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Flexi/Lxi Contour effect in Illustrator

Discussion in 'Adobe' started by moondog, Jan 30, 2007.

  1. moondog

    moondog New Member

    Jan 30, 2007
    Does anyone know a simple way to accomplish the same contour effect that can be done in the Flexi program in Illustrator. In illustrator I am having a hard time getting this simple outlining task done with a group of objects or text. Offseting the path seems only to work on each object, not the group, which is what I'm looking for. This link shows an illistration of what I'm refering to. http://www.signwarehouse.com/tech-support/HTML/Software/VE_LXi/contour.html

  2. signsource1

    signsource1 Member

    Nov 18, 2006
    You will need to add "fine cut" to your illustrator which is basically the driver for plotting directly from illustrator. Don't know where to buy it came with a plotter we bought a couple of years ago.
  3. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

    Nov 29, 2003
    Kahului, Maui
    I do this just about every hour, every day.
    The way I do it is select a bunch of shapes (I call them contours... but since you are using that word for something else...)

    Then when they are all selected, I copy them to the clipboard. They are the correct shapes to paste back later... now the outlines will be made with the shapes left in the file, which are still selected. Now I apply a black stroke (or if the shapes have a black fill... I go with a color like red... then I keep increasing the point size of the stroke as I watch for the amount of outline I want. Pay close attantion to the nodes & the selection line traveling from node to node... this shows the size of the original shape that you will be pasting back. Using the stroke feature to create your outlines is only deceptive if you forget to watch those nodes... because the stroke is fattening up both sides of that selection line... but once you paste the original shapes back in front... your outline is only as big as the half of the stroke to the outside of the nodes.

    So, once you get the outlines (strokes) thick enough... you usually will want to click on the two "round" attribute boxes in the stroke dialog box. This will round off sharp points, but this is good for weeding & for sticker durability. Sometimes you won't want round outlines... but Illustrator has some weakness on creating sharp outlines... so make them round for now.

    The next thing you want to do, while all your shapes are still selected & now have rounded strokes at just the right size... go to the "object" menu & choose "path" & the flyout menu offers you to "outline stroke". Choose this... then while everything is still selected, go to the pathfinder dialog box & choose "unite"

    Now your outlines are done, you can go to the "edit" menu & choose "paste in front"

    This sounds complicated if you haven't done it... but like I said I am doing it at least half a dozen times a day &, it takes no time at all when you know what you're doing.

    Hope that helps.
  4. NukeProof

    NukeProof Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Offset the path. Go to Pathfinder tab - combine/unite the logo for the "group" effect :thumb:
  5. moondog

    moondog New Member

    Jan 30, 2007
    Thanks Guys...

    I'm with you up until the last part where I have to "unit" or "combine" the outlined stroke. I'm working with CS2, perhaps the terminology is different for other vrsions, but I can't find the unite or combine function. I think I've found a way to get to the same place though. After outlining the oversized stroke as suggested I then have the original object's path and then a path to the inside and the outside of that. If while everything is selected (all 3 paths) I right click and select ungroup, evrerything turns the same color and I can then select "add to shape area" in the pathfinder pane, expand, and everything welds together as one object with no holes in it... just what I was looking for. I'm only trying to form an oversized backdrop in another color for a logo in a vinyl application. Getting the right look in illustrator (on the screen) is no problem, but getting it right for the cutter is another matter... something I guess I took for granted in Flexi/Lxi.

    Thanks again for the help guys.
  6. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

    Apr 17, 2003
    Valle Vista
    I pretty much do it how Doug does it. It speeds up your designing, especially on complicated logos and layouts. Unless you know your specfic offset path measurement, it's usually hit and miss, adjusting strokes is faster an easier, then when the client picks a direction, you start making the production file depnding on if it's spot color print, screen, one color or vinyl.

    I have this example I made for someone a while back where it shows the design file on top, the layers with the strokes outlined for paint mask, digital and print applications or if they were brave enough, layered vinyl and then the one color version for that type of application.

    Attached Files:

  7. moondog

    moondog New Member

    Jan 30, 2007

    Your pictures are worth a thousand words...

    Thats what I'm looking for, a simple way to take a nice looking logo, much like yours, and get it ready for one or more color vinyl. I just wondered if there were a more simplistic way around the process.

    Thanks again for the information.

  8. hockeymania

    hockeymania Member

    Jan 17, 2007
    I will try this out.....:)



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