Adobe Illustrator - Understanding Paths
This guide will show you what paths are and their importance in Illustrator workflow.
A path is a straight line between two points. All vector artwork inside of Illustrator is made up of paths.
Fills, strokes and effects act like clothing that goes on top of a skeleton. To see the underlying structure of paths inside of the artwork use outline mode.
Access Outline Mode
- Choose the selection tool.
- Press Ctrl+Y on the PC, Cmd+Y on the Mac.
To exit out of this, just press Cmd or Ctrl+Y again.
- Just the paths of the objects are now visible.
The beginning and end of each segment are marked by anchor points, which work like pins holding a string in place. A path can be closed (for example, a circle), or open, with distinct endpoints (for example, a wavy line).
Change the shape of a path by clicking and dragging its anchor points.
Paths can have two kinds of anchor points: corner points and smooth points. At a corner point, a path abruptly changes direction. At a smooth point, path segments are connected as a continuous curve.
Select anchor points
- Click the points that make up the path with the Direct Selection tool to select them.
- Shift-click to select multiple points.
- Using the Direct Selection tool and drag a boundary around the anchor points. Shift-drag around additional anchor points to select them.
Add or delete anchor points
- Select the path to modify.
- To add an anchor point, select the Pen tool or the Add Anchor Point tool, position the pointer over the path segment, and click.
- To delete an anchor point, do either of the following:
- Select the point with the Direct Selection tool and click Remove Selected Anchor Points in the Control panel.
- Select the Pen tool or the Delete Anchor Point tool, position the pointer over the anchor point, and click.
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