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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.
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.
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