Using Compound Shapes vs Compound Paths in Illustrator

Have you ever wondered about the difference between compound shapes, which are altogether dynamic, and compound paths, which are relatively static?

Well, Deke has, of course. In this week’s free Deke’s Techniques episode, Deke considers these two means of shape combining in Adobe Illustrator in the service of furthering his Make a Subwoofer Speaker from Scratch project. This is the “basket” of the subwoofer that we’re creating this week:

A drawing of a subwoofer with the basket section selected in Illustrator

And even if you’re not specifically interested in creating an illustration of a subwoofer, there are some very useful, “everyday Illustrator,” tips and tricks within (with timestamps).

  • Turning Smart Guides on an off as necessary. (1:33)
  • Getting an annoying bounding box out of your way. (3:18)
  • Duplicating and positioning shapes precisely around a circle. (4:09)
  • Creating a custom gradient. (5:15)
  • Saving components of dynamic shapes before you turn them into static objects. (8:08)
  • Rounding multiple corners at a time. (10:17)
  • Applying different strokes to the inside and outside of a compound path. (11:36)

And so much more. Because it’s Deke, of course.

Deke’s Techniques, bringing practical skills to bear on an otherwise whimsical project. Three episodes to go!

Next entry:Here’s a Custom Van (icon) Drawn by Deke (in Illustrator) for Your Enjoyment (in Photoshop)

Previous entry:Deep Inside the Subwoofer with Adobe Illustrator


  • The principle difference is that compound paths are “Flat” or unfavorable. Meaning when you integrate multiple paths into one, your potential to edit the paths is restricted. Compound shapes are non-negative and provide a distinctive level of enhancing. Every have execs and cons, so both are wanted in illustrator.
  • A compound course contains or greater paths which might be painted so that holes appear in which paths overlap. While you define items as a compound course, all objects inside the compound direction take at the paint and fashion attributes of the backmost object inside the stacking order.
  • It was a heart touching story. I have read from may blogs on your helping hands. I don’t know how to appreciate you people are extremely working hard to help all disabled people who lost themselves in accidents and disasters.

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