfinder panel from Window > Pathfinder. Then select the oval shapes and click the Add or Union button on the Pathfinder panel. Clicking the Expand panel will then take away the internal geometry.
This method still works, but in Illustrator version CS5 Adobe added the Shape Builder tool. Using this method we simply select the four ellipses in this case with the Selection tool (black arrow), then select the Shape Builder tool from the toolbox, and click and drag over the shapes, thus uniting them in one compound shape. This takes out the additional step of opening the Pathfinder panel.
The background to our clouds was, of course created by a simple rectangle shape and a blue to white gradient fill.
Whether you’re a complete beginner or self-taught, our courses will help you gain self-confidence in your Illustrator workflow, as well as adding to your professional skill-set. See many examples of our Illustrator clients’ work on our Facebook page.
Other related Illustrator Blog Posts:
Illustrator workspace
Illustrator basics
Illustrator clipping masks
Illustrator live trace
Illustrator brushes