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"Welding" in Illustrator

Discussion in 'Adobe' started by Retneprac, Feb 24, 2006.

  1. Retneprac

    Retneprac New Member

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    I can't seem to find the action in AI 10 that actually "welds" objects together. The way I have been "welding" objects is to actually import my eps files into SignLab which has a very obvious weld button on the toolbar. I then select everything that I want "welded" together and hit that button. All is fine at that point.

    Well, I decided to upgrade from my SignLab 5.0 to FlexiSign Pro version 7.6 and I can't seem to find the "weld" button in that program either and most things that I have tried to cut in Flexi have cut extra lines and I end up resorting back to SignLab. At this point, I want to do all of the work required to cut any of my work in the same program that I design everything in...Illustrator.

    I guess my question is what function do I use to actually "weld" objects together in Illustrator and make them cuttable before I import into the cutting software? My searches for "weld" in the help menu have turned up to be pretty useless, so I figured I would turn to Signs101 as my help menu.

    Thanks for any and all help.


    David
     
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  2. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

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    Look for the "Pathfinder" window.....
     
  3. Bigdawg

    Bigdawg Just Me

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    Merge command in the pathfinder window
     
  4. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    In Illustrator, turn on your Pathfinder palette. There are several options, the most commonly used being the "Merge" command. Use the Alt button to expand the effect as you apply it or expand after you're done.

    Illustrator has a nasty habit, however, of creating duplicate unfilled paths laying directly under the paths you merge (or weld). These will cause you lots of grief in later use and should be checked for and removed.

    There are two separate aids, both freeware, which will prove valuable in dealing with issues.

    Select is a plugin which adds many more choices to your Select menu.

    WR-RemoveDuplicates is a script that will find duplicates and remove them automatically.

    In Flexi, the Weld command is located in the Tools > Combine menu. There is also a button set you can add to your toolbar.

    We had a discussion of the Illustrator issue about a year and a half ago which you may want to read. It is HERE.
     
  5. tiamarie

    tiamarie Member

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  6. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    The newest versions of Illustrator treat Pathfinder operations a bit differently. If you simply select objects and directly apply one of the Pathfinder operations it is applied as a "live" effect. The objects look as though they are welded, but aren't really welded. Selecting the "expand" or "flatten transparancy" commands will make the live effects permanent.

    If you hold down the Alt key (PC) or Option key (Mac) while clicking a Pathfinder operation then it will be made immediately permanent. Also, the operation doesn't create a new duplicate object. The original objects are consumed in the operation.
     
  7. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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  8. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    Well then I'd like to know why it happens to me and how to make it stop. It only happens with merging of combined objects ... but it happens there all the time.

    I can tell you that a clipart developer I know just had to redo and replace an entire CD collection to several thousand customers because of the duplicate paths generated by merging compounded objects.
     
  9. The Vector Doctor

    The Vector Doctor Very Active Member

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    I use the merge/subtract/add - all the pathfinder tools in illustrator 20-30 times a day and never have a problem with duplicate paths AFAIK. I only get this if I click paste in front/back one too many times.
     
  10. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    It doesn't work the same way on the merge command.

    The "add," "subtract," "intersect," and "exclude" (as well as "minus back") commands in the Pathfinder palette will not leave behind any duplicate objects in IllustratorCS2.

    The "divide," "trim," "merge," "crop," and "outline" buttons can leave behind duplicates.

    Basically you have to vary the command to use to get the desired result.

    The approach CorelDRAW uses makes things a bit easier when it comes to welding. Your shift+click order when selected can make the difference on what object is to be cut by another. You can apply weld and cut operations to an entire group (without the resulting object being turned into a single object with one fill color). The "frozen" view options with the Lens filter also allow some powerful welding capabilities. However, there are times where Corel's filters generate duplicate objects too.
     
  11. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    Try a merge with two compounded objects.
     
  12. The Vector Doctor

    The Vector Doctor Very Active Member

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    Hey fred, you are right. I guess I never used it on a compound shape. I usually use add/subtract/minus back/intersect/exclude. I will keep the merge gotcha issue in mind for the future

    To be honest, I don't use the merge tool that much. Usually I copy the shape I want to keep, and after using the aforementioned tools, I paste in front or back the shape that I wanted to keep.
     
  13. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    I don't get duplicate objects when using Add, Subtract, Intersect and Exclude even when welding compounded paths together. Also, I usually hold down the Alt key when selecting the operation to make it immediately permanent.

    The merge command as well as others on the lower tier of pathfinder buttons will leave behind duplicate paths.
     
  14. Retneprac

    Retneprac New Member

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    This is actually what I needed to know...

    I noticed that when I hit the merge it would basically just group them and I could still ungroup and move the separate pieces without any change. What exactly do the expand & flatten buttons actually do to the graphic? I think I will go ahead and utilize the Alt function. Thanks for the help,:U Rock: .
     
  15. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    Expand simply executes the command without showing you the result first. Not using the Expand command saves you from having to use the Undo command if you don't like the result. The idea is that the various pathfinder and other commands can be confusing and it may be preferred to see the result before you execute the Expand command to make it final.

    Flatten will reduce all layers to just one. You can also at the same time choose whether to have strokes expanded into paths etc.
     
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