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Tutorial: Make a wallet using the Pathfinder tools

28 November 2010no comments all, design, tutorials

After publishing last week’s tutorial I got many questions regarding this tool called the pathfinder.
What is it, what does it do and where can I use It for?
So here’s a guide that will help you, and show you an alternative called clipping path.


First of all let’s make a document again.
Open up Illustrator, select  the menu file, and then New.
Make a portrait A4 with CMYK Colors and 300 DPI.


In the stage we are going to draw a rectangle shape
So press [M] on you keyboard and while shift pressed make an equal rectangle like this.


Ok, its very unhandy to have a white background in this situation. Let’s remove it the Photoshop way.
To do this pres [ctrl]+[shift]+[d] (cmnd instead of [ctrl] on Mac)
This will change the white background in blocks.
To get the white background back just press the same keystroke again.


Now let’s make a nice circle. Short-press[L] to activate the circle tool, while pressing [alt] and [shift] click on the centre of your rectangle and drag it to make a circle that covers the full rectangle (to get more precise on this one you can use the magnetic guide-lines, just activate them by pressing [ctrl]+[u]. they are automatically turned on in cs4 and 5 but in cs3 you have to activate them yourself).


We are going to drag the circle up now. Just activate the selection tool (blackmouse) [v] and drag the shape up to somewhere like on the picture above.


Now we are going to play with the Pathfinder!
Activate it from screen > pathfinder or press [shfit]+[ctrl]+[F9] on your keyboard (cmnd instead of ctrl on Mac)

With the [v] tool select both objects.
When they are both selected you should see blue blocks around the shapes.


Ok many options.
You have the shape-mods and the pathfinders. While the shape-mods consume 1 of the objects the pathfinders mostly keep the “cutted” parts in the background.
In this case we need both the lowest shape and the rectangle so we are going to press the second option of the pathfinders.


We now formed a group of items.
Double click one of the objects to get in the object. You can check that by looking up in the screen.


While you are still in the [v] tool, let’s select the circle and drag it down holding [alt] and [shift] this should result in a copy like this. (the centre of the circle on the bottomline of the rectangle).


Now select both circles by cliking them both holding shift. And in this case we are going to use the third option of the shape-mods. Now you have some kind of  a lemon-shape.


Give the broken rectangle a nice color like brown, black or blue.
And give the lemon the same color but darker (you can choose nice colors from the colorguide and the color-book, but getting color’s from www.colourlovers.com is good to. (we are going to play with these colors later on so don’t waste to much time).
Maybe the shape you made is a little bit smaller then the rectangle, but this is no problem.

Press [esc] to leave the group.

We are going to draw money..

Make a rectangle ([m] tool) and make it green.
Draw make some text on (texttool) it and kopy-pasta your face in. from a nice picture. Then make the transparency Darker or ligher (instead of the option Normal).


Get something like this (or different, use your imagination!)


When adding pictures perform “active trace” with ignore white! You can setup that within object -> active trace -> options.

Group this money together by selecting all of the stuff in your money and pressing [ctrl]+[g]
Now press the “wallet” again and press [shift]+[ctrl]+[g] to ungroup the object.


Now get the money above the wallet


First of all we need the lemon-shape to be in front of the money. Press lemon shape and hit [ctrl] “]”
To bring the lemon shape to front.

Now press the dark “lemon” shape and press [shift] to select the money as well.


Go to Object -> clipping mask -> make or [ctrl]+[7] now the object is still saved but the details are hidden outside the shape. You double-click the money twice to get it back and relocate it to drag it a little. When you think it’s good press [esc] to reveal the whole stage again.

Time for some cool effects!


First we need to round up the corners of the wallet.
Select the wallet (not the money) and go to effects -> stylize -> rounded corners and get some beautiful rounding. (in my case I did 10 mm).

The shape added the round corners but there are still lines from the hard corner. Tell illustrator that this is the defined shape by going to object -> expand shape (below expand).

Now it’s time to make some beautiful fabric to cover our wallet.


Make a very small rectangle by selecting rectangle tool and short-clicking the empty stage (outside the A4-area)
A screen will popup. Make both sides 5 mm and press OK.


Give this shape a light-blue, light-red or light-brown color and remove the borders


Now [ctrl]+[C] the object and [ctrl]+[f] it. Give it a darker color.


Now scale the object by right-clicking it and going to the dropdown menu: transform -> scale.


Scale it like above (separate) 50%x100%.


Select the darker shape and make it 50%transparent.

Copy the object again by [ctrl]+[c] then [ctrl]+[f].


Right-click again and select: transform -> rotate
And rotate it 90º.


Select the whole block with [v] and drag it to your color library.
You created a pattern!


Click the wallet and give it the new pattern-color!

Okay, you’re basicly finished. But if you want you can make it a little bit more beautiful by doing some nice tricks. Just try some things out. If you’re happy save your work and export it.

Created something you wanna show? Upload it and post it in the comment section below!

This is mine

About the Author

My name is Peter van der Meulen, I'm 21 years old, love computing, drawing, surfing (reallife), And i'm completely blown away by people who make good design (including me :p) I study Graphic Design @ ROC Friese Poort Drachten, and as a freelancer I create all kinds of stuff for my customers.

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