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I have two objects in Illustrator, a black circle and the silhouette of a person (in white). I want to subtract the silhouette from the black circle. So that everything but (what is left of) the black circle is transparent. How do I do this?

  • Did you first google the exact title you used for this question...? – Alin Nov 9 '17 at 15:23
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There are two methods.

1. Compund Path

Object > Compound Path > Make (Ctrl/Command+8)


2. Pathfinder

Window > Pathfinder (Ctrl/Command+Shift+F9)

Select your objects, then Minus Front in the Pathfinder Panel

enter image description here

That will remove the silhouette shape from the circle - leaving it blank (transparent).

  • Thanks for your quick response but both aren't working. The first option gives me this response: "Can't make a compound path. All objects in a compound path must be paths, and they cannot be brushed or be part of an object." The second, I select both objects hit the subtract command in Pathfinder window, it looks no different and I get: The filter produced no results. Please select two intersecting paths." Any other ideas? – Adobe Soup Nov 9 '17 at 15:44
  • @AdobeSoup Ungroup your stuff first. – joojaa Aug 14 '18 at 7:34

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