electric beach

Christian Schormann

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Cutting Shapes in Expression Blend

Somebody asked the other day how one can cut a shape in Blend. Blend doesn’t currently have a scissor tool, but Blend has a set of geometric operations that can be used for this.

Suppose we have a shape like this:


And now suppose you want to cut this shape into two fitting halves. Let’s try this in a couple of ways.

Using Combine Operations

The Combine operations in the Object menu can be used for all kind of things: To glue shapes together, to cut holes, to create individual overlap, or to divide objects into pieces.

We want to do just that – divide up the shapes along one or more cutting lines. Let’s start with a simple straight cut. To do that, just draw a cut shape over the shape you want to cut:


Just for better visibility, I made the cut shape semi-transparent, but the color of the cut shape really does not matter.

Now select both shapes, first the cut shape and then the shape to cut. The order matters only because the result takes the color from the second selected shape.

Now select Object>Combine>Divide.

The result of this is a compound path – basically a group of path elements glued together:


You can take apart the compound path by selecting Object>Path>Release Compound Path or pressing Ctrl-Shift-8:


Here is an exploded view:


So just delete the unwanted part, and you are left with the two halves desired.


Complex Cuts

The technique shown above is more interesting with complex cutting shapes, instead of the simple rectangle.


Performing the cut, and moving the resulting pieces apart:


Cutting with Sub-Selection and Path Tools

Another way of cutting a shape is to use the sub-selection tool. Pick the sub-selection tool from the toolbar:


You can now select the sections you want to cut:


And press delete:


To close the shape, pick the pen tool and click on the to open end vertices 1 and 2:



posted by cs at 21:04  


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