Here we have the bottom of a tree like object.

How do I only keep the part of the dark brown object that is inside the light brown one without affecting the light brown object?



2 Answers 2


For a simple shape like this you can use the Shapebuilder Tool.

  1. Select both the light brown and dark brown objects
  2. Choose Shapebuilder Tool (Shift + M)
  3. Alt/ option Click on the area you want to remove- one click should do it

Edit- This is a destructive process and the original shape of the dark brown object will be altered permanatly.

This can also be done by using a copy of the light brown object as a Clipping Mask for the dark brown object.

  1. Select the light brown object and create a copy- Edit> Copy and then Edit> Paste in Place
  2. Move the light brown copy above the dark brown object in the Layers Panel (Window> Layers or use the keyboard shortcut- command + right bracket)
  3. Select both the light brown copy and the dark brown object and go to Object> Clipping Mask> Make

The stroke and fill attributes of the copy will be discarded when it is assigned as the Clipping Mask and just it's shape will be used to mask the dark brown into the shape of the original light brown object.

Edit- This is non destructive and the original dark brown object will be available/ alterable by releasing the clipping mask (Object> Clipping Mask> Release)

Note- Another option for creating this would be to utilize a Gradient Fill for the tree trunk which goes from the light brown color to the dark brown color. This would be a whole different question...


I generally use a destructive method for this...

  • Select both shapes
  • Edit > Copy
  • Delete the dark shape
  • Edit > Paste in Front
  • Click the Intersect button on the Pathfinder Panel
  • Adjust object stacking as needed via Command/Ctrl and [ or ]

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