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This is an odd request and something I've never had to worry about in Illustrator until now. I'm building out a logo that will be printed on a shirt. Instead of having a solid black border around the vector hand, the client wants the black border to be "transparent" so when it is placed on top of a pattern, you see the pattern background. I have an example below of what I'm trying to accomplish.

Logo outlined in black in current form

Image over a pattern with transparent fill

The second photo I mocked up in Photoshop to show what I'm trying to do. It's very easy to select the border path in Photoshop and simply wipe it out. Does Illustrator have a "transparent" fill option in the Path area? Selecting a color and dropping the transparent percentage didn't do the trick.

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2 Answers 2

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What you essentially need to do is separate the stroke from the fill. Then subtract the stroke from the fill.

You can do this by using the Object > Expand item in the menu then the Pathfinder Panel or Shape Builder Tool will allow you to cut the stroke from the fill.

So....

  • Select the hand
  • Object > Expand (tick all options and hit OK)
  • Click the Merge button on the Pathfinder Panel
  • Using the Direct Selection Tool (the white arrow), click the black shape (formerly a stroke)
  • Hit Delete

You should be left with only the white objects and gaps between them where the black used to be.

animtion

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That worked great, thank you very much for the help! Would I be able to apply that same process to the "2014" at the bottom of the hand as well? Doesn't seem to be working the same way since it is font vs. a shape/object. –  adamuiowa Feb 28 at 22:10
    
For text you first need to choose Type > Create Outlines Then Object > Expand Appearance.. then follow the steps above. –  Scott Feb 28 at 23:03
    
Scott, I'm unable to select Object > Expand Appearance (only Expand is an option). I tried the Pathfinder > Exclude option which works, but it deselects the left part of the hand for some odd reason. Any tips? –  adamuiowa Mar 3 at 19:33
    
Sorry, without a sample file I can't provide direct reference to specific steps. –  Scott Mar 3 at 19:34
    
My goal is trying to make the font transparent over the background image. Image link: camavision.com/wp/images/font-outline-example.jpg I'm able to add outlines, but I don't have the option to use "Expand Appearance" (only "Expand"). Using the steps for the hand up top didn't work either. File sample: camavision.com/wp/images/font-transparent.eps –  adamuiowa Mar 3 at 19:42

If this is being printed on a tshirt you probably don't need to make the objects transparent in the files, but you need to ask the screenprinter to use a less opaque white ink when the print it.

The answers above about how to get all the shapes right are still valid, of course.

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