Expanding Objects

Expanding Objects

Objects may contain a complex content, multiple fill, stroke or brush styles, tiling patterns, imported content from vector files (SVG, PDF, etc).

The various styles of the object are displayed, by synthesizing complex shapes using the attributes of the style. For example, the stroke outline of an object, containing dashes, stripes and arrows, is rendered as a filled shape.

Objects can be expanded into simple, editable shapes using basic colors or gradients. There are multiple commands that can be used to expand an object content, depending on the object type, and the actual content to be expanded.

Expand Symbol

In VectorStyler, symbol instances are references to objects inside the document, typically on a reference canvas. These references are maintained, to allow the update of all symbol instances, whenever the symbol content is edited. The content of a symbol instance cannot be modified, except for the use of style overrides, if styles were defined in the symbol source object.

To separate a symbol from its source, and freely edit the objects inside a content, the symbol must be expanded. To expand a symbol, use the Expand Symbol command from the Styles menu. The result will be a group of one or more objects, copied from the original symbol source. Changes on the symbol source will not be mirrored anymore in the expanded objects.

Expand Group

A group, containing multiple objects, may be altered using a shape composition operation (union or intersection), to create a single, complex shape. This shape will be styled using the styles from the first object inside the group.

Using shape composition groups, enables the creation and dynamic editing of complex shapes, by keeping the original component shapes selectable and editable.

A shape composition group can be expanded into a single object, with the composited shape. To expand a group, select the Expand Group from the Styles menu. The group is converted into a single object, using the styles of the first object of the group, and the shape resulting from the composition operation. All other objects from the group are removed.

Expand Content

Illustrations, artworks or icons stored in a vector graphics file format, can be embedded into a VectorStyler document, as a linked object content. When linking to external vector files, an object is created with the linked content. The content of this object cannot be altered, and it is kept up to date with the file changes. The file formats supported for such embedding are SVG, PDF, AI, PSD, EPS, Postscript and of course VectorStyler.

To fully import a linked content into editable objects, use the Expand Content command from the Styles menu. The content of the vector file is expanded into editable objects, and placed into a group replacing the original linked content object. The link to the vector file is removed, and changes to the file, will be reflected on the expanded objects.

Expand Stroke

Outlines drawn with various stroke styles are displayed by converting the stroke into fillable shapes. This includes dashes, stripes, caps, arrows or variable width profiles. In typical workflows, the stroke attributes are edited from the Stroke panel, or by applying various stroke styles or preset, while the object shape is altered using the shape editing tools, to obtain various stroke effects.

In some cases, it is required that the filled shapes resulting from a stroke are available as editable shapes, filled with the stroke color. To convert a stroke outline into a filled shape, use the Expand Stroke command from the Styles menu. The result will be an object with a new shape, filled with the stroke color, where the shape matches the area covered by the stroke. The filled shape consists of curves and nodes and can be freely edited using the Node tool.

The precision of stroke expansion can be controlled using the current zoom level. To expand with more nodes and higher precision, increase the zoom level. by zooming id. To create fewer nodes when expanding (and less precision), decrease the zoom level by zooming out.

Alternatively, it is also possible to expand a stroke into filled shapes by allowing the shape to cross at self intersection points. For this, use the Crossing Stroke command of the style menu.

Expand Pattern Tiles

The tiling pattern fill style, used to fill objects, consists of virtual copies of objects, arranged into tiles. The content of a tiling pattern is set from the Patterns panel, and can be a symbol, or any other object group marked with the Tiling Pattern Content role. When the object is resized, the tiles are rearranged to fill the available area defined by the shape.

In some cases, it is required that the tiles of a pattern fill are converted to selectable and editable objects, removing the automatic tile arrangement of a pattern fill. To convert pattern tiles into editable objects, select the Expand Pattern Styles command from the Styles menu. The result will be a group of objects, containing copies of the tiles, arranged according to the original tiling scheme. The object group is clipped with the shape of the original objects.

The appearance of the expanded tiles is the same as the original tiling pattern fill, with the difference, that now these are separate editable objects.