Eraser tool

How to use the eraser tool in Illustrator (as well as Photoshop) CC 2019 2018 2017 etc. The eraser tool can be used to cut through paths (AI) or erase pixels in PS. Tutorials on how to use the features in both applications.

Vector eraser tool

Comic book panels


Eraser tool (pixel)

Background eraser tool

Magic eraser tool


Eraser tool in Illustrator. How to use the eraser tool in Adobe Illustrator to split paths, remove parts of a path etc for vector designs for CC 2019 2018 2017 2015 CS6 etc. Select the eraser tool in the toolbar (this can be found just below the paintbrush / blob). Select a path or multiple paths. Double click the eraser in the Illustrator toolbar and set the options for random size and angle etc. Cut through selected paths. It is very similar to the calligraphic as well as blob but instead of adding, it removes parts of path or paths (completely). It works on selected paths. It works on many types of paths but if it does not work then you may have to expand the artwork via the object menu or in the case of an image you can trace the image and then use it to cut into a path. Expand the type via the object menu and expand and then just apply over and over the type to create distressed and rough type in seconds. Double click the eraser tool icon to see the settings - you will see the following entries in the dialog along with a not particularly useful display of dots : Angle + Roundness + Size. Use the up and down keys to move the value up or down for the selected value or enter an angle such as 45 degrees etc. Within those settings you have also options to add pressure, random etc and variation (though I must admit, it would be more useful if it was a range of randomization instead of a single value). If you set the setting to fixed, you will not see the random feature. If you select the random option, you will see a variation from 0 upwards. Other options include pressure and stylus and tilt etc but these are of no use if you are just using a mouse. Angle has no effect if the roundness is set to 100% when it comes to the Illustrator eraser tool. The angle only changes when you have roundness set to less than 100%. You can also modify the angle and the roundness interactively via the left side circle in the panel. Squeeze the two dots on the edge of the circle to modify the roundness and click and rotate the icon to change the angle setting (personally, prefer just to enter the value 45 degrees etc). The variation is per stroke and not, sadly, during the stroke itself so the entire application of the cut will not result in any variation of size or roundness. The variation only kicks in the next time you use it. The size setting allows for small cuts; a large setting allow for the removal of whole chunks of the paths or the entire path. You can use it to remove parts of the path by brushing over the entire artwork but this is a lot harder to do than just deleting it normally and it is quite easy to leave fragments of paths behind. There is only a single modifier supplied with the eraser tool. You can hold the shift key down to erase in a straight line. You can erase in small strokes, perhaps add cuts to the edge of a path. You can also hold down the shift and create multiple straight lines through the path. If you select a rectangle, you can then use it with the shift key to create a grid. Simply apply multiple straight line removes through the rectangle (perhaps keeping the same size or varying the size of the removal line) to create all kinds of wonderful grids. All number of grids can be created using this approach. You can also re-color the individual parts of the grid design. You can apply it as a doodle through the whole path. Select a path and then apply the stroke and doodle through the path. You can then stop and change the size and continue with the removal of the path. Once you have finished applying your random lines through the path (such as a circle) you will then find that have 100s of new paths and they can all be re-colored individually or perhaps add new strokes or simply delete parts of the design. You can use the eraser with open as well as closed paths. You can pass through the open lines and split the paths into two new open paths and so on. If the open line paths include something like a width profile then you can see the result on the right with the profile added to both sides of the cut lines. Applying over and over, the result will be a lot of extra lines in your design. You can apply live effects to the artworks and then apply the stroke. Each part of the split path will be re-generated with the live effects such as bevels or blurs. Some live effects will not result in the expected result though. As they are live effects, you can go and select each path in turn and change the setting such as the zigzag or using the punk as well as any of the other effects available (such as those from third parties as well). Apply the live effect to the artwork and then go to the Illustrator eraser and apply and cut through the designs in countless ways - use to create a vast number of designs Once you have cut the design, you can easily remove parts of the path or use them in different colors etc. You can select each path in turn and re-color or perhaps use with the live paint bucket. You can also change all the colors on mass using color guide and adjust color balance found in the edit menu. You can use it to cut into frame designs and add a quick distressed look to the frame. Go around the entire path (and it does not need to be a square) and add the strokes to the edge to cut into the path. Use randomization to create different sizes of lines added to the work.



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Comic book panels (AI). Use the eraser tool feature to create interesting comic book panels and borders. You can select a basic white filled rectangle with black border and then apply over the design and create a very loose panel grid. You can also hold the shift key down to create straight lines at 45 degrees or 90 degrees. You can then fill the panels with pre-existing art using clipping masks or perhaps just draw into the individual panels. Once you have created your design the artwork can then be saved to the symbols library and the design can be used as a new symbol instance. You can also save the artwork to the CC library and the design is then stored safely on the Adobe server. You can then also use the generated graphic in other applications such as Photoshop and Adobe Indesign and Adobe After Effects. You can also use the file save command and save the design for use in AI format (in such as Painter) and SVG format (you can then add the artwork to a web page in seconds and use the vector format with any size of page). You can also use the file export command to save the cut and distressed artwork to a PNG format or PSD or JPG and then use the same artwork in Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer and GIMP and PaintShop pro etc

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Vector doodle (AI). You can select any path such as a rectangle and then select the eraser tool and double click the tool icon and set the size to 10pt or 20pt and then set the option to random for the size and set a variation (to the max). Go to the path and then apply the eraser through the path in a doodle / scribbled manner. If you re-apply the tool, as the setting is random, the next doodled path through the rectangle (or any other shape) will be a different size. Repeat this multiple times to create multiple doodles through the path all with varying size strokes. On finishing you will have a doodled path which can then be manipulated by tools such as adding live effects such as shadows etc. You can also use tool such as the live paint tool to add color to the individual cut parts of the original rectangle. This can be repeated with any number of paths such as ellipses and stars etc. You can select the individual parts of the path to break the design apart and spread the artwork throughout the artboard. You can also export the end result doodle to the CC library and use the vector path in other applications such as PS and After Effects etc. You can also create a more scratched look to the design by instead of doodling through the path / rectangle, just hold the shift key down when you apply the eraser and create little or large cuts into the path to create a more rough scratched look with the tool. If you apply those rough erased marks only to the edge of the design, you can also use the tool to create a very quick rough scratched edge frame. Just apply the tool around the entire edge of the path to create your frame design. The result can then be used as perhaps a clipping mask by adding the cut rectangle on top of an image and then selecting both artworks and then object menu and clipping path and make.



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Eraser tool (PS). The eraser tool in Photoshop can be used to erase pixels. You can use the tool with layers as well as to the background. If you apply the tool to the background, you will see the current background color. The tool uses any number of brush dabs (as with any of the other tools such as dodge etc). You can set it to three modes - brush and pencil and block. The pencil is a more crude version of the brush with less options. Block is just a square block and is very 1.0 of PS. The symmetry feature works with the first two modes, not the latter. You can use the eraser in brush mode with opacity setting of 100% or less. You can modify the flow as well as smoothing (set the smoothing great than 0 and you will see the smoothing options become available). If you wish to erase to transparency you will need to use the tool with a layer and as you apply the tool, you will see the underlying layers. If you are on the background, you can unlock that by clicking on the padlock on the background entry and then applying the eraser will show the transparency for that layer as well (so you can erase the background of an image to transparency). If you use the fade command found in the edit menu then the fade only allows the erase to be faded and the blending mode is not available (though you can still change the layer blending). You can use the tool with symmetry by going to the symmetry feature in the top bar and setting mandala / radial etc and the tool will be applied to each segment in turn. You can also use the tool to erase to history by checking that box in the top bar. If you check that, you can then go to the history panel and click the left side of any of the entries to set the history state to work from. For example, apply a number of gradients to an image and without using blending modes, the only preset you will see will be the last applied to the image. Go to the history panel and select the first applied gradient entry and then apply the eraser to the image and you will see the current preset as well as now the first preset applied to the image. You can do the same with all kinds of effects applied such as using blurring effects and then selecting that as a history state and the tool will then display that as you apply the tool to the artwork.

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Background tool (PS). You can also use the background eraser tool in Photoshop. The tool does not allow for any change in dab preset but is the same as a standard calligraphic stroke where the size, hardness, spacing, angle, roundness, pen pressure etc can be set. You have a number of options for sampling as well as limits set such as contigious etc and tolerance as well as the ability to protect the foreground color.

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Magic eraser (PS). More a fill tool but instead of filling, it erases a large chunk of the image depending on the tolerance setting. The other settings are anti-alias and contigious as well as sample all layers along with opacity.

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