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Shapes with Offset Path

Lesson 8 from: Infographic Elements from Scratch in Illustrator

Jason Hoppe

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Lesson Info

8. Shapes with Offset Path

Next Lesson: Create Custom Lines

Lesson Info

Shapes with Offset Path

I wanna do a cross section of this cup, and I wanna make sure that you can see the liquid in this cup, so I wanna do kind of like a cross section that shows you how full this cup is. How do I go in and make a shape mimic this shape but give me the perfect amount of border all the way around? So if I copy and paste this shape here, I'm gonna fill it with a different color over here so we can see what we're doing. There's my coffee. Now, if I go in and I take this and I hold down my shift key and I move this in here, make it a little bit bigger, it's like okay, I can do that, and I can kind of make that fit my coffee. But do you see how the corners don't quite match 'cause they didn't scale with that? And it's like, okay, I kinda got the same border around that whole thing, but I need to make this match exactly. The tricky part is, is when you go in and you copy a shape and you try to make it larger or smaller, unless the object is symmetrical, you have these weird spaces, and this is go...

nna be even more pronounced here when I do something like this and go in. I'll fill this with a color, and I would like to put this in here and try to make it so that it's gonna be perfect distance. Well, the thing is is that I've got a lot more distance from the top here than I do from the sides, and it's like, if I try to fill that, I have a little space to the sides, but a lot of space at the top. I want an exact duplicate of this shape, larger or smaller, and the only time it works perfectly is if you have a perfect square or a perfect circle. All these other shapes, doesn't work. So, another favorite of mine is this. I wanna create an identical shape, larger or smaller, keeping every single attribute and having perfect spacing all the way around. Copy, paste, scaling, none of that is gonna work. Gonna select my object, choose the object menu. I'm gonna go down to path, and what I want to do is I want to create an offset path. An offset path is taking my existing shape and making it larger or smaller, but as it gets larger, it's going to increase the attributes. As it gets smaller, it's gonna reduce the attributes, but it is going to be a perfect yet scaled version of that shape. So when I do the offset path, it comes up here and says, okay, click on your preview here and here I can make the offset larger if I have a positive number, or I can reduce it if I have a negative number, and I'm just using the up and down arrows here to see. Now you'll notice as I increase this, look at the corners of that new shape that I'm doing. As it gets smaller, the corners are also getting smaller, but I've got perfect shape all the way around. I make it larger, I make it smaller, there we go. And keeping with my same theme of trying to keep numbers in the five, 10, 15, 20 increments, I'm gonna offset that and that corner radius is going to give me a perfect distance all the way around and it's gonna mimic and give me a smaller shape. And all it does is create a copy of what I've selected, and I've offset the path. Now with this, I can go in and I can fill it with a different color. I'm gonna send this to the background here. Arrange, send to back, and now I have a perfect shape that is a nice, reduced scale, but an absolutely perfect distance all the way around. No need to do anything else. Now if I wanted to change the height of this, I could go in with my direct selection tool, and I could select just the top and move that down, so I could show you a cup of coffee that's partially filled. Yep, as well. So any shape, so same with this. If I tried to copy and paste this and try to get the perfect fill inside here, it's not gonna work. Object, path, offset path. I can make them bigger. I can make them smaller, but why would I go through that hassle? I can go through and I can make that larger or smaller, do whatever I want here. Again, keeping it in the five, 10, 15, 20 increment range. There it is. And now I could go in and create a nice cup of coffee or tea and have it be a perfect shape mimicking that. Even with the little dimples that are on the side right here. This actually forms those little dimples right there. Perfectly. Yeah, try that with the heart. Try to reduce the size of the heart and make that fit manually. I'll show you how it doesn't work. Alright, copy the heart. I make it smaller, make it a slightly different color here. Put it in the middle and try to make that fit and it's like, uh, no. But offset path, object, path, offset path, reduce the size of that, and that's going to give me a perfect shape inside there right there. It didn't do that little point right there. I wonder why. But there's my offset path all the way through. Don't know why it didn't do that little section right there, but I'd have to clean that up. But that's how you go through and do that. So filling my shapes like that, perfect. Every single one of them looks absolutely exact. Works great every, single time. And this is how I go through when I fill objects too. If I have an object and I'd like to show the amount of fill that's in there, I use the offset path and then I adjust the shape internally. If I want to show something 1/4 full, 1/2 full, 3/4 full, whatever it may be. I know. Pretty awesome. Quick question for Anatomic who says, "I can't see my corner widget. "How do I enable it?" So if you're not seeing it? So if your corner widgets are not viewable, first of all, they are not available in CS6, so if you're using CS6, they're not available. That could be one of the reasons. The other reason is, go under your view menu here, and your corner widgets may be hidden, 'kay? So if it says show corner widgets right there, you wanna turn those corner widgets on so you'll be able to see those corner widgets, but the Creative Cloud is the only one that has the corner widgets. CS6 does not have them, and I get that from students a lot, so, can't do it in CS6, so one issue.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Infographic Assortment

Ratings and Reviews

Patricia Green

This class is so much fun! I gobbled it up because I enjoyed every minute. It begins my journey into infographics, something I intend to put in my portfolio. Jason Hoppe is a great instructor who really knows his stuff. If you want to have fun with Illustrator, this is the class for you!


I bought the first version of the course of Infographics and I strongly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn how to use Illustrator. Exactly as he explains in the video, this is not a course just to learn how to make graphics. At the end of the course you will be able to develop just about anything in Illustrator. Really! All the knowledge I have today of this tool, started from this course of Infographics to which he refers. Not only the content is comprehensive, but Jason is a great teacher, explaining everything very, very simply. I'm looking forward to watching this update.


Jason, you ROCK! I learned a lot of things during this class. Thank you for being such a great teacher and taking time to share your knowledge. Will continue to purchase your classes. Sandra

Student Work