Creating paths and shapes

This section explains how to create items that contain paths.


Paths

To create line or a freeform path, specify a series of path points, as a series of x-y coordinates or PathPoint objects.

Using x-y coordinates limits the path to straight segments. To created a curved path, you must create PathPoint objects. A path can comprise a combination of page coordinates and PathPoint objects.

Specifying a series of x-y coordinates

To specify a path using page-coordinate pairs, use the entire path property of the PathItems object. The following script specifies three pairs of x-y coordinates, to create a path with three points

Set appRef = CreateObject ("Illustrator.Application")

Set firstPath = appRef.ActiveDocument.PathItems.Add
  firstPath.Stroked = True
firstPath.SetEntirePath(Array(Array(220, 475),Array(375, 300),Array(200, 300)))

Using path point objects

To create a PathPoint object, you must define three values for the point.

  • A fixed anchor point, which is the point on the path.
  • A pair of direction points— left direction and right direction —which allow you to control the path segment’s curve.

You define each property as an array of page coordinates in the format (Array (x,y)):

  • If all three properties of a PathPoint object have the same coordinates, and the properties of the next PathPoint in the line are equal to each other, you create a straight-line segment.
  • If two or more properties in a PathPoint object hold different values, the segment connected to the point is curved.

To create a path or add points to an existing path using PathPoint objects, create a PathItem object, then add the path points as child objects in the PathItem

Set appRef = CreateObject ("Illustrator.Application")

Set firstPath = appRef.ActiveDocument.PathItems.Add
  firstPath.Stroked = true
Set newPoint = firstPath.PathPoints.Add
'Using identical coordinates creates a straight segment
newPoint.Anchor = Array(75, 300)
newPoint.LeftDirection = Array(75, 300)
newPoint.RightDirection = Array(75, 300)

Set newPoint2 = firstPath.PathPoints.Add
newPoint2.Anchor = Array(175, 250)
newPoint2.LeftDirection = Array(175, 250)
newPoint2.RightDirection = Array(175, 250)

Set newPoint3 = firstPath.PathPoints.Add
'Using different coordinates creates a curve
newPoint3.Anchor = Array(275, 290)
newPoint3.LeftDirection = Array(135, 150)
newPoint3.RightDirection = Array(155, 150)

Combining path point types

The following script sample creates a path with three points

Set appRef = CreateObject("Illustrator.Application")
Set myDoc = appRef.ActiveDocument
Set myLine = myDoc.PathItems.Add
  myLine.Stroked = True
  myLine.SetEntirePath( Array( Array(320, 475), Array(375, 300)))

' Append another point to the line
Set newPoint = myLine.PathPoints.Add
  'Using identical coordinates creates a straight segment
  newPoint.Anchor = Array(220, 300)
  newPoint.LeftDirection = Array(220, 300)
  newPoint.RightDirection = Array(220, 300)

Shapes

To create a shape, you use the object that corresponds to the shape’s name (like ellipse, rectangle, or polygon), and use the object’s properties to specify the shape’s position, size, and other information like the number of sides in a polygon.

Remember:

  • The scripting engine processes all measurements and page coordinates as points. For details, see Measurement Units.
  • x and y coordinates are measured from the bottom-left corner of the document, as indicated in the Info panel in the Illustrator application. For details, see Page-item positioning and dimensions.

Creating a rectangle

Consider the following sample

Set appRef = CreateObject("Illustrator.Application")
Set frontDocument = appRef.ActiveDocument
' Create a new rectangle with
' top = 144, left side = 144, width = 72, height = 144
Set newRectangle = frontDocument.PathItems.Rectangle(144,144,72,144)

The sample creates a rectangle with these properties:

  • The top of the rectangle is 2 inches (144 points) from the bottom edge of the page.
  • The left edge is 2 inches (144 points) from the left edge of the page.
  • The rectangle is 1 inch (72 points) wide and 2 inches (144 points) long.

Creating a polygon

Consider the following sample

Set appRef = CreateObject("Illustrator.Application")
Set frontDocument = appRef.ActiveDocument
' Create a new polygon with
' top = 144, left side = 288, width = 72, height = 144
Set newPolygon = frontDocument.PathItems.Polygon(144,288,72,7)

The sample creates a polygon with these properties:

  • The center point of the object is inset is 2 inches (144 points) on the horizontal axis and 4 inches (288 points) on the vertical axis.
  • The polygon has 7 sides.
  • The length of the radius from the center point to each corner is 1 inch (72 points).