This is a very specific question. I suspect there is no solution, but I'll try anyway. See this simple character:


At the shoulders, the outlines of the arms and body overlap. I want to prevent this. Actually, I know how to prevent it: putting the outline on a group or layer that includes all of the elements I want outlined.

However, this character will be animated in Flash, and the last time I tried this trick, after importing the character in Flash, I had the unpleasant surprise of the border becoming a separate object, hard or impossible to animate properly. Plus, whenever the arm would be close to the body, the outline between them disappeared, which isn't desirable.

So I'm looking for a way to get outlines that make sense (the outline of the arm appearing, except at the shoulder) no matter how I animate a character. I hope I'm overlooking a solution.

Additional note: Both Illustrator and Flash are version CC 2014.

  • Given your question and the issues, the only possible way I know if is to draw three separate objects - the path for the fill of the torso, then the two paths which would make up a stroke of the torso separately.
    – Scott
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 22:32
  • @Scott I'm not sure I understand. Doesn't the torso have a single stroke ?
    – Ariane
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 22:49
  • In your drawing, yes. But you could not apply a stroke to the fill and draw strokes separately.
    – Scott
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 23:34
  • Oh, I see what you mean now. Interesting solution.
    – Ariane
    Commented Oct 3, 2014 at 0:50

1 Answer 1


If the animation is just going to be pivoting around a point, a relatively simple solution would be to bring the arm in front, and then pop a mask of the same colour over the whole shoulder joint.

Something roughly cam shaped seems to work well here, but obviously you could adjust that to make more or less of the outline appear as the arm moves across the body.

Animation of a shoulder joint

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