Shape Eraser tool

Shape Erasor tool. - Erases parts of objects, and can act as a vector erase tool or as a soft eraser tool

What does the Shape Eraser tool allow me to do?

The Shape Eraser tool. allows you to

  1. Perform hard-edged vector erasing of shapes and photos
  2. A soft erase utilising the Opacity mask feature

What is a hard-edged erase?

A hard-edged erase is an actual vector erase. It is performed when the softness is set to 0% from the Shape builder / Eraser infobar. It can be used to adjust the vector edge of shapes and photos. It’s a fast and direct way of adjusting the vector outline of a shape inwards. If you stroke around the edge of a shape with your mouse, it just moves the outline inwards.

A hard-edged erase can be applied to photos, lines, shapes, quickshapes and clipped photo groups. In all other cases, a soft erase is applied even when the softness value is set to 0%

How do i apply a hard-edged erase?

First select the shape you want to act upon, select the tool, then stroke over the shape to erase. Alternatively you can select a shape in the tool by a simple click, before you stroke across the shape. Clicking on the backdrop will clear the selection.

Dragging a hard-edged erase nib completely across a simple object will cut it in two and create two separate objects. If you click and hold (i.e. not perform a stroke), it will simply cut a hole in the shape.

What is a soft erase?

A soft erase will erase, that is make transparent, the stroked area. A soft erase can be applied to any object by setting the softness to be any value other than 0% from the shape builder/ eraser infobar. Note: A soft erase is also automatically applied to objects which do not support hard-edged erase such as groups, extrusions, bevels etc.

Applying a soft erase creates an Opacity mask group A soft erase simply applies a new vector shape as an opacity mask to the object you are erasing.


Can I continue editing after soft erasing

Yes. Objects are not actually altered when applying a soft erase so you can continue editing your text or alter the properties of objects within the Opacity mask group. You can select inside an opacity mask group, selecting the objects or even the shape applied as an opacity mask by holding down your ctrl+alt keys and clicking on the group. Alternatively use the page and layer gallery to expand the opacity mask group.

Can I edit the shape applied as the opacity mask?

Yes. You can select the actual shape applied as an Opacity mask and perform further vector edits on this shape, including adjusting its Feather value (to adjust the edge softness). You can even use the Shape builder tool to enlarge the erased part! (You’re using the builder not the eraser because you’re enlarging the shape inside the opacity mask.)

Additional Information

It’s also important to realise the soft erase feature is resolution independent. The ‘softness’ value is a mathematical vector value, and the nib strokes are fully editable vector paths. You can select, adjust or remove any earlier stroke, and for advanced users the full vector structure is exposed in the Object Gallery.

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