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How do make I make this image transparent in Adobe Illustrator?
February 2, 2010 8:03 PM   Subscribe

How do make I make this image transparent in Adobe Illustrator?

Not sure how to ask this, but I'll try. Basically if you look at this vector image I purchased online, you'll notice I've opened it in Illustrator and highlighted those white shapes. But that's the problem - those shapes are actually layers with a white background. What I need instead is for those areas to be transparent so I can import it to Photoshop and edit it. Currently when I import to Photoshop, the circle in the middle and other negative spaces show up as white, not transparent.

Sorry I am terrible at phrasing this.

Is there an easy way to make those selections in Illustrator and "cut them out of" the gear shape?
posted by deern the headlice to Computers & Internet (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Without seeing the file itself, the "quick and dirty" way I would do it would be to just open the original file in Photoshop. Photoshop will import the image (after offering to let you choose the size and resolution.) Then you can select the white areas with the magic wand tool and delete the white, making it transparent.
posted by The Deej at 8:07 PM on February 2, 2010


Give the layers 0% opacity.
posted by rhizome at 8:11 PM on February 2, 2010


I've tried the magic wand and the Color Range, adjusting them in various ways, but neither is giving quite smooth enough results.
posted by deern the headlice at 8:12 PM on February 2, 2010


In Illustrator there should be an option in a submenu to select all objects of a specific color or stroke color. This has changed places in different editions but it's there at least since CS2. Find it and select all white objects, and delete them.
posted by Mizu at 8:16 PM on February 2, 2010


Find it and select all white objects, and delete them.

If I delete those objects, then I'm left with a black background.
posted by deern the headlice at 8:23 PM on February 2, 2010


you want to do a compound path of that gear.

Basically what you have in the drawing is not a real 'carved' gear (ie: what that would be if i was a real milled piece, with full parts and empty parts), you have the external contour and then a few white patches on it to make it 'look' like that gear.

So what you want to do to have the white parts transparent, or empty, when you import it in PS, is to select all, ungroup (multiple times if necessary, ctrl (or apple)+shift+g) then select the outermost part (the one in black) and one of the white parts, then go to path > make compound path, or simply ctrl (apple) +8. This makes the first 'hole'; repeat this with the other white parts and you get your 'empty' gear.

Notice that Illustrator will bring the compound path to the foreground, so you'll probably need to send it to the background (objects>arrange>send to back) before repeating.
posted by _dario at 8:25 PM on February 2, 2010


Can you put all the white shapes on the black shape and choose "Make Compound Path" It should be in the Object menu somewhere
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:27 PM on February 2, 2010


Try this: Open up the Pathfinder palette ("Window > Pathfinder"). Select white shape, control+click the black shape, then click the Subtract icon on the Pathfinder palette.
posted by AlsoMike at 8:28 PM on February 2, 2010


then select the outermost part (the one in black) and one of the white parts, then go to path > make compound path, or simply ctrl (apple) +8. This makes the first 'hole'; r

When I select both the black and white, and click Make Compound Path, the white shapes disappear.

Try this: Open up the Pathfinder palette ("Window > Pathfinder"). Select white shape, control+click the black shape, then click the Subtract icon on the Pathfinder palette.

If you mean the Minus Front icon, I tried and that too makes the white pieces disappear rather than cutting them out of the shape :/
posted by deern the headlice at 8:41 PM on February 2, 2010


Select your shapes (both black and white), then in the Pathfinder pallette, select "Exclude overlapping shape areas" (rightmost icon under "Shape Modes")
posted by davey_darling at 9:01 PM on February 2, 2010


I don't believe it can all be done at once.

Starting from the very inside, if you subtract the centre white circle from the next larger black circle you should have a ring. The next shape you need to be able to make is a much wider black ring, again subtracting the white circle from the larger black one. After that, your three oblong shapes distributed in that ring area can be subtracted. Finally you will need to take the largest white circle from a black shape that is round but with the cog ridges. There you will have three black shapes, the inner a simple black ring, the outermost, like a ring but with cog ridges, and the centre shape a wide ring but with the three chunks out. There will be times when it looks all wrong. I would colour the black pieces different colours to keep it sorted in my mind until I was done.
posted by b33j at 9:01 PM on February 2, 2010


I think I know what the problem might be - at least I was just able to recreate it in Illustrator.

The inner black circle is a separate shape that sits on top of a larger white circle (together they "create" the impression of the outermost round white outline).

First use the Minus Front icon on the Pathfinder panel for the larger white circle and the biggest black shape.

Then repeat the same action for the smaller white shapes and the black circle in the middle.
posted by wet-raspberry at 9:02 PM on February 2, 2010


they shouldn't be disappearing, as much as the resulting object goes on top, covering them; if you select the resulting object, right click and select "arrange>send to back" you should get everything.
(anyway, mail is in my profile; you can email me the ai and i'll send you the 'drilled' file in minutes. Just, save as illustrator 10. or lower, because I have an old Illustrator 10 on this laptop)
posted by _dario at 9:11 PM on February 2, 2010


In other words, first use Minus Front on the red shapes; then use Minus Front on the blue shapes (i made this image this image out of the one you posted). Talking about visual stuff is just.. hard.
posted by wet-raspberry at 9:12 PM on February 2, 2010


I see some random gears and stuff in the periphary... either delete them or copy/paste the shapes in question into a new document.

The following may sound complicated but I think it is the simplest way to accomplish what you want. We're essentially going to collapse the shapes, delete what we don't want, and paste into photoshop as a shape layer... which you can color any way you want, apply styles to and still preserve the vectors.

Select all, and press "d" to make every vector path white with a black stroke (default). Press "shift+x" to invert the fill/stroke. Press "x" to make the stroke the "active" color selection. Press "/" to set the stroke color to none. Now find your "pathfinder" palette (or choose it in the "window" drop down to open it) and click on the first icon in the second row (pathfinders)... here you may want to hover over the icon with your pointer to double check you have the right one... Illustrator will show a mouseover that indicates that it is the "Divide" tool. Click the divide tool. Divide leaves the whole thing grouped, so now press "shift-apple-g" to ungroup everything. Press "V" to ensure that you are using the direct selection tool. Now click anywhere on the artboard away from the vectors to deselect them. At this point you'll just see a solid black gear shape. Click on the outside of that shape to select it, and then hold shift as you drag a selection over everything. This will deselect what was previously selected and select everything else. Press delete. Now you should have a completely transparent vector shape like you want. Now select it and copy it to the clipboard. Go to photoshop, and create a new document. Once open, paste the contents of the clipboard. Photoshop will ask you how you want to paste the item... choose "shape layer." Now you will have a photoshop shape layer consisting of a fill color and a vector mask. You can change the color at any time by double clicking on its swatch in the layers palette... or edit the vectors by clicking on the mask to the right of the swatch.
posted by muscat at 12:48 AM on February 3, 2010


Dammit.... I lost track of my mind there and gave you the wrong instructions... I wish mefi just let you edit comments.

After you divide and ungroup the shapes... ignore what I said. Instead, use "apple-y" to toggle between regular mode and outline mode to see what you want to click on... and just click and delete the parts you want to be transparent. When you're ready, select all and group, then do the paste into photoshop thing.

Sorry to be confusing!
posted by muscat at 12:58 AM on February 3, 2010


If you're still stuck, email it to me and I can do it in literally thirty seconds.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:06 AM on February 3, 2010


what b33j said. That or if you just want it as a black shape, set it to multiply once it's in Photoshop.
posted by carlh at 3:57 AM on February 3, 2010


Group the white objects together and then select both the white objects and the black gear. Using the pathfinder pallet (Window>Pathfinder) choose the second mode under "shape mode" which is "subtract from shape area" (if you hover over boxes with your mouse, the name will pop up in a sec) .That should do it.
posted by studentbaker at 8:11 AM on February 3, 2010


Select all of the shapes and use Pathfinder -> Divide. Now you can select the white shapes individually and delete them, leaving behind cutouts in the black shape.
posted by daser at 10:50 AM on February 3, 2010


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