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Editing scanned line art


Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

with Deke McClelland

Video: Editing scanned line art

In this movie I am going to demonstrate how to take a traditional line drawing and develop it inside of Photoshop so that you can later trace it in Illustrator. So what we will be doing is we will take this image and you may recall that it was a two-part process. I drew the skull first and then I scanned it in the Photoshop, made some modifications, printed the skull at a reduced size so that I could draw these sabers in the background in a second pass. Everything was rendered with a Sharpie, however. So we don't have as much contrast as I would like, and not only that, I want to make some modifications too.
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  1. 38m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 48s
    2. Linking AI and EPS files to Illustrator
      6m 48s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      7m 43s
    4. Remapping Mac OS shortcuts
      6m 56s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 54s
    6. The color settings explained
      7m 4s
    7. Preserve Numbers vs. embedded profiles
      3m 22s
  2. 1h 40m
    1. Converting pixels to vectors
      1m 2s
    2. Tracing an imported image
      6m 17s
    3. Other ways to trace
      3m 17s
    4. Raster and vector previews
      7m 2s
    5. Threshold, Min Area, and Max Colors
      5m 27s
    6. Tracing options: The raster functions
      8m 2s
    7. Using the Ignore White option
      5m 3s
    8. Tracing options: The vector functions
      6m 40s
    9. Expanding traced artwork
      5m 6s
    10. Sketching and drawing for Illustrator
      6m 24s
    11. Editing scanned line art
      9m 23s
    12. Adding contrast and color
      10m 32s
    13. Live Trace and resolution
      9m 8s
    14. Expanding and separating paths
      8m 43s
    15. Scaling and editing traced art
      8m 4s
  3. 1h 8m
    1. Gradients are good
      1m 15s
    2. Assigning a gradient fill
      6m 9s
    3. Using the gradient annotator
      7m 31s
    4. Editing multiple gradients
      4m 37s
    5. Establishing symmetrical gradients
      5m 28s
    6. Creating a radial gradient
      5m 46s
    7. Adjusting the midpoint skew
      3m 23s
    8. Mixing gradients with blend modes
      6m 11s
    9. Making a transparent gradient
      6m 42s
    10. Drop shadows and dynamic effects
      5m 58s
    11. Assigning a gradient to editable text
      5m 42s
    12. Editing text that includes dynamic effects
      2m 56s
    13. Assigning a gradient to a stroke
      6m 46s
  4. 1h 37m
    1. The earliest dynamic functions
      1m 10s
    2. The gradient-intensive illustration
      5m 26s
    3. Creating a multi-color blend
      7m 39s
    4. Establishing a clipping mask
      3m 34s
    5. Reinstating the mask colors
      9m 7s
    6. Editing blended paths
      6m 50s
    7. Adjusting the number of blended steps
      6m 49s
    8. Using the Blend tool
      4m 33s
    9. Blending between levels of opacity
      7m 32s
    10. Editing the path of the blend
      6m 22s
    11. Adding a custom path of the blend
      5m 4s
    12. Placing one mask inside another
      8m 33s
    13. Blending groups and adjusting the speed
      6m 1s
    14. Rotating objects in 3D space
      10m 21s
    15. Creating custom perspective guides
      8m 31s
  5. 1h 37m
    1. What was old is new again
    2. Introducing tile patterns
      6m 11s
    3. Determining the points of intersection
      6m 51s
    4. Extending paths from the intersections
      5m 40s
    5. Crafting symmetrical subpaths
      5m 38s
    6. The final flawed subpaths
      5m 52s
    7. Reconciling misaligned paths
      5m 34s
    8. Completing the core path outline
      6m 14s
    9. Making a symmetrical modification
      6m 47s
    10. Adjusting the interior elements
      8m 26s
    11. Coloring paths and testing the interlock
      9m 29s
    12. Establishing a rectangular tile
      6m 22s
    13. Defining a tile pattern
      3m 43s
    14. Creating a few color variations
      8m 50s
    15. Protecting patterns from transformations
      6m 9s
    16. Transforming patterns without paths
      5m 30s
  6. 1h 12m
    1. Filling and stroking virtual areas
    2. Introducing Live Paint
      7m 57s
    3. Stroking with the Live Paint Bucket tool
      5m 30s
    4. Using the Live Paint Selection tool
      7m 18s
    5. Adding a path to a Live Paint group
      4m 33s
    6. Building a classic Celtic knot
      8m 28s
    7. Constructing the base objects
      5m 31s
    8. Weaving one object into another
      6m 13s
    9. Creating a path that overlaps itself
      7m 15s
    10. Painting a path that overlaps itself
      5m 34s
    11. Creating knots inside knots
      5m 2s
    12. Adding gradients and depth
      8m 22s
  7. 1h 4m
    1. Dynamic effects and OpenType
      1m 12s
    2. Applying a dynamic effect to type
      5m 43s
    3. Creating a basic bevel effect
      4m 12s
    4. Building up a multi-stroke effect
      4m 49s
    5. Best practices for 3D type
      6m 34s
    6. Applying a "path wiggler" to type
      6m 14s
    7. Drop shadows and Raster Effects settings
      4m 52s
    8. Duplicating attributes and effects
      7m 8s
    9. Editing type with dynamic effects
      7m 27s
    10. Ligatures, swashes, ordinals, and fractions
      5m 45s
    11. Small caps and the Glyphs panel
      4m 25s
    12. Warping text and increasing resolution
      6m 9s
  8. 1h 44m
    1. A world of colors at your beck and call
      1m 32s
    2. Customizing a letterform to make a logo
      8m 37s
    3. Creating a custom drop shadow effect
      6m 26s
    4. Introducing the Color Guide panel
      9m 3s
    5. Harmonies and Color Guide settings
      5m 39s
    6. Lifting harmony rules from color groups
      7m 21s
    7. Harmony layouts and the Lab color wheel
      8m 15s
    8. Working inside the Edit Color dialog box
      6m 36s
    9. Limiting a color group to spot colors
      5m 47s
    10. Recoloring selected artwork
      5m 50s
    11. Recoloring with custom color groups
      6m 1s
    12. Swapping colors with the Color Bars feature
      5m 18s
    13. Using the options in the Assign panel
      8m 41s
    14. Moving color groups between documents
      7m 17s
    15. Distilling your artwork to one spot-color ink
      7m 45s
    16. Recoloring artwork that contains gradients
      4m 17s
  9. 1h 21m
    1. How symbols work
      1m 2s
    2. The power of symbols
      5m 1s
    3. Creating new symbols
      6m 0s
    4. Enabling the new 9-slice scaling
      4m 24s
    5. Adjusting your 9-slice scaling guides
      6m 54s
    6. Previewing and acquiring symbols
      4m 12s
    7. Finding a symbol and creating an instance
      4m 13s
    8. Duplicating and replacing instances
      4m 19s
    9. Breaking a symbol link and envelope fidelity
      5m 26s
    10. Distorting and expanding a symbol
      4m 54s
    11. Updating an existing symbol definition
      3m 40s
    12. Recoloring a symbol definition
      4m 13s
    13. Applying a basic "local" color adjustment
      5m 20s
    14. Applying a more elaborate local color adjustment
      5m 4s
    15. Laying down a random symbol set
      5m 35s
    16. The eight symbolism tools
      6m 55s
    17. Editing selected instances
      4m 11s
  10. 1h 32m
    1. Illustrator needs Photoshop
      1m 1s
    2. Two ways to place a pixel-based image
      6m 6s
    3. Working with linked images
      6m 6s
    4. Linking versus embedding
      9m 38s
    5. Stroking and blending an image
      6m 16s
    6. Adding a clipping mask and page curl
      6m 51s
    7. Creating a blended border effect
      7m 10s
    8. Rasterizing your artwork in Photoshop
      8m 0s
    9. Saving a flat raster file from Photoshop
      4m 58s
    10. Restoring cropped border elements
      5m 39s
    11. Copying and pasting into Photoshop
      6m 27s
    12. Working with Photoshop Smart Objects
      5m 26s
    13. Adding a pixel-based layer effect
      4m 12s
    14. Editing a Vector Smart Object in Illustrator
      7m 20s
    15. Creating and placing a transparent image
      7m 1s
  11. 1h 15m
    1. The many forms of transparency
      1m 29s
    2. Real-world blending modes
      7m 57s
    3. Exporting transparency from Illustrator
      6m 24s
    4. Opacity and blending modes
      6m 18s
    5. The Darken and Lighten modes
      7m 17s
    6. The Contrast, Inversion, and HSL modes
      6m 12s
    7. Blending modes in action
      5m 11s
    8. Creating a knockout group
      6m 14s
    9. Confirming the viability of your artwork
      6m 8s
    10. Introducing the opacity mask
      4m 6s
    11. Making an opacity mask
      5m 25s
    12. Drawing inside an opacity mask
      3m 34s
    13. Creating a gradient opacity mask
      5m 29s
    14. Adding an opacity mask to a single object
      3m 22s
  12. 1m 13s
    1. Until next time
      1m 13s

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Watch the Online Video Course Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced
14h 53m Intermediate Nov 30, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Tracing a pixel-based image
  • Sketching and drawing for Illustrator
  • Creating and editing gradients
  • Creating multi-colored blends
  • Creating seamlessly repeating tile patterns
  • Creating interlocking artwork with Live Paint
  • Designing advanced type effects
  • Recoloring artwork with color harmonies
  • Making the most of symbols
  • Integrating Illustrator with Photoshop
  • Using transparency, blend modes, and opacity masks
Deke McClelland

Editing scanned line art

In this movie I am going to demonstrate how to take a traditional line drawing and develop it inside of Photoshop so that you can later trace it in Illustrator. So what we will be doing is we will take this image and you may recall that it was a two-part process. I drew the skull first and then I scanned it in the Photoshop, made some modifications, printed the skull at a reduced size so that I could draw these sabers in the background in a second pass. Everything was rendered with a Sharpie, however. So we don't have as much contrast as I would like, and not only that, I want to make some modifications too.

This is the time to do it inside of Photoshop before you trace the line art inside of Illustrator. You can always make more modifications inside Illustrator if you want to, but you might, as well get things as close to right as possible inside of Photoshop now. I ultimately want to come up with this result here. Now you might look at this image once again here inside Photoshop and think well gosh, this looks just fine. Why do we need to take it into Illustrator at all? Well, recall that I drew this image on an 8.5x11 inch sheet of paper, and I want to print the flag 5 feet wide by 3 feet tall.

That's a huge increase in size. So if I were to go up to the Image menu, for example, and choose the Image Size command, and I turn off the Resample Image check box for a moment, so I can just dial in a different size without adding pixels, I will change this value to 60 inches, let's say, which is 5 feet wide and that reduces the resolution to 60 pixels per inch. Well that's just not enough resolution. So I am going to Cancel out of there. Photoshop allows you to up sample an image, but it's not going to do a good job of inventing pixels, especially, if the transitions between the existing pixels are a little soft in the first place.

So I have zoomed in to 100% here, and you can see these are typical Sharpie lines, that is the ink is bleeding into the paper a little bit and we have sort of these thick and gooey edges. I would rather these edges be absolutely razor-sharp, and that is a service that Illustrator affords me. That's what we get from vectors. All right, I am going to zoom back out of this illustration. We are going to start things off inside of this one. So I am going to develop this guy, and I am going to make a few different modifications. I'm going to adjust the angle of this handle so that it's not touching the jaw of the skeleton, and then, I'm going to basically finesse the structure of the skull using the Liquefy command, and then finally we'll go ahead and increase the contrast.

So I am going to zoom in on the handle of this saber, and I am going to go ahead and select it using my Lasso tool. Now one of the great things here is that because I output the skull from a printer and then I drew the handle using a Sharpie, I can see the distinction between those two areas. So I can just follow that. I can actually trace that edge using the Lasso. So I'm Alt+clicking or Option+ clicking along this edge in order to take advantage of the Polygonal Lasso function and I will just go ahead and cut through the first few millimeters of the blade there around the handle, and that's okay, because I can always rebuild those details in just a moment, and then I will go ahead and drag down to here and complete my selection, like so.

Now I am working on a Background layer, so what that means is as long as the background color is white, which it is in my case, I will leave some whiteness behind as I rotate this handle into a better position. So I am going to zoom out just so I can see the angle of the saber blade a little bit better, and then I'll go up to the Edit menu, and I will choose the Free Transform command. This one command is how you scale and rotate and otherwise transform selections and layers inside of Photoshop. You can also press Ctrl+T, that's Cmd+T on the Mac.

I am going to move this central target point to right about there, so that we are rotating along that edge of the blade, and now, I will move my cursor outside of the selection, and I will drag like so in order to apply that rotation and I want to rotate it as far as I can essentially, because I really want to get this edge away from the jaw, but I don't want to rotate it so far that it looks like the angle no longer matches the blade. So I think right about here looks pretty darn good actually, and I will just go ahead and press the Enter or the Return on the Mac in order to accept that modification.

Then I will click outside of the selection in order to deselect it. Now I have got to rebuild these details right here. I am going to do that just by selecting some areas and either pressing Ctrl+Backspace or Cmd+Delete on the Mac to fill that area with white, or I could draw around here, this areas that should be black, and I've got my foreground and background colors set to their defaults, which are black and white. You can assure that that's the way it is by pressing the D key as in Default. And then press Alt+Backspace or Option +Delete to fill that area with black.

Now you might look at that and say, well, that's not a good match Deke. We have got this jet black area that you just filled, and then out here we have this dark gray area. Well, the dark gray area will be black before we're done. We will increase the contrast of this image using Levels command, just not yet. It's better to get his other work done beforehand. I will go ahead and drag around this area and maybe I'll try to firm that up a little bit by Alt+dragging or Option+ dragging to deselect that region there, and I will fill that area with black as well by pressing Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete, and I'll go ahead and connect this area.

You might wonder why am l using the Lasso tool and filling by pressing Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete? Why don't I just grab Paintbrush tool and paint with it instead? Well, I just find, for this kind of work that the Lasso tool gives me greater control, because I can specify the size of the area that I want to fill before I go and apply the color. Anyway, now I have gone ahead and added the color that's necessary to fuse those areas together and that should work out okay. We have got some weird little edges going on there, but nothing that troubles me too much. Now then, I need to make some changes using Liquefy, and here's a little trick, and this is an old-school trick.

Basically the idea is as you develop a piece of artwork, as you're drawing it, you tend to become accustomed to it. You sort of fall in love with it. You grow to know the good things about it, but you don't necessarily see the defects. And a way to wake up the image, so that you're taking a new look at it, it's very simple technique. You go up to the Image menu, you choose Image Rotation, and you choose Flip Canvas horizontal, and what that does is it just forces you to take a new look at this image, because it doesn't really matter if it's flipped one direction or flipped the other direction, that doesn't change the basic composition of the image, but it does force you to reappraise it, and this is true for portrait shots as well.

It's a great thing to do if you're retouching a portrait. Just go and flip it horizontally, forces you to take a new view of that image, and then go ahead and modify the flipped version of the image. Now I am going to do that by going to the Filter menu and choosing the Liquefy command or pressing Ctrl+Shift+ X, Cmd+Shift+X on the Mac. We usually think of this command as being useful for adjusting portrait shots and models and that kind of thing. It's actually exceptionally well suited to modifying line art like this. So I will go ahead and choose the command.

And the first thing I noticed when I was working here inside of Liquefy is that the blade over your right-hand side is much thicker than the blade on the left-hand side. So I increased the size of my cursor quite a bit and I am doing that by pressing Shift along with the Right Bracket key, and then I grabbed this tool right there, the Bloat tool, and you don't want to just drag with this tool because you get that kind of horrible effect there. Instead what you do, I undid that by pressing Ctrl+Z, Cmd+Z on the Mac, you just kind of click every so often in order to basically bulge out certain areas at a time.

So you just click very gently on the blade, you have to be pretty deliberate about it. You do have to be patient as well in order to get the results you are looking for. I also went ahead and increased the size once again of my cursor and I used the traditional Warp tool up here in order to move some details around. So I decided this eye over here on the left-hand side was looking too small, vis-a-vis the one over on the right-hand side, and I wanted to draw out some of these cheek details as well, and I wanted to make the jaw a little taller like so, and I took it a little easier than this.

I actually probably painted inside of this dialog box for a good 15 minutes. I did go and ahead and save out my settings. I saved my mesh, which is always a good idea. Once you get some decent results out of this filter, you want to click on the Save Mesh button before you click OK, before you accept the results, and that's going to save you a lot of effort in the future. Anyway, I'm going to go ahead and load that mesh right now, the one that I saved in advance, and I called my mesh skeletal adjustments.msh. So I will go ahead and click on a saved mesh file and then I will click on the Open button in order to apply it and there is the final meshed version of the image.

So to give you a sense of what I did, I will press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z on the Mac. This is the before version, what we were looking at just a moment ago, and if I press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z again, that's the after version, thanks to my modifications here inside the Liquefy filter. I will go ahead and click OK in order to apply those changes. And then finally, I'll go back up to the Image menu, I will choose Image Rotation again and I will choose Flip Image Horizontal. And note that flipping is a nondestructive operation inside of Photoshop. So I will go ahead and choose the command in order to reinstate the skeleton looking to the right.

We still have yet to increase the contrast of the image, and we need to add the red background, and those are changes that we will make in the next exercise.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced .

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Q: The instructions for installing the dekeKeys don't work on my computer (which is running Mac OS X Lion). Is there an update to these?
A: The dekeKeys distributed with this course will still work for Lion. You just need to add them to a slightly different folder than in previous versions of OS X.

Open a new Finder window and choose Go > Go to Folder. Type the following file path exactly as written below. Copying and pasting may result in an error.

~/Library/Preferences/Adobe Illustrator CS5 Settings/en_US

Move and/or copy/paste the dekeKeys to this folder and follow the rest of the instructions as outlined in the video, "Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts."
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