Pretty basic concept. I have a large object, and only want a sub-section of said object. In PS I would just use rectangle tool to select the area I want and click copy, however in Illustrator I don't see this same type of functionality.

What would be the easiest way to do this? Example. I have a picture of a snowman, and instead of the entire thing, I just want from the head up.

  • Could plz place a screenshot. Probably with particular task you'll get more specific answers. – Ilan Aug 28 '14 at 6:08

Fundamentally this just isn't how Illustrator, or vector applications in general, operate.

Think of vector artwork as pieces of construction paper. You can't simply erase part of a piece of paper. You have to cut it then remove the cut section. This is how you would remove part of an object or group of objects in Illustrator. Features such as the Pathfinder Panel and Shape Builder Tool can make this "cutting" easier. There are a great many tutorials for these features on the web if you search.

One other possible method would be to use a Clipping Mask to hide the portion of the art you do not want visible. This is often helpful if the artwork contains many pieces or is very complex and cutting would cause either a change in the overall appearance or be to difficult to perform accurately.

  • Simply draw a shape around the area you want to keep visible
  • Select that shape and the artwork
  • Choose Object > Clipping Mask > Make from the menu.
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  • I'll give it a shot. Thanks for the analogy as well, it helped. – Mike Purcell Aug 28 '14 at 7:03
  • I drew a rectangle around the head of the snowman, then selected both the rectangle and the object, then clicked Object > Clipping Mask > Make and now it only has the head of the snowman filled in, but the body is not. How do I copy only the head as a new object into a new .ai file? – Mike Purcell Aug 28 '14 at 18:28
  • Hi @MikePurcell, unfortunately you're exploring the basic operations of the application and there is generally far, far, far, too much to cover in a simple Q&A format. You should spend some time going over basic Illustrator tutorials to get a grasp of the tools and how they work. I can't provide a blanket answer for "how to move the head" I don't know how the file is constructed. – Scott Aug 28 '14 at 18:31
  • No problem, thanks for the response tho, I was able to get it to a point where I could hide the body. – Mike Purcell Aug 28 '14 at 18:42

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