For example, I have a basic shape with a fill and stroke (or other kind of appearance effects applied to get this result):

enter image description here

From this, I want two separate shapes, each a simple filled shape with no stroke. One shape is the extracted fill part, and the other is a fill of the outline shape essentially:

enter image description here enter image description here

Once I have these shapes I would like to further modify the center shape by subtracting other shapes from it, while retaining the original background shape. For example to end up with these two shapes:

enter image description here enter image description here

The key constraint here is that I do not want to re-create the base shape in several different places to generate these two shapes. The base shape may change frequently, and it would take too much time to replace it in multiple places each time.

I can almost accomplish this by using two fills, one with offset path, but I don't know how to apply effects like pathfinder to one of the fills to merge it with other shapes.

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    Hi and welcome to GDSE! It's hard for me to tell if what you want is possible without knowing exactly why you need it. I don't think you will ever be able to dynamically apply separate effects to the outer black shape - only to the gray base shape. Could it be a solution to keep your gray base shapes grouped and add the black outer shape as an effect/stroke to that group? – Wolff Jul 14 at 23:38
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    One could simply apply a stroke to grouped base objects.... Without more detail on why you need to use pathfinder on only a portion of objects, and retain some sort of separate outline object would be needed for certainty. (The stroke could be expanded and merged when done editing objects. See the link.) – Scott Jul 15 at 7:59
  • Thanks for the feedback, I've added some more info. Thanks! – Ryan Jul 15 at 14:58
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    If I understand your key constraint correctly – that you are using the same shape in multiple places – then perhaps turning the shape into a symbol could be a solution. Then you can simply edit the symbol and all of the instances will update accordingly. Plus you could create similar shapes as separate symbols and replace the original if needed. – dom Jul 15 at 16:12
  • I still don't get it.. copy the original shapes. Place the copies on a layer below. Edit the originals all you want. You aren't going to be able to dynamically alter base shapes and not alter anything "connected" to those shapes (via effects or other operations). – Scott Jul 15 at 18:54

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