This seemed like it was going to be a simple project. I need to create a simple brain illustration. I decided the best way was to draw the meat of the brain as a really thick stroke that traced the folds. I would outline the path and then apply a gradient mesh so that I could simulate the round folds of the brain.
I draw my first path segment, select Path>outline stroke and assume that it did what I asked it to do. If I now select Expand... it combines the overlapping pieces of the outlined path into one shape. I don't want that. I want my outlined path to be outlined with overlaps if necessary. Is there any way to do this?
In my opinion, the Outline Path function should in fact outline the path. If there are overlapping areas of the outline, so be it. If I want them to be combined, I'll select Pathfinder-> Unite. Don't do that step for me because it loses the entire value of the outline path function.
Hopefully this makes enough sense that I don't have to go down the rabbit hole of diagramming the problem. Let me know if you need a visual to understand my problem.