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"Expand and Flatten" Advanced Pathfinder Option | Feature Request

New Here ,
Mar 04, 2024 Mar 04, 2024

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I would love a more complex pathfinder tool to automate a common but very tedious task when finishing out complex graphics in a single color (i.e. black+white or positive+negative space). Say you are creating a complex design where you are use various shapes and strokes layered on top of each other to create the final design.

 

To create a finished, ready-to-use vector from this, you have to go through and expand everything, then do many individual pathfinder operations to piece everything together. It is very time consuming and you often have to plan the order of operations out to make sure the final graphic looks correct.

 

I would love an advanced Pathfinder operation where it essentially "flattens" the vectors, expanding all of the strokes and merging/subtracting based on what is visible in the viewport to produce a clean graphic with no overlapping paths. My initial thought is to have it so that white is considered "Negative" and black is considered "Positive", but it would be nice to be able to explicitly say which colors are negative and subtractive in the panel. This might even allow running this operation with more than one color.

 

To explain it in a different way, the end result would be similar in effect to rasterizing the graphic in black and white, and then using image trace and ignoring the negative space color. This is not a valid solution as it will significantly modify your paths, and this proposed feature would keep your vector artwork as close to the input as possible with little effort.

 

I am attaching a graphic to illustrate this idea, where the hope would be you could go from the graphic on the left to the one on the right with this Pathfinder feature and save a lot of time.

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Adobe
Community Expert ,
Mar 04, 2024 Mar 04, 2024

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You can get pretty close:

Object > Flatten transparency - turn on "Outline strokes" and "Outline text"

Pathfinder panel: Merge (bottom row)

Create a rectangle filles with white and Select > Same > Fill

Delete

Create a rectangle filles with none and Select > Same > Fill and stroke

Delete

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