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Chapter 5. Creating Lines and Shapes > Everything You Need to Know About Paths

Everything You Need to Know About Paths

Any line or shape you create in Illustrator is called a path. (Now that I've introduced that word I'll stop saying “lines or shapes” all the time; the one word comprises both.) Conceptually, a path is the same as a line drawn with a pencil. A path may start at one location and end at another, as in the case of an open line. Or it may meet back up with itself to form a closed shape. (A piece of string is an open path; a rubber band is a closed one.) Paths can range in length and complexity from tiny scratch marks to elaborate curlicues that loop around and intersect like tracks on a roller coaster.

The cartoon face in Figure 5.1 contains 12 paths. Of the paths, ten are open (lines) and two are closed (shapes). So that you can clearly distinguish open from closed, I've given the lines thick outlines and the shapes thin ones. The closed paths surround the face, with the white shape mostly covering the gray one. The open paths represent the face's features.


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