Illustrator Help - Cut out a section?


I downloaded the Illustrator trial and I am already hitting a stump. I come from a heavy Photoshop background. I am trying to do something that should be extremely easy but I cannot figure out how to do it!

I have 2 circles on the screen. One white and one black. I want to take the white one and basically cut out its outline from the black one. In other words I lay the white over the black. And I want to cut it out of the one behind it.

In photoshop you simply highlight the top one and click delete on the layer with the second circle. In illustrator I cannot for the life of me figure it out!

Any help is appreciated it. I attached images to show what I am trying to do.

I want to cut the selected item out of the item behind it.

After playing a bit more I found a way that seems to work.

Highlight both choices via compound path. Then go to Shape Modes via the pathfinder. Click the Minus Front icon. It removes the top piece.

If there is a better way feel free to let me know.

Pathfinder Tab:
it’s the “Subtract from the shape” icon. Second icon from the left under Shape Modes.

I know this is an old thread, but I wanted to point out something.

If you just want to create the crescent shape, no extra modding or transparency, then you don’t even need to do anything besides layer the white ellipse over the black the way it was when you started.

Using Subtract on the Pathfinder panel will give you the same effect, except the top layer will become transparent no matter what color your fill and stroke are and you can see through the black circle where they overlapped. However, the white/top ellipse still exists and you can edit your ellipse by moving the subtracted layer around because it is really just a compound path.

If you want to create the crescent as a shape itself you can use any of the first three tools on the bottom row of the pathfinder pallet: Divide, Trim and Merge. You can see what I mean if you look at the layers in the screenshots below. (I used the Divide tool for this example.)

When you apply any of these with both shapes selected, you end up with cutout areas where shapes overlap: the bottom layer(s) are cut out. Then you can delete the shapes you don’t want leaving you with your new shape. You don’t need to worry about layers or paths and you can add a stroke to it like any normal shape.

I prefer to use Divide because it offers more options to play around with. It basically divides your shapes along every intersecting line… think of it like turning your shapes into a jigsaw puzzle where all the pieces fit together exactly.

Nice tip, huit. Thanks for explaining it. I’ve been wanting to know a good way to do that. :slight_smile: