I'm making some art that involves molecules and stuff and wanted to cut out a part of the parent ring. I tried the subtract function in the pathfinder that comes in Adobe Illustrator CS6 but it gives me some distorted shape. The brown base layer has a bloat effect of 2% on it to make the sides a little bit rounded, does that matter? What am I doing wrong?

I'm trying to cut out the circle shape from the brown base such that it looks as if the circle was white in color when placed over a white background. I could do just that but I don't want the white circle in transparent pngs.

I didn't know what to search to check if anyone else had the same problem so I thought I should just ask a new question. Any help would be much appreciated!

[Image 1 is before subtraction and image 2 is after.]

Before subtraction After subtraction

Note: I'm not very familiar with illustrator but I'm pretty comfortable with photoshop so detailed answers might be required, sorry for the trouble!

  • The pathfinder and effect is working correctly. The effect is caused by the Pucker & Bloat effect you put on that object. You can see the effect happening at the 2 anchor points by the bottom and right parts of the circle after the created the compound shape. You may want to tell us what the end result you're looking to get and if we can suggest an alternative to the pucker and bloat distort effect.
    – AndrewH
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 14:27
  • @AndrewH As I said in the description, I'm looking for something like this. I did that by making the circle white but it wouldn't work if I were to export a png with no background and the white circle would be there on top of whatever I put the png on. Is there something I can do to make the sides of the hexagon rounded without using the pucker and bloat effect?
    – ayush
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 14:52
  • 2
    Before you do the pathfinder option, select the hexagon and go to Object -> Expand Appearance. Then do the pathfinder option.
    – AndrewH
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 14:55
  • A better option may be to use clipping masks, you then wouldn't have to expand the effect.
    – Cai
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 16:39

1 Answer 1


Actually the bloat effect is adding on the brown base even after the subtraction. It means the effect will add on the new subtracted base which creates the shape like in Image 2. Here is one of my way to make my object editable without the previous effects affecting.

1. After created the base and added the effect of bloat 2%. You may see that the actual outline of the object.

enter image description here

2. select the base and go to "Object" >> "Flatten Transparency". Tick the option "Convert All Strokes to outline".

enter image description here

3. The new outline is created.However, the effects cannot edit again in "Appearance".

4. next, just select the the circle and the base for subtraction as before. And, use "Pathfinder" for subtraction.

Hope this helps.

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