Section 50. Creating Complex Shapes

#50. Creating Complex Shapes

While the Pen tool is the only tool that lets you draw complex shapes, InDesign offers a handy palette that lets you create complex shapes from two or more basic shapes. When multiple objects are selected, the Pathfinder palette (Window > Object & Layout > Pathfinder) provides five options for creating a single shape that's generated from the selected objects. The results you get from the Pathfinder options depend on the stacking order of the selected objects. If you don't get the results you want, use the Arrange commands (Object > Arrange) to adjust the stacking order.

Here's a brief explanation of the Pathfinder options:

Add: Combines the selected objects to form a single, all encompassing shape (Figure 50a).

Subtract: All objects in front of the backmost object are removed (Figure 50b).

Intersect: Creates a shape from overlapping areas and excludes areas that don't overlap (Figure 50c).

Exclude Overlap: The opposite of Intersect. Creates a shape from areas that do not overlap (Figure 50d).

Minus Back: Somewhat like Subtract. All objects in back of the frontmost object are removed (Figure 50e).

Figure 50a. The Add button combines multiple objects into a single object.

Figure 50b. In this example, the Subtract option in the Pathfinder palette generated the shape on the right by "punching out" several circles from a square black background frame (center).

Figure 50c. The Intersect button creates an object from overlapping areas.

Figure 50d. The Exclude Overlap button creates an object from areas that don't overlap.

Figure 50e. The Minus Back button removes the background objects from the frontmost object.

The five Pathfinder options are also available as commands in the Object menu (Object > Pathfinder).

If You Can't Draw It Easily with InDesign ...

InDesign's drawing features are capable of handling many illustration tasks, but if your drawing requirements exceed InDesign's capabilities, your best bet is to use a dedicated illustration program, like Illustrator. You can even begin work on an illustration in Illustrator, and then copy and paste it into InDesign and use InDesign's drawing features to further modify the illustration.

Adobe InDesign CS2 How-Tos(c) 100 Essential Techniques
Adobe InDesign CS2 How-Tos: 100 Essential Techniques
ISBN: 0321321901
EAN: 2147483647
Year: N/A
Pages: 142

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