I can't for the life of me figure out how to fix this. Just finished a logo design for a client and am trying to make all of the white areas a compound path with the circle, so that it's fully transparent when overlayed on a background. The screenshot below shows the before and after. As you can see I've lost detail in the rough line inside the circle but picked up a lot of unwanted detail in the letters. Has anyone ever encountered this before? I put a yellow background behind so you can see it. Any ideas on how to fix this? enter image description here


The normal behaviour of the compound path (=what you obviously expected, included for the beginners who wonder what is going on):

enter image description here

In the left image there's a pile of simple closed shapes. From the bottom:

  • yellow rectangle, no stroke
  • black circle, no stroke
  • white ring, no stroke
  • white rectangle, no stroke
  • smaller white rectangle, a black stroke to make it visible

In the right image everything except the yellow shape is selected and a compound path was made.

The result:

The small rectangle cutted a hole to the bigger rectangle, the rest of bigger rectangle cutted a hole into the black circle, the white ring cutted a hole to the black circle.

There are a couple of hitches possible:

  • the strokes disappear. That explains your lost details.
  • open paths act like there were a fill. That has partly created your new complex details.

More new details are explained in the following.

What is actually filled and what's not in complex compound path is difficult to pretend. It can be changed by selecting the filling rule in the attributes panel. In the next image there's three different fills for the same compound path. The rightmost is the default and the 2 others are made by clicking the icons in the attributes panel:

enter image description here

A fix: Use the white parts as an opacity mask for the black circle. If there's something visible black included to the mask, that place stays black.

In the following example all above the yellow and black rectangles are selected and grouped, also the black parts. The group is used as an opacity mask for the black rectangle:

enter image description here

See the settings: no clip, invert the mask. The creation of the mask is found from the right top corner menu of the transparency panel. Select the group and the black rectangle and click Make Opacity Mask.

| improve this answer | |
  • THANK YOU!!! That was an easy fix. The opacity mask worked perfectly. – Kelli Passalacqua Dec 31 '17 at 13:45
  • 2 downvotes and accept - not bad, altough greater differences have been seen. The difference is natural, if the answer develops slowly from a total misundestanding of the question to a solution and the intermediate versions have some serious errors. – user287001 Dec 31 '17 at 14:51

It looks like you had strokes applied to some (or all) of the components before you applied the compound path. If this is the case then you need to proceed as follows:

  • Select the objects and go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke. This will covert the strokes to filled shapes.
  • You now need to combine the outlined strokes with their objects. The easiest way to do this is using Unite in the Pathfinder palette. You may need to do some ungrouping and/or tackle each shape individually for this to work depending on how you built your artwork.
  • Once you have done this for all the elements of your design, the compound path should work as expected and you will have a compound object with transparent ‘holes’ that respects your original design intent.

Sometimes the effect that you are seeing can be fixed by reapplying the stroke after creating the compound path, but I’m not sure if this would work in this case.

| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks. The "after" logo was with everything created as paths and outlined strokes and united with the Pathfinder. The Opacity Mask solution worked best in this case. – Kelli Passalacqua Dec 31 '17 at 13:48

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.