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In Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced, author and industry expert Deke McClelland teaches how to take advantage of the wide array of dynamic features in Illustrator CS5. This course demonstrates how to apply these features to paths, groups, and editable text to create professional-quality artwork. The course covers Live Trace, Live Paint, and Live Color, as well as symbols, gradients, exporting, and integration with Photoshop. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this movie we're going to take this skull, this adjusted skull art, and we are going to increase the contrast so that we have jet blacks against an absolutely white background, and then we're going to add in all the red that's required to paint the background flag. The red that occurs out here in the larger background that shows up inside of the various elements here, inside of the handles of the saber, inside of the earrings, and then of course the ghostly red eyes. We need to paint those in as well. I've gone ahead and saved my changes from the previous exercise as Adjusted line art.tif.
I'm going to take this artwork and the first thing I'm going to do is increase its contrast by going up to the Image menu and choosing adjustments and then choosing the Levels command or you can press Ctrl+L, Cmd+L on the Mac. Bear in mind that this applies a static color adjustment. So that we're really modifying the pixels inside of this image, which is perfectly acceptable. There's no reason to resort to an adjustment layer for this effect. Now, I want you to check out this histogram here. The histogram shows all the luminance levels from black over here on the left-hand side to white over here on right-hand side.
These lumps are populations of Luminance levels. So we have a lot of dark Luminance levels right over here and then we've got a bunch of light ones over here on right-hand side. What we want is absolute blacks and whites. So we want to clip all of this shadow detail and all this highlight detail. So when you're increasing the Contrast of a piece of line art like this one, you want to go ahead and take this black point slider all the way over to the right-hand side of the shadow lump. So you want to isolate where that shadow lump is and take this guy well to the right of it, so a few clicks over.
So in my case I'm settings this black point value to a 100, which means that any Luminance level of a hundred or darker is going to become black, which is zero, by the way. Then I am going to take this white point slider all the way to the left-hand side of the big highlight hump over here on the right. So, I'll take it over to about 200 let's say. So anything with a Luminance level of 200 or brighter is going to become white and as a result we have some very black line art against a very white background. I'll go ahead and click OK in order to accept that modification.
Then what you want to do is go ahead and zoom in on your art and make sure that you don't have any jagged transitions. There should be nice sharp transitions but you don't want any jagged pixels. In our case we're fine. If you do have jagged pixels, you would want to go ahead and undo the application of Levels and take a new approach in which you don't quite make as much black or white. So you'd want to clip fewer colors, so that you'd have more gray pixels in between. All right, I am going to go ahead and zoom out to that Fit in Window display once again and I need to clean up this background junk.
I'm going to do that by grabbing my Lasso tool and I am going to Alt+Click to take advantage of the polygonal function there, this is an Option+Click on the Mac, and I'm just more or less surrounding my artwork like so, so that I am isolating the good part of my art from the bad stuff out here in the background. Now let's go ahead and select the bad stuff by going up to the Select menu and choosing the Inverse command or press Ctrl+Shift+I, Cmd+Shift+I on a Mac. Now you've selected that area that was formerly deselected and you want to fill it with white which is a background color.
So you press Ctrl+Backspace or Cmd+ Delete and now we have black line art against an absolutely white background. Now at this point, we still need to fill in the red and we're going to do that using independent layers, because that's going to be the best approach. But first of all, I remember painting this at the time or drawing it that is, I remember that I took this edge a little too close. So I am going to carve it out a little bit using my Lasso tool, like so. That's really great that you have this kind of control inside of Photoshop. So you can altogether modify your artwork after having created it.
I'll press Ctrl+Backspace or Cmd +Delete on the Mac in order to fill that area with white. So we get that thicker highlighted edge right there. You might also want to select a few of these little sort of light schnivels that are showing up inside the image. I'll go ahead and press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete to fill that area with black, and I believe we've got another little guy right there. So you can sort of hunt him down if you want to, that's a Ctrl+Backspace or Cmd+Delete to fill that one with white. So it's up to you how much you decide to sort of finesse these edges. It can be useful, although Illustrator is liable to get rid of most of these little blemishes here, because they'll fall under its live trace threshold as we'll see.
Anyway, I'll press Ctrl+Backspace, Cmd+Delete to fill that area with white just to touch it up a little and I'm going to zoom back out. What we want to do is we want to select this black line art, I'll show you why. I'll switch to the final version of the image right here and notice that the black lines are isolated on one layer, so we are seeing black against this checkerboard background. Checkerboard represents transparency. So if I turn off the red we can see just the black and if I turn off the background layer then we are seeing just the black line art against a transparent background.
All the white is being contributed by the background layer here and then we've got this red layer in between. Well, what I need to do is select those black lines independently of the rest of the art. And the mistake a lot of folks make, is to whip out the Magic Wand tool and think, okay I'll grab my Magic Wand, and then I will click inside the black lines and that will enable me to select them. Not so, what you're going to do is you're going to lose the integrity of those edges. Those nice sharp but not jagged edges will turn either dull on you or very possibly jagged as well.
It can go either way. In any case you are not going to get the right results. What you want is to use the image to select itself. So the image is effectively already selected, just sitting there waiting for you to use the selection that it's made available to you. To get to that selection you go over to the Channels panel. This is a grayscale image because I scanned it in grayscale to keep the file size down. So I just have one channel of Gray. What I am going to do is press the Control key or the Cmd key on the Mac and click on that channel and that goes ahead and selects all the white stuff. It does not select the black, it just selects the white.
So let's go back to the layers panel and I am going to go up to the Select menu and I am going to choose Inverse or press Ctrl+Shift+I, Cmd+Shift+I in order to reverse that selection. Now I've selected all the black stuff and I haven't selected the white, the white is deselected. I'll create a new layer and the easiest way to do that is to press Ctrl+Shift+N or Cmd+Shift+N on the Mac and I'll call this line art and then I'll click OK. Now I'll fill the selected area with Black. Black is my foreground color so I press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete in order to fill this selection with black.
You can see that I have the black line art now here on the line art layer. I need to get rid of those black outlines here on the background layer. So I'll just press Ctrl+D or Cmd+D on a Mac after selecting the background layer, to deselect my artwork. So nothing's selected. Now I'll fill the entire layer with white by pressing Ctrl+Backspace or Cmd+Delete on the Mac. So we've got a white background layer, the line art is now isolated to this line art layer and we should have exactly the same visual results as we had before.
If you're curious you can zoom in on your artwork and test those edges, make sure that they still look good, which they do. All right, the next thing to do is to fill in the red and we are going to need another layer for that once again. So I am going to click on the background layer to make it active. Press Ctrl+Shift+N, Cmd+Shift+N on the Mac in order to create a new layer, call it red fill and then I'll click OK. Now the red that I am looking for would be nice if I could dial it in, but I can't get to it here inside the Color panel. RGB sliders and all the other color sliders are unavailable to me to because I am working inside of a grayscale image.
So I need to go to the Image menu, choose mode and switch out to RGB Color. At which point in time Photoshop is going to gripe at me and it's going to suggest that I flatten my artwork. After all this I am supposed to flatten my artwork and that is the highlighted button, I don't think so. Don't Flatten. It's not going to change the appearance of a single layer. So go ahead and click Don't Flatten and everything is going to look the same as it did before, so no changes whatsoever. Now I'm going to switch in the Color panel, I am going to switch to my HSB sliders just because I find that to be the easiest way to dial in colors.
The Hue value is already at 0 degrees, so that's fine, which is red, incidentally. I'm going to change the Saturation value to a 100 and the Brightness value to 65 and then, and this is going to really surprise you, I am going to grab the Paint Bucket of all things, which is located in the same flyout menu as the Gradient tool. I will grab the Paint Bucket and I want to make sure that I'm filling with the foreground color, so that's fine. Normal, Opacity 100%. I've raised the Tolerance value to a 100, so you really want it cranked up there. Anti-alias is on by default, turn it off.
Leave Contiguous on, and then turn on All Layers as well, that's not going to affect all layers that's going to take all layers into consideration as you paint away here. Then you just click in the areas that you want to fill. Now you're going to notice these little white edges around your fills, don't worry about them, we'll take care of those. Then I'll click inside of that wedge. Click there as well, click there and then inside of the eyes need clicking, and then inside of this earring as well. All right, the next step is to fill in the slight white edges.
I will go ahead and zoom in on them, so we can see them, and the way that we are going to do that is by stroking this red fill. And so I am going to drop down to my fx icon, click on it, choose the Stroke command, and then inside this Layer Style dialog box, I am going to change the color from black to that same color we were just using a moment ago, that is, the Saturation of 100% and a Brightness of 65%. Hue is zero as by default, click OK. Then I'm going to take the Size of my stroke up to something like 10, let's say, and make sure that I am stroking to the outside.
Now I don't want the stroke to get so thick that it starts showing through other portions of my artwork, but this is looking good, I am not seeing it poke through inside the earrings or anywhere else. I will go ahead and click OK. If I want to test that layer I could drag it on top of line art, like so, and then I could just sort of hunt around and make sure that the stroke never creeps beyond the black outlines. This actually looks very good. So I will go ahead and zoom back out. Then I don't want to leave things that way, I don't want the stroke encroaching on the black outlines, so once I've confirmed that everything looks good, I'll go ahead and move it back in back of the line art layer.
And I now have created something that's worthy of tracing inside of Illustrator. Next time around we'll see how to make that tracing happen.
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