Dynamic Offset Path
Because I make maps using Illustrator, I tend to work with loads of strokes for hundreds of streets. So far I've managed without outlining these strokes, or outlining by copying these strokes, converting them to shapes and then applying a stroke to that shape. However it is tedious, hard to edit and basically creates twice a set of roads - which is never fantastic.
It would be great if the Offset Path effect or function could have a dynamic nature: Reading its parent stroke's width to widen or narrow accordingly. I've attached three images:
One: with a work-around-ish 'hack' using Drop Shadow and Outer Glow in the Appearance panel. this creates jagged edges and is ugly - probably problematic.
Two: An example of how Offset Paths works currently and how it is too stringent. It would be great if it could work on a Layer Group's strokes within.
Three: an image with a simple outer glow effect and a desired result.
This is also a paid option, but it could be useful...maybe.
Anyway, I think something similar should be a native tool in Illustrator.
Another way of making this, other than with a complex routine I described below, is to use a third-party plugin, AG Offset by Astute Graphics. It makes adding live offsets to objects a rather simple operation.
Samuel Charpentier commented
This would be great, specificaly for the automation of die cut bleed when the background can't be applied to the stroke, like a gradient. That way, the shape mesures in the transform palette would be the size of the die cut line, and the background limits would always be at the specified distance of it, +9pts, for example. That would remove the need of making the die line as a separate shape, and would speed up the process of resizing the die and keeping the same bleed size.
Can you mockup a picture describing how it could look without breaking current paradigm? I seem to fail to imagine this.
Sebas van den Brink commented
I have since, indeed, found this out. A smarter stroke would still be welcome, though.
Well, it's quite possible to do now.
Here's a little tutorial how to do it:
You create your strokes with different widths, group them, apply 'Outline stroke', make another group (see note below), then apply new fill to a second group and then applying Offset path to this fill.
Note: the only problem is that you can't make second group with only a group selected, but you can trick AI to do it, adding temp object, grouping it with a group and then deleting it.