I am a newbie on Illustrator and am trying to produce an image that contains a paper that is divided/torn to, say 3, pieces. I don't want to rather throw torn pieces (similar to torn paper effect available on the net) but show the sliced pieces separated from each other on the same image. For now I am just trying to get straight edge instead of torn edge.

In order to achieve this, I do the following: I draw a rectangle and add a type in/on it with text. After I convert the text to outlines I create a compound path from type and the rectangle. Then I use the Line tool to cut the paper to 3 pieces. Finally I select all and divide it by using the Divide from Pathfinder. However I get the following scrambled figure from the original. What am I doing wrong here? Do you have any ideas/suggestions to achieve this effect?

Thanks a million in advance.

Before ------------> enter image description here

  • I'm confused, what don't you want? The weird circles in the white area? Something else?
    – Ryan
    Oct 26, 2014 at 12:10
  • Yes, the weird circles...
    – fturkmen
    Oct 26, 2014 at 15:36

1 Answer 1


The problem you encountered is, that by cutting that many small detailed paths into pieces, you are creating tons of path fragments, that are not connected to anything anymore. It can be really difficult to select them, therefore some of those just stay where they where when you are trying to move pieces of the paper.

Clipping Masks are very useful when you only want to show a certain part of a Group of Objects without damaging them.

Create a new Layer, that looks like the chunk you want to cut out.

enter image description here

Group everything with the new Layer on top (Shortcut cmd/ctrl + G).

Select the Group and Press the »Make Clipping Mask« Button.

enter image description here

Duplicate the Group and then edit the layer on top to make the other pieces.

  • Thanks a lot for the response! How did you create/select the cutout layer? Could you provide more info there? And I couldn't find the button for layer duplication (I know where it is in Photoshop though).
    – fturkmen
    Oct 26, 2014 at 15:50
  • There is nothing special about the layer I used to mask the group. You can use the pen tool, the rectangle tool, the circle, etc … Any Path will work as long as it’s at the top of the group. Duplicating the Group is very easy too. Just copy it and paste it back in or drag the Group to the »New Layer«-Icon (Little Sheet of Paper next to »Make Clipping Mask«) in The Layer window. You should look into this Tutorial: youtube.com/watch?v=IBouhf4seWQ You will find things like this significantly less difficult once you get the hang of the Interface.
    – mnxd
    Oct 26, 2014 at 16:22

Your Answer

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

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