I want to create a bunch of arcs by creating circles and then dividing those circles' perimeters into arcs by intersecting them with another shape.

However when I do this I end up with a shape not a path. How could I go about dividing circles by another shape so that I'm only left with paths, not shapes with internal area?

Eg this is what I am left with after dividing a circle with another shape:

enter image description here

Whereas I just wanted to be left with the outside path as an arc, not the moon-like shape that I currently have.

PS I'm very new to Illustrator so please go easy on me :)

  • 3
    Can't you just delete the anchor points you don't want after the operation? Or did I understand it wrong? – Luciano Jan 27 '17 at 11:03
  • Yes, that does seem to do the trick! That involves a few extra steps though, especially with complex shapes where you can be left with a bunch of weird small lines. Is there a way to just divide objects into lines (ie not paths) from the start? – Aron Jan 27 '17 at 11:06

Try this method if it can satisfy your requirements :-)

Using Eclipse tool you can create perfect circle shape by pressing Command+Shift while dragging the mouse for its width and height or you can input in transform window in exact diameter you want.enter image description here

Copy the first circle path then Paste it in back (Ctrl+C then Ctrl+B) Note: I use yellow (first) and cyan(second) to differentiate each other. It is useful to see where is you path in Layer Panel which is on top of each other. enter image description here

Use the scale tool to make the cyan path bigger. Press the Alt key then point to the right point of the circle. This is to control where the scaled circle which is the cyan starts from. Normally the anchor point starts from the center so we need to change it to achieve the desired shape. You notice the anchorpoint changes and a pop up menu will appear. enter image description here

Change the value to the desired thickness of the crescent you want to do. enter image description here enter image description here

Now with both cyan and yellow selected. Open the Pathfinder window. You can see there MinusFront (refer to the illustration). Pathfinder > Shapemodes > MinusFront

enter image description here

last for the arcs (i mis-interpreted it that you like the moon)

you have many techniques to use but it boils down to Scissor Tool or Cutter. Here are samples how to cut. Option A is cut with line and divide (pathfinder window). The step will be 2 circle paths + Draw 1 line to the right then click divide. delete the excess / residual path then Scissor Tool. Option B Direct Scissor tool then delete un-wanted areas. enter image description here enter image description here


To create arc you can use Arc Tool https://helpx.adobe.com/illustrator/using/drawing-simple-lines-shapes.html or use Scissors tool https://helpx.adobe.com/illustrator/using/cutting-dividing-objects.html to divide circle in any places.

  • 1) that link is dead, 2) the arc tool only draws quarter circles, 3) I want to cut the circle specifically where it intersects with another shape – Aron Jan 27 '17 at 13:55
  • In this case you can use: select all shapes then Pathfinder->Outline, then ungroup, apply any stroke width, it will divide shapes into pathes. – emax Jan 27 '17 at 14:29

Make your overlapping circles with fill and no stroke.

Select them all, try "trim" or "intersect" from the pathfinder palette, although I think you can do it with "divide".

Ungroup them, delete the parts you don't want, switch fill to stroke.

Drag over the inner line of the moon with the white arrow tool and hit delete. This should leave you with only the outer arc path.

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