Vector Art: AD360


Compound Paths, Compound Shapes, Pathfinder Palette, Path Commands

A Compound Path consists of two or more simple paths that have been combined to form a new compound object. One useful aspect of compound paths is that a hole can be created where the original objects overlapped. These holes are empty areas cut out (like a donut or the letter O), through which other objects can be seen. In addition, you can use compound paths to force multiple objects to behave as if they are a single unit. For example, they could be used as a mask.

The Compound Path command can be found under Object > Compound Path > Make. To release a Compound Path go to Object > Compound Path > Release. The new compound object takes on the appearance of the topmost object.

FILL RULES: When a simple path intersects itself one or more times, the spaces defined by the overlaps can be filled in one of two ways: the default Non-Zero Winding Fill Rule, or the Even-Odd Fill Rule. Under the Even-Odd Fill Rule, every other space gets filled. To specify the Even-Odd Fill Rule, choose Window: Attributes, and on the Attributes palette, click the Use Even-Odd Fill Rule button. To change it back to the default, click on the adjacent Use Non-Zero Winding Fill Rule button. When the Non-Zero Fill Rule is applied, there are two additional commands that you can use to control which spaces are filled or left as holes; they are the Reverse Path Direction On and Reverse Path Direction Off commands, on the Attributes palette. Changing the direction of a path within a Non-Zero compound path flips the fill/hole relationships of the spaces enclosed within that path. More info...


The Pathfinder palette contains several tools to create a new, closed path(s) or a compound path from two or more selected and overlapping objects by merging together, subtracting from one another and dissecting into segments. The Pathfinder palette contains two rows of buttons. The upper row contains Shape Modes buttons, the lower row contains the Pathfinder buttons. For best results apply Pathfinders to filled, closed paths. Pathfinders cannot be applied to objects which have gradient mesh or effects applied. But you can make compound shapes from objects to which effects have been applied. However, only the distort and warp effects will appear in the compound shape. If you no longer need to make changes to the Compound Shape, the Expand button can be used to remove the invisible paths you no longer need. This result unifies the shapes into one path on one layer.

Compound Shapes do more than just combine two or more shapes into a single object. A compound path appears as a single object on a sublayer in the Layers palette until it's released. A compound shape appears as editable art in the layers palette with every object in the shape on a separate sublayer. This gives you much more control over editing complex objects.

Shape Modes:

Pathfinder Commands:

More Path commands (under Object menu > Path)