For some reason, when I'm exporting my shape which is just a shape, with a specific outline size, and transparent fill, when I import it into my program I'm getting a solid shape. Anybody know why? I'm fairly new to Illustrator, been using Photoshop for years and years and years.

Copy/pasting the path, and using offset path to my exact dimensions, and then deleting the rest would be nice. That's how I would almost do it in Photoshop, just delete the section I don't need out of the layer.

I tried to export it as a PNG and it's just the stroke how I wanted. I ran it through a 2D to 3D image website, and it worked just fine. It must be something with the one program importing the SVG and thinking it's a solid shape. Maybe I need to draw the shape, and the offset the shape to my size and delete the middle, as to just leave a outline? Not sure exactly how to do that though.

I can't add a 3rd image, but I zoomed in on the outline and the path is in the middle of the stroke, not surrounding the outline with it's own path. I assume that's my problem, and why the SVG is reading as a full solid star...

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1 Answer 1


Your shape with a transparent fill and a colored stroke is for all intents and purposes a solid shape. The stroke and fill are simply appearance attributes that tell that shape how it should look; the actual shape itself is still a solid star.

It is a conceptual difference between vector and raster images, whereas raster images simply work with pixels, vector images make a distinction between the shape and its appearance. With that in mind, your issue is simple enough; your 3D program only looks at the path data itself, not its appearance.

Simple enough fix; Select your shape in Illustrator and go to:

Object → Path → Outline Stroke...

Which will turn the stroke itself in to a shape.

You could also go to:

Object → Expand Appearance

Which will do the same, as well as expanding any other appearance attributes and visual effects you may have applied to the shape.

  • 1
    Yes this is a important distinction that hits a LOT of graphics artists. CAD and 3D applications work on a path while a graphics design application works on a fill. For 3D and CAD a stroked line is just a surface edge, weight has no bearing on things. Different way of looking at the world. A fill simply is not a important thing for most 3d applications they will just ignore it.
    – joojaa
    Commented Jan 1, 2017 at 21:41

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