DesignTips > > What’s the “appearance” and what does it mean to divide it?

What’s the “appearance” and what does it mean to divide it?

What does it mean to divide the appearance?

What's the

Dividing the appearance is to change the shape of a false pretense and the genuine item.

If you use Illustrator then I’m sure a lot of words you don’t understand tend to crop up.Dividing the appearance is one of them. At first, I didn’t understand it either.

Well, what does “appearance” even mean?

Appearance = exterior look. The surface. Pretense.

I’m sure you’d agree there are a lot of items with pretense.Whether it be a politician, love, or hair–these all can have fake pretenses.

On the other hand, the opposite of that is the “real deal”.Some politicians, love, or hair can be the “real deal” too.

There are many things in this world with false pretenses, and it’s no different in the world of Illustrator.

What I’m saying is dividing the appearance changes a false pretense and its effect into its genuine shape.

Maybe you still don’t get it. It’ll be easier just to look at an example.Explaining what it means to divide the appearance with examples

Explaining what it means to divide the appearance with examples

Above, I drew a straight line using the heart brush.

No matter how you look at them, they’re hearts. The semi-transparent hearts are displayed at random.

However, I won’t trick you. These hearts are–to the bitter end–all false pretenses.

Looking at the above hearts with “Display Outline”

Let’s look at the hearts with outline. (Display -> outline)

Do you get it?

What we thought to be hearts were actually just straight lines.

When you divide the appearance

Now let’s try dividing the appearance for real.

I applied divide appearance to the straight line. (I selected the line, object -> divide appearance)

Take a look at the shape of their paths. The path for the straight lines turned into the path for the hearts.

Meaning? By dividing the appearance, our “false pretense” hearts turned into the real deal.

Why divide the appearance at all?

So, we’ve just understood about dividing the appearance.

A common follow-up is to ask why divide the appearance at all?

I can feel you all thinking, “wtf, we do this complicated thing and they’re still just hearts!”

Of course, there is no change to what you see when you just divide the appearance.

As you know from looking at the above example, to your eyes the hearts are hearts.

so then why divide the appearance?

The reasons to divide the appearance

There are a few reasons why you’d divide the appearance but I’ll write down the most common ones.

1. You can do individual edits. (You can edit each heart one-by-one.)

2. When the objects you made in Adobe Illustrator are opened up and looked at by another company, they will only see the hearts.

For example, you want to make each and every heart a different color or size. However, if you don’t divide the appearance then you can’t edit their size and color one-by-one because they’re really just a straight line. So you can’t edit them individually.

On the other hand, you can individually edit hearts that you divided the appearance for. You can change their colors or sizes. (However, even if you divide the appearance the object has been grouped so you have to delete the group once.)

Also, when other companies look at the objects you made with illustrator, the original form will be displayed if you don’t divide the appearance. (As in the above example, a straight line will be displayed.) With just that you can’t tell what kind of shape it is at all, right? However, if you divide the appearance then they can properly display the shapes of the hearts.

So for these reasons you’d divide the appearance.

The downsides that come from dividing the appearance

On the other hand, there are also downsides to dividing the appearance.

When you divide the appearance once then it will make it so the divided object can’t be edited in the appearance pane. If you think you’d like to do a little more to [whatever effect], well, too bad because you can’t.

As such, when you divide the appearance, it’s best to do it when you no longer need to do any adjustments with [whatever effect].


I really wrote a lot! Thanks for sticking with me.Today I tried to give a rough explanation on dividing the appearance.I left out difficult explanations and tried to stick with keeping it easy-to-understand.

It’s a pretty difficult concept though. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get used to it.So open up Illustrator yourself and give dividing the appearance a try.You’ll get accustomed to it through learning!

この投稿文は次の言語で読めます: Chinese (Simplified), German, Japanese

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