me again. I'm having trouble with logo creation. As you can see in the following images, I'm using a couple of circles which intersect, but after trying to remove the intersections on the inner side of the circle, it gets distorted and new unnecessary anchor points get added. I'm just wondering for a workaround for this and maybe tips for a better workflow in general :)

view of shapes before creating outlines. object after creating outlines after using shape builder tool to remove inside object after using shape builder to blend in objects anchor points which distort perfect circle more anchor points

  • Hi. Welcome to GDSE. Why do the extra anchors matter? I don't see anything I would describe as "distortion" in your example. The circle still looks absolutely fine to me.
    – Billy Kerr
    Nov 10, 2020 at 18:12
  • You do understand that illustrator is unable to make a perfect circle.
    – joojaa
    Nov 10, 2020 at 18:14

2 Answers 2


Illustrator have a lot of nifty tools which makes it easy to quickly draw complicated shapes, but some of them tend to add a lot of unwanted anchor points which can't be removed easily.

I can't give you a recipe for "the best workflow". It's more about knowing a lot of trick and workarounds and learning when to use them.

If you expand a circle with a stroke, the outer path gets additional anchor points:

If you instead create two circles and use Minus Front in the Pathfinder panel, you get a cleaner result:

So if you create your circles like that you can use Pathfinder operations for example like this:

The three rings consist of two circles each, a black outer circle and a white inner circle.

First I select the two circles which makes up one of the large rings and click Minus Front in the Pathfinder panel to subtract the inner circle from the outer one. In other words, I use the inner circle to create a hole in the outer one.

I do the same with the other large ring.

Then I select the small outer ring and the two large rings I just created and click Unite in the Pathfinder panel to combine all the black parts.

Lastly I select this newly created black part and the inner circle of the small ring and click Minus Front in the Pathfinder panel. This way I subtract the inner circle of the small ring from the rest of the figure and that's it.

There are other ways to do this. The operations could be done in another order. This is just an example to get you started.

  • I don't particularly understand why parts of the circles are transparent in your last gif. And how do I get to that point? Sorry if my questions are newbie-like. My initial starter experience was totally lead by using the shape builder tool instead of pathfinder and I guess I am facing the consequences now. Nov 11, 2020 at 0:02
  • 1
    OK, I've tried to explain it more in detail and made a new gif with a gray background, so it's easier to see what's going on. Don't be shy to ask for further clarifications. 😀
    – Wolff
    Nov 11, 2020 at 0:45
  • 1
    Btw, I'm not saying that it's wrong to use Shape Builder at all. It's just good to know different ways to achieve the same thing. Especially if you are interested in avoiding unnecessary anchor points. I can't guarantee the circles won't be slightly deformed this way also. As @joojaa pointed out, Illustrator isn't capable of making perfect circles and as you manipulate the shapes, small deformations will occur.
    – Wolff
    Nov 11, 2020 at 0:48
  • they also end up getting deformed, although it is a nice workaround. should I just drop the idea of having a perfect circle and try making them at leas visually perfect or should I use other software? Nov 11, 2020 at 21:02
  • and now I'm facing the same issue but with outer parts of the circle as I need to remove some of the curves that stem from it and I can't seem to think of a way to reinterpret your solution in that context. Nov 11, 2020 at 21:03

Shape Builder adds anchors whenever there's an underlying path intersection. Just how it works.

I DO see the distortion, although it's minor. The circle starts looking like a daisy with slightly bulged sections. Could be align to pixel grid - Just guessing. If you're working rather large the pixel grid alignment could cause these sort of subtle changes. Hard to say really.

Best way around both of these is to draw a new circle on top, remove that inner-extra-anchors-with-bulges-circle, and use Pathfinder to subtract your n circle from the shape. It'll be much cleaner.

Much of this is merely working around how sloppy shape builder can be. it's not meant to be a precision tool. If it were, it would remove redundant anchors, etc.

  • Well, no you mischaracterize it a bit. Its true its not super precise. But in reality the extra anchors get there because its trying to eliminate tearing i vain.
    – joojaa
    Nov 10, 2020 at 18:41
  • yeah, it's minor and it matters as what I end up doing afterwards is using the same shape, offsetting it to the right and overlapping two of the ending points and that's where the minor thing becomes a big difference that is perceivable by the eye. I will try out your suggestions. Thanks! Nov 10, 2020 at 19:54
  • I am having trouble understanding and putting into place your method suggestion, would really enjoy if I could see a video of it. Nov 11, 2020 at 0:00
  • You really should not need a video. Requesting one is a bit over the top. My time is valuable, spending to make videos upon request is untoward. Simply select he inner "wonky" path with the Direct Selection tool.. delete it.. draw a new circle using the Ellipse tool... Select the new circle and the underlying shape and use Pathfinder Minus Front.
    – Scott
    Nov 11, 2020 at 5:53
  • sorry if it sounded a request, I tried to be as nice as possible. thank you for taking the time to share steps of the workaround anyways. Nov 11, 2020 at 13:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

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