I have an illustration (in Adobe Illustrator) as shown below:

enter image description here

The image consist of "leaves" on top on other leaves- white fill, black stroke (the middle part of the leave is an object also, and not a stroke). My goal is to keep only the black color, removing the white, without the outline showing as in image 2. I want to prevent the lines going into each other because of the transperancy. Is there anything that i could do ?

enter image description here

  • 1
    use the white objects to remove part of the shape below. Basic Illustrator pathfinder operation.
    – Luciano
    Apr 17, 2018 at 12:48

4 Answers 4

  • Select all

  • Object > Expand Appearance (if available)

  • Object > Expand

  • Pathfinder Panel > Merge

  • Select 1 white fill with the Direct Selection Tool (white arrow)....

  • Select > Same > Fill Color

  • Hit the Delete key.


Since the image is already just black and white, one simple method is to use the image as an opacity mask of itself, set to invert.

The inverted opacity mask will make the white transparent, leaving only the black lines visible

Here's an example:

enter image description here

And here's the result of that without all the paths highlighted

enter image description here

  • Good quick approach, I haven't thought of that one. But it might leave behind some white residue due to the antialias of either the mask or the object.
    – Luciano
    Apr 17, 2018 at 15:19
  • Its better to use knockout groups and 100 transparent white
    – joojaa
    Apr 17, 2018 at 18:29

Dear OP and other people opening Illustrator for the first time: Learn how to combine vector objects. This is a very basic Illustrator shape operation.

  1. select all your shapes

  2. select the Live Paint Bucket (k) and click on the selection to make a live paint object

  3. Use or to select transparent color (on the color palette above the Live Paint Cursor)
  4. click on all areas you want to make invisible.

There's still room left for one. It's "you can divide the objects below"

enter image description here

  1. The shape to be divided. It must have only closed paths. Open paths will not work. The mid black vessel is four separate closed paths, all filled with black.

  2. Insert to the top the dividing path. Copy it to the clipboard, because it vanishes otherwise. Select the divider path. It can be an open curve.

  3. Goto Object > Path > Divide Objects Below. The divider vanishes, a new border is generated

  4. Select and delete the unwanted spliters

  5. Paste in place the divider from the clipboard and give to it the wanted stroke. The orange shape below all is there only to show that all is transparent.

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