Working with Paths and Strokes

Working with Paths and Strokes

Paths are the vector lines and outlines that you create in a document. They might outline an image, separate areas of text, or be part of an illustration you create. You typically make paths with a Line tool, Pen tool, and the shape tools. You can use these tools to create paths of different shapes and sizes. You also can use tools to modify the color and size of strokes (the actual line that makes up a path), which we explain in some of the chapters later in this book.

Paths might also be used to create clipping paths and paths for text. Clipping paths are used to mask (or hide) elements on a page. You define that mask using paths to create a shape for that area you need to hide. Clipping paths can even be saved in a file and imported into a different design pattern. A common workflow might be to create an image in Photoshop CS with a clipping path and import that image into InDesign. InDesign can interpret the clipping path, meaning that you could remove the area you want to mask automatically.

When you want to create text that flows along a path, you would begin by creating a new path and then use a special tool to type text directly onto that path. For example, in Illustrator you would create a path using the Pen tool, and then select the Type Text on a Path tool in the toolbox. If you click the tool on the path you created, you can type new text along that path.

A stroke is the color, width, and style of the line that makes up the path you create. You might draw a line with the Pen tool, and the line making up that path is the stroke. However, that path can also have no stroke, which means you won’t see the path itself. However, you might see a color or pattern filling that stroke (the fill), as shown in Figure.

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Figure: This path does not have a stroke, but it does have a fill.

You can change the color, width, style (or type), and shape of a stroke using controls and tools in the toolbox and the Stroke palette in Illustrator and InDesign. This means that you can create dashed or solid strokes of different patterns that are wide or narrow. Some of these kinds of strokes are shown in Figure.

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Figure: Paths that have different kinds of strokes can help you add a creative flair to your InDesign projects.

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