Illustrator File Prep Help!

In need of some Illustrator help!

I have a series of decorative swashes that I’ve grouped together. On top of that series of swashes I’ve placed a star. I would like the series of swashes to stop where the star starts. I need one plate for the swashes, another for the star as they will be printed in two different colors. How do I create a ‘negative star space’ in the middle of my swashes? I’m intending to print both of these colors in perfect register with one another.

This cannot be that hard but I’ve been searching the internet all day and cannot seem to find a tutorial. I’m guessing it has something to do with the pathfinder panel?


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As long as the star and the swashes are set up as different spot inks in the same file, and you haven’t set the star to overprint, you don’t need to do anything. Make sure you tell whoever is making your plates that you want the star to knock out of the swashes and you’ll be fine.

I submit my plates to Boxcar and they require that everything be separated and all objects submitted in black. :(

I would just duplicate the star and make it white. Then put it on top of the swashes and group them together. If you want more of a of border then outline the white star.

You can do this using pathfinder but it’s not necessary since all Boxcar uses is whatever black is showing.

Brilliant! You’re a Christmas lifesaver! Thanks much!

Here’s how to do it using pathfinder, if you should need it later…

To delete any overlapping area from your path, place your object (star) on top of the swashes, select everything and choose Minus Front (under Shape Modes) in the pathfinder window.

You’ll loose your star, so keep a copy somewhere on the artboard, or in its own layer. =)