5

I am using Illustrator and wondered if there an easy way to wrap my shapes with a line?

origin:

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desired result (but nicer):

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2 Answers 2

5

Option 1 to keep things "live" and possibly more editable...

  • Group the shapes
  • Using the Appearance Panel add a new fill and stroke at the Group level
  • Move the the Contents item on the Appearance Panel above this new fill and stroke
  • Highlight the Stroke in the Appearance Panel and add a color to it
  • Choose Effect > Path > Offset Path and enter your desired offset amount.
  • You'll notice areas where the strokes are showing between shapes

    enter image description here
  • Set the new fill to white
  • Apply the same offset effect the the white fill. This will cover up those stroke overlaps.

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  • Fill color of white can be replaced with any color needed to match the background.
  • Illustrator aligns all strokes on center by default. So, with the stroke at the bottom of the appearance stack, half the stroke width gets covered by the white fill. Simply double the stroke weight, keeping in mind you'll see half the weight. In the example above, the stoke weight is set to 4pts, but you only see 2pts in the end.

Option 2 to just get a path that's offset...

Select all the shapes...

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Choose Object > Path > Offset from the menu and enter your desired offset amount...

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(Don't worry, the offset command will create duplicates of the original shapes. You won't alter the original objects here. They are all still there, merely underneath the new, offset, objects. )

Click OK then tap the Unite button on the Pathfinder Panel (Window > Pathfinder)

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Then merely change the fill/stroke of this new object...

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(Anchor point clean up is generally recommended after this method.)

3
  • Thank you so much! can you explain how do I save this new stroke as dxf? when I save I see just the old shapes
    – ronaron
    Jul 19 at 21:24
  • I don't work with dxf files @ronaron Sorry, no I can't. I suspect the second method would be more beneficial for external applications. The first method is really for inside Illustrator. And while it's possible to whittle down the first method to just that stroke... ultimately in that instance, the second method is simply much, much faster while yielding pretty much the same result.
    – Scott
    Jul 19 at 21:40
  • Thank you very much Scott
    – ronaron
    Jul 19 at 21:56
2

If it's the just curves that are difficult for you, then you could try using the Curvature tool. You can lock the objects in your image and use snapping to draw a shape around your existing shapes.

A double click with the Curvature tool creates corner points, a single click creates a curve.

After you have made the outline you could just use an Offset Path effect on it as Scott suggest in his answer

Example outline made with the Curvature tool

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And applying an Offset effect

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