In the following tutorial, you will learn how to outline an image in Illustrator using different techniques.
Once you’ve learned to outline images in Illustrator, you can head over to Envato Elements where you can get unlimited downloads of stock videos, music, graphics, photos, fonts, and more.
What You’ll Learn in This Tutorial
- How to automatically outline an image in Illustrator
- How to outline an image in Illustrator
1. How to Outline Objects in Illustrator
Simply apply a stroke whenever you need to quickly outline an object in Illustrator.
You can do it easily using the Control panel (Window > Control), the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance), the Stroke panel (Window > Stroke), or the Properties panel (Window > Properties).
Select the object that you wish to outline and go to Object > Path > Offset Path (Shift-Control-Q). Set the Offset value and click OK.
Make sure that the object that you wish to outline is selected, and open the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance).
Add a second fill using the Add New Fill button, select it, and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Set the Offset as you wish, and click OK. Keep in mind that this effect remains stacked in the Appearance panel, and you can always click on it and adjust the Offset value.
2. How to Outline Groups in Illustrator
Outlining a group of objects is just as easy. To group a set of objects, simply press Control-G.
Select your group and focus on the Appearance panel. Just add a stroke using the Add New Stroke button and set the settings. This will outline all the objects in your group.
Have a closer look at the Appearance panel, and you’ll notice the Contents bar, which represents your grouped objects.
Moving the Stroke below the Contents will add an outline around the whole group.
Alternatively, you can add a Fill below the Contents and use an Offset Path effect (Effect > Path > Offset Path) to outline your whole group.
3. How to Outline Layers in Illustrator
You can also outline the contents of a Layer just as you would with a Group.
Add a Stroke to outline all the objects inside a layer, move the Stroke below the Contents to outline the whole layer, or use a fill with an Offset Path effect.
4. How to Automatically Outline an Image in Illustrator
In some cases, applying a stroke to a group might not create the desired outline. This group of 3D objects is the perfect example.
Whenever you bump into this problem, select the Stroke and just go to Effect > Path > Outline Object.
Alternatively, you can add a Fill and move it below the Contents, and then apply that same Outline Object effect and also an Offset Path effect.
Similarly, whenever you wish to outline an image in Illustrator, make sure that you also apply an Outline Object effect (Effect > Path > Outline Object).
Congratulations! You’re Done!
Now that you’ve learned to outline images in Illustrator, feel free to use these techniques in your future projects.
You can find some great sources of inspiration at Envato Elements, with interesting solutions to improve your design portfolio.
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