Illustrator CS5 Essential Training
Illustration by John Hersey

Controlling colors in Live Trace


Illustrator CS5 Essential Training

with Mordy Golding

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Video: Controlling colors in Live Trace

Normally, when using the Live Trace feature inside of Illustrator, the result that you get will represent the image that you're using. However, there may be times when you want to make adjustments to the colors that you're using in Live Trace. Let's take a look at how that might work. I'm going to start with a blank document, and I'm going to place an image into my document. I'll choose File > Place. I'll use this glories.psd file and place the linked image. Next, I'm going to go here and click on this little Preset button and apply the Colors 6 Live Trace preset, and now I get this lovely result.
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  1. 3m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 18s
    2. What is Illustrator CS5?
      1m 46s
    3. Using the exercise files
  2. 12m 37s
    1. What are vector graphics?
      6m 3s
    2. Path and appearance
      3m 42s
    3. Stacking
      2m 52s
  3. 32m 6s
    1. The Welcome screen
      2m 23s
    2. Creating files for print
      6m 7s
    3. Creating files for the screen
      2m 55s
    4. Using prebuilt templates
      2m 40s
    5. Adding XMP metadata
      4m 18s
    6. Exploring the panels
      6m 33s
    7. Using the Control panel
      3m 11s
    8. Using workspaces
      3m 59s
  4. 43m 44s
    1. Navigating within a document
      9m 15s
    2. Using rulers and guides
      7m 26s
    3. Using grids
      3m 6s
    4. Using the bounding box
      3m 37s
    5. Using Smart Guides
      5m 56s
    6. The Hide Edges command
      3m 22s
    7. Various preview modes
      3m 47s
    8. Creating custom views
      4m 3s
    9. Locking and hiding artwork
      3m 12s
  5. 28m 46s
    1. Using the basic selection tools
      8m 50s
    2. Using the Magic Wand tool
      5m 22s
    3. Using the Lasso tool
      2m 28s
    4. Selecting objects by attribute or type
      3m 37s
    5. Saving and reusing selections
      2m 15s
    6. Selecting artwork beneath other objects
      2m 13s
    7. Exploring selection preferences
      4m 1s
  6. 1h 16m
    1. The importance of modifier keys
      1m 52s
    2. Drawing closed path primitives
      11m 38s
    3. Drawing open path primitives
      5m 47s
    4. Understanding anchor points
      3m 43s
    5. Drawing straight paths with the Pen tool
      7m 37s
    6. Drawing curved paths with the Pen tool
      9m 47s
    7. Drawing freeform paths with the Pencil tool
      5m 33s
    8. Smoothing and erasing paths
      3m 8s
    9. Editing anchor points
      7m 21s
    10. Joining and averaging paths
      10m 9s
    11. Simplifying paths
      4m 55s
    12. Using Offset Path
      2m 17s
    13. Cleaning up errant paths
      2m 32s
  7. 48m 26s
    1. The Draw Inside and Draw Behind modes
      7m 34s
    2. Creating compound paths
      5m 56s
    3. Creating compound shapes
      8m 0s
    4. Using the Shape Builder tool
      10m 28s
    5. Using Pathfinder functions
      8m 6s
    6. Splitting an object into a grid
      1m 16s
    7. Using the Blob Brush and Eraser tools
      7m 6s
  8. 49m 1s
    1. Creating point text
      4m 2s
    2. Creating area text
      8m 13s
    3. Applying basic character settings
      7m 44s
    4. Applying basic paragraph settings
      4m 24s
    5. Creating text threads
      8m 25s
    6. Setting text along an open path
      6m 29s
    7. Setting text along a closed path
      6m 24s
    8. Converting text into paths
      3m 20s
  9. 18m 55s
    1. Create a logo mark
      11m 26s
    2. Add type to your logo
      7m 29s
  10. 42m 42s
    1. Using the Appearance panel
      8m 21s
    2. Targeting object attributes
      4m 42s
    3. Adding multiple attributes
      4m 25s
    4. Applying Live Effects
      5m 18s
    5. Expanding appearances
      4m 42s
    6. Appearance panel settings
      4m 33s
    7. Copying appearances
      4m 51s
    8. Saving appearances as graphic styles
      5m 50s
  11. 34m 0s
    1. Applying color to artwork
      5m 57s
    2. Creating process and global process swatches
      8m 54s
    3. Creating spot color swatches
      3m 19s
    4. Loading PANTONE and other custom color libraries
      4m 49s
    5. Organizing colors with Swatch Groups
      3m 31s
    6. Finding color suggestions with the Color Guide panel
      4m 24s
    7. Loading the Color Guide with user-defined colors
      3m 6s
  12. 50m 23s
    1. Creating gradients with the Gradient panel
      8m 12s
    2. Modifying gradients with the Gradient Annotator
      4m 37s
    3. Applying and manipulating pattern fills
      5m 33s
    4. Defining your own custom pattern fills
      9m 13s
    5. Applying basic stroke settings
      5m 22s
    6. Creating strokes with dashed lines
      3m 41s
    7. Adding arrowheads to strokes
      2m 45s
    8. Creating variable-width strokes
      4m 35s
    9. Working with width profiles
      2m 36s
    10. Turning strokes into filled paths
      3m 49s
  13. 32m 46s
    1. Creating and editing groups
      8m 18s
    2. Adding attributes to groups
      12m 17s
    3. The importance of using layers
      5m 9s
    4. Using and "reading" the Layers panel
      7m 2s
  14. 12m 13s
    1. Creating and using multiple artboards
      7m 52s
    2. Modifying artboards with the Artboards panel
      2m 2s
    3. Copy and paste options with Artboards
      2m 19s
  15. 31m 10s
    1. Moving and copying artwork
      3m 55s
    2. Scaling or resizing artwork
      6m 47s
    3. Rotating artwork
      2m 44s
    4. Reflecting and skewing artwork
      2m 34s
    5. Using the Free Transform tool
      2m 15s
    6. Repeating transformations
      3m 39s
    7. Performing individual transforms across multiple objects
      2m 10s
    8. Aligning objects and groups precisely
      4m 27s
    9. Distributing objects and spaces between objects
      2m 39s
  16. 35m 40s
    1. Placing pixel-based content into Illustrator
      5m 14s
    2. Managing images with the Links panel
      4m 49s
    3. Converting pixels to paths with Live Trace
      8m 44s
    4. Making Live Trace adjustments
      6m 9s
    5. Controlling colors in Live Trace
      6m 4s
    6. Using Photoshop and Live Trace together
      4m 40s
  17. 14m 42s
    1. Managing repeating artwork with symbols
      4m 38s
    2. Modifying and replacing symbol instances
      3m 8s
    3. Using the Symbol Sprayer tool
      6m 56s
  18. 16m 57s
    1. Cropping photographs
      1m 59s
    2. Clipping artwork with masks
      3m 22s
    3. Clipping the contents of a layer
      3m 31s
    4. Defining masks with soft edges
      8m 5s
  19. 25m 52s
    1. Defining a perspective grid
      7m 48s
    2. Drawing artwork in perspective
      8m 46s
    3. Moving flat art onto the perspective grid
      9m 18s
  20. 25m 8s
    1. Printing your Illustrator document
      3m 26s
    2. Saving your Illustrator document
      6m 39s
    3. Creating PDF files for clients and printers
      7m 30s
    4. Exporting Illustrator files for use in Microsoft Office
      1m 4s
    5. Exporting Illustrator files for use in Photoshop
      2m 31s
    6. Exporting artwork for use on the web
      3m 3s
    7. Exporting high-resolution raster files
  21. 2m 18s
    1. Additional Illustrator learning resources
      1m 36s
    2. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Illustrator CS5 Essential Training
10h 37m Beginner Apr 30, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Illustrator CS5 Essential Training, author Mordy Golding explains the core concepts and techniques that apply to any workflow in Illustrator, whether designing for print, the web, or assets for other applications. This course includes a detailed explanation of the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of the Illustrator drawing tools. Also demonstrated are techniques for combining and cleaning up paths, organizing paths into groups and layers, text editing, working with color, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Setting up a new document based on the output destination
  • Using rules, guides, and grids
  • Making detailed selections
  • Drawing and editing paths with the Pen and Pencil tools
  • Creating compound vector shapes
  • Understanding the difference between point and area text
  • Applying live effects
  • Creating color swatches
  • Transforming artwork with Rotation, Scale, and Transform effects
  • Placing images
  • Working with masks
  • Printing, saving, and exporting artwork
Mordy Golding

Controlling colors in Live Trace

Normally, when using the Live Trace feature inside of Illustrator, the result that you get will represent the image that you're using. However, there may be times when you want to make adjustments to the colors that you're using in Live Trace. Let's take a look at how that might work. I'm going to start with a blank document, and I'm going to place an image into my document. I'll choose File > Place. I'll use this glories.psd file and place the linked image. Next, I'm going to go here and click on this little Preset button and apply the Colors 6 Live Trace preset, and now I get this lovely result.

However, I might want to change some of the colors, for example, maybe I don't like this color of the flowers. I want to use a different color instead. Now, really the only way for me to do that would be to expand the artwork. That gives me now access to the vectors, and now we can start to use things like the Select Same command, where if I take the same my Direct Selection tool, I can click on this object here and then choose Select > Same > Fill Color, and now I'll go ahead and make adjustments to those colors. However, not only is that extra steps for me to do, it also means that I have to expand my artwork, and I can no longer make adjustments to my trace if I need to.

So, I'm going to press Command+Z a couple of times just to go back to my Live Trace version of the artwork. Now, it's no longer expanded. And I want to share with you a few interesting pointers and how to actually change the colors of the vector artwork inside of a Live Trace object, even though you can access it. I'm going to start by here going to the icon in the Control panel called Tracing Options dialog to open up the Tracing Options dialog box. And here, you can see that we're using six colors. I'm going to check this box called Output to Swatches, and then I'll click Trace.

Now, it doesn't really look like anything happened, however, if I now go into my Swatches panel, I'll see that in my Swatches panel, six new colors have just been added, and these colors have little white triangles, which indicate that they are global colors. Remember, that if edit a global color swatch inside of my Swatches panel, those colors update on any object that appears inside of my document. So, even though I can't select any of this artwork because I haven't expanded the Live Trace object, if I wanted to change this color right here, I can even deselect the artwork right here, double -click on that Color Swatch right here inside of the Swatches panel, I'll click on the Preview button so I could see the changes, and as I make adjustments, I can see that I'm now changing that piece of art right here inside of my document.

This is one way to modify colors that are used inside of a Live Trace object. I don't have to expand it. I just have to basically make sure that I export the swatches to the Swatches panel, and then in doing so, I just have to modify those global process colors. However, this really is somewhat of a reactive process. I told Illustrator to go ahead and pull out six of its own colors, and now I'm taking one of those colors, and I'm making changes to it. There is also a way for me to kind of load colors up into Live Trace and tell Illustrator from scratch that when tracing that image, I want it to use very specific colors.

Let's see how to do that. I'm going to cancel out of this dialog box here, and I'm going to start by going to the bottom of the Swatches panel and click on this button to open up and view the libraries. Now, Illustrator comes with many different libraries. We know there is Pantone, for example, but there is also a tremendous wealth of other colors that I can use. For example, if I go here to Nature, I could see things like Flowers, Foliage, Landscape, Beach, I mean who doesn't like that, right? So, I'm going to choose Flowers just for now, and I'll also open up some additional libraries.

I'm going to choose let's say Earthtone. Let me open up some other ones like Celebration. And finally, I'll go to Scientific, and I'll choose Complementary colors. Great! So now, I have a whole bunch of different libraries, which are external to my document. They are opened up, but I haven't added any of these colors yet to my document, but simply because they are now opened inside of Illustrator, I can access these directly from inside Live Trace. Let's take a look at how that works. I'm going to use my Selection tool to select my image and once again, I'm going to open up the Tracing Options dialog box.

And now I'm going to focus on this area where it says palette. Right now, it's always been set to Automatic. Illustrator, on its own, looks at a photograph, finds the six most prominent colors that are used and uses that in the trace, however, since I've loaded up now some custom libraries, those pallets now appear directly inside of this list. Now, throughout this training title, I've been opening up various different libraries, and they all appear here right now, but since I opened up the Flowers one, I'm going to choose Flowers right now.

I'm going to click on the Preview button, and now basically the result that I'm seeing are colors inside of the trace that only are available inside of that Flowers palette. And I'll just show you if I switch here, for example, to Kids Stuff, I now see colors that are used from that library, or maybe I'll switch here to Celebration. You can see that I can basically load up libraries in advance, and then bring them into Live Trace and have Live Trace choose from that panel of colors. As an example, if you have corporate colors that you need to use, you can actually load that library up into Live Trace, and now when you convert images, you're only using colors that are approved corporate colors.

If you are a fashion designer and you're working within a very specific range of colors for a certain season, once again, you can load that library up into Live Trace and when you make conversions that way, it's only using colors that are approved for the season you're working on. This is just one example of how you can modify the results that you get with Live Trace, but in the next movie, we'll learn how to take things even a step further. We can actually change the artwork itself without expanding the Live Trace.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator CS5 Essential Training .

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Q: Despite clicking the rectangle icon on the toolbar, as shown in the video, the other tool shapes are not accessible in Illustrator. The rectangle is usable, but the star, ellipse, etc. are not, and do not appear anywhere in the toolbar. What is causing this problem?
A: These tools are grouped together, so to access them, click and hold the mouse for a second until the other tools appear. If that isn't happening, reset the Illustrator preferences file. To do so, quit Illustrator and then relaunch the application while pressing and holding the Ctrl+Alt+Shift keys. Once the Illustrator splash screen appears, release the keys and that will reset the preferences file.
Q: In the video “What are vector graphics,” the author states that if he creates a 1 inch x 1 inch Photoshop file at 300ppi image, there are 300 pixels in that image. Is that correct?
A: This statement is by the author was not totally correct. If the resolution is 300ppi, it means that there are 300 pixels across one inch, both vertically and horizontally. That would mean you'd have 90,000 pixels in a 1 inch x 1 inch image at 300 ppi.
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