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Once you've got a tracing object inside of Adobe Illustrator, you're ready to gain full control over that object, and expand it out, so that the pixel-based image now becomes a set of vector paths. Up until this point, you have created a vector object, and you can scale this thing up or down. The problem with that is, every time you resize either up or down, Illustrator has to go through and re-render this image, and any time you resize, it's going to affect the way the object renders. If you're happy with the tracing as it exists right now, you could expand this out, and turn these into paths, which then make sure that it's always going to look the same.
So exactly what happens when you expand out the appearance of a tracing object? Well, you break the link between this object, and the Image Trace panel, meaning you can no longer go back in and adjust the presets, you can't adjust the fitting; you can't adjust any of that stuff. So in this case, I want to break the link here, because I'm pretty happy with the results of this, and I want to be able to edit these paths individually, or even recolor this car. So in order to do that, I need to expand it out. There are a couple of ways you can expand this out. You can go to the Object menu, you can go down to Expand, and do it. Or, you can simply select the object on screen, and hit the Expand button up in the control panel.
This is probably the easiest way to convert your tracing object in the paths. When I click on it, my photo instantly becomes a bunch of vector paths. I can then scale it, and move it anywhere I want, with no render time. Now, one of the bad things about the new Image Trace panel is the fact that they eliminated an option which used to exist in the Live Trace panel that I found extremely useful. They used to have an option inside of that panel that allowed you to export out the swatches from your tracing object to your swatches panel.
Unfortunately, in CS6, that option has been removed, so therefore, I actually have to go into this object now, and identify each individual swatch. There are only five in this particular one, but it's still five that I have to identify, whereas in the old version of Illustrator, I could have just exported those swatches to my Swatches panel, and then I could have edited those, and I could have instantly changed the color of the car. In this case, I have to go in, and I have to select individual pieces of the car, and manually recolor it, which can be sort of pain, but it's the only option we have.
With this expanded tracing object, I can then double-click to go in the Isolation mode. Once I'm in Isolation Mode, I then have the ability to hover over each individual piece, and I can actually select different paths inside of this artwork. I also have the ability to select the white background that goes around it, because right now, if I stuck something behind it, there'd be a big white block behind this image. I can then hit the Backspace or Delete key, and remove that. So now if I double-click to exit Isolation mode, I can actually stick a background behind this thing.
Let's grab a rectangle, and I'll just draw out a box, and I'll target the Fill, and let's fill it with something like black. I'll then take my Selection tool, right-click, choose Arrange, and say Send to Back. Once I send it to back, you can see, even though it's not the cleanest, I still have the car silhouetted on this background. This is where changing the colors is going to come into play. You'll still need to go in here and change the color, so that it looks exactly like you wanted to.
In this case, this sketch works best on a white background, because we've got all these little white gaps in here, and the gray just makes it look like a hand-drawn sketch, and that's pretty much the look I was going for in the first place. But I now have the ability to scale, rotate, and manipulate this image, free of the Image Trace panel, without any render time, and that's the whole purpose to expanding your objects.
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