Home > Adobe, Illustrator > Adobe Illustrator Shapes Explained

Adobe Illustrator Shapes Explained

The idea behind Compound Shapes, Compound Paths, and Clipping Masks may be a bit confusing, if only because the names are so similar (and unhelpful). The difference is explained a bit here. The sample illustrator file is here.

  • Compound Shapes allows the basic component shapes to still be edited even after combining the shapes with the Shape Modes buttons. [alt/opt+click a Shape Mode button]
  • Clipping Masks uses the top shape to hide the artwork below so only the parts that overlap are visible. [ctrl/cmd+7]
  • Compound Paths are two paths that make a hole where they overlap. [ctrl/cmd+8]

Complex Shapes in Illustrator

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