Before I used the Pathfinder panel, I used to try to draw every shape by hand with the Pen Tool. You’ll probably say “What? Are you nuts, James?” While my mental state is sometimes debatable, I didn’t do this by choice. For the past couple of years, I have been using the Pathfinder Panel, and it’s a life saver. When you’re working on complex shapes, or you just need to trim a shape to get what you need, there’s nothing better. the Pathfinder Panel is also a great place to merge your shapes, too. Let’s take a look at the Pathfinder Panel and why it’s so darn helpful.
You can see that the best way to use the Pathfinder Panel is to overlap 2 shapes, Then, you decide how they interact, and choose the right button to press to get the results you want. You can do all sorts of things. You can merge shapes. You can also subtract one shape from another. Depending on how your shapes are stacked, this is called Minus Front (On the top row) or Minus Back (On the bottom row). You can also divide shapes, too. This means that you’ll overlap 2 shapes, and then it will break them down into all the little shapes that are created from the overlapping process.
Options like exclude with delete the parts where the shapes overlap, leaving everything else behind. This can be a really efficient feature for you, depending on what you’re doing. Hand drawing tough shapes is for the birds. If you can overlap a few basic shapes, trim some pieces here and there, and be done with it, that’s much better than painstakingly drawing it all anchorpoint by anchorpoint for 10 minutes. In our business, it’s how much you can do, in as little time as possible.
Do you use the Pathfinder Panel? I would imagine it saves you a ton of time when creating tough shapes. Do you have any tips for using the Pathfinder Panel? if so, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.