Can’t cut out or make middle transparent in Illustrator

I am trying to cut out the middle of this “P” graphic to make it transparent. I found tutorials on removing interior segments of objects using pathfinder, but every time I attempt to use “minus front” or “exclude,” I get the error below (“images, gradient meshes, graphs, placed objects, and text paths cannot be used as compound shape elements”). I’m extremely frustrated and cannot find any solutions. Please help!

(I did locate some information indicating the graphic may be too small and should be somewhat expanded, but when I resized it, it gives the same error anyway. I also tried to use “expand appearance,” but it was greyed out.)

enter image description here


You have a raster image. You can’t use pathfinder on a raster image, hence your error message. Pathfinder only works on paths.

If you are working exclusively with a raster image you’re probably better off doing this in Photoshop (or some other raster image editor). If you do want to do this in Illustrator you can create a clipping mask:

  1. Draw a rectangle on top of and the same size as your image (with no fill so you can see the image underneath)
  2. Draw the shape you want to cut out and use Pathfinder’s Minus Front to cut it out of the rectangle (not the image)
  3. Select your newly cut out shape and your image
  4. Object → Clipping Mask → Make (or cmd + 7)

Source : Link , Question Author : Dex F , Answer Author : Cai

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