Imagine if you took the following shape...

Two circles

...and flipped it on its side in a three-dimensional space. I'm trying to do that in Illustrator, and so far I have this:

A circle and paths

From the outer circle, I want to subtract the {inner circle + the shape bounded by the two yellow straight lines, the inner circle, and the outer circle}.

I tried selecting everything and using Object > Compound Path > Make, but that leaves me with this:

Not quite

As you can see, {the shape bounded by the two yellow straight lines, the inner circle, and the outer circle} is not being subtracted from the outer circle.

I also tried joining the outside edges of the two straight lines using the pen tool, then using Compound Path. But making a perfect bezier curve that traces over the outer circle exactly is too much for my human fingers -- so there's a faint line where the fill from the compound path doesn't completely overlap.

How can I subtract the {inner circle + the shape bounded by the two yellow straight lines, the inner circle, and the outer circle} from the outer circle?

  • are you sure isn't there something wrong with your black shape? It looks like something went wrong when you were doing the subtract operation there.
    – Luciano
    Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 8:32
  • Maybe! I think the answers have a practical solution here: use a rectangle instead of paths. Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 14:14

2 Answers 2


1) You can also do this using Knockout. This is a non destructive method.

  1. Make the parts you want cutout white.
  2. Then group objects (CTRL/CMD + G).
  3. In the Transparency Panel click on Knockout Group.
  4. Select the white objects with the Direct Select Tool (A), go to the Appearance Panel and set the Fill to 0

2) You can also use Minus Front if you have the objects above the circle. Use a rectangle instead of the 2 single paths.

Pathfinder options minus front

3) If you do use paths instead of a rectangle, you can use the Trim function in Pathfinder and then delete that area.

Using Trim

In the gif above I use the Trim function, then ungroup, lock the black object and delete the rest.

Tip: Note sure if you already do this but it is easier to create the effect before you change the perspective of the shape.

  • Thanks! And no, I was working with the shape already in that perspective. To create the shape, I used the ellipsis tool while using the Perspective Grid. Is there a better way to do this? In other words, is there a way to take a perfect circle and put it into a certain perspective? Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 14:16
  • @modocache Well I did the same thing as you by putting the circle on the perspective grid, so I am not too sure where your issue is. But my point is that it may be easier to work on the graphic front facing before working on the graphic that is on the perspective grid.
    – AndrewH
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 14:36

One other approach is to use the Shapebuilder tool, rather than Pathfinder. Shapebuilder lets you work more visually with your art.

Here's a link to a quick screencap movie on how to use it: https://www.dropbox.com/s/8fu3lrd744civk0/ShapebuilderToolAI.mov?dl=0

You can also color art with Shapebuilder. Here are a couple of addtional resources on how to use it, from simple: http://adobe.ly/1U0oh4I to more complex: http://adobe.ly/1U0olkR

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