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Illustrator CS5 Essential Training
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Making Live Trace adjustments


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Illustrator CS5 Essential Training

with Mordy Golding

Video: Making Live Trace adjustments

One of the most powerful aspects of the Live Trace feature inside of Illustrator is its ability to make adjustments to the trace so that we get the perfect results. After all, we know that we can apply presets to images inside of Illustrator for the Live Trace. But those presets may not give us the exact results we're looking for. So let's see how to really modify a trace to get just the right settings. I'll start with a blank document. And I'll go to the File menu. I'll choose Place. And I'll place this image here called glories.psd as a Linked image into my document.
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  1. 3m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 18s
    2. What is Illustrator CS5?
      1m 46s
    3. Using the exercise files
      31s
  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 5s
    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 28s
    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. 26m 2s
    1. Defining a perspective grid
      7m 48s
    2. Drawing artwork in perspective
      8m 46s
    3. Moving flat art onto the perspective grid
      9m 28s
  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
      55s
  21. 2m 18s
    1. Additional Illustrator learning resources
      1m 36s
    2. Goodbye
      42s

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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
Subject:
Design
Software:
Illustrator
Author:
Mordy Golding

Making Live Trace adjustments

One of the most powerful aspects of the Live Trace feature inside of Illustrator is its ability to make adjustments to the trace so that we get the perfect results. After all, we know that we can apply presets to images inside of Illustrator for the Live Trace. But those presets may not give us the exact results we're looking for. So let's see how to really modify a trace to get just the right settings. I'll start with a blank document. And I'll go to the File menu. I'll choose Place. And I'll place this image here called glories.psd as a Linked image into my document.

Next, I'm going to go ahead and apply the Colors 6 preset, because that's where I want to start from here as I start to make adjustments. Now I'll move the image down just a little bit in my screen because with the image selected, I'll now see that there's an icon in the Control panel called Tracing Options dialog. And if I click on that, this brings up all the settings that I could use with Live Trace. Now we've already discussed that Illustrator really goes through a two-step process before it actually performs the trace.

It first conditions, or adjusts the image itself, and then after it finishes doing that, it then performs the trace, which gives it better results. As we can see here inside of the Tracing Options dialog box, there are two main sections here: one called Adjustments and one called Trace Settings. In your mind, you could think of this Adjustments box as Photoshop. Anything that you apply in this section of the dialog box happens to the image while it's still in raster form before the Trace is performed.

Everything on the Trace Settings area controls how Illustrator actually creates the vectors in the trace. Now first of all, let's take a look on the far-right of the image here where it shows me the number of Paths, the number of Anchor points, the number of Colors being used, how many Areas are created and the Resolution of the image as well. These values will update as I make changes to these settings here. Now we see here in the list of all of our Presets, I chose the Color 6 Preset, but of course, all the Preset is is a whole bunch of these settings that have been saved.

Note that at anytime when you're working inside of Illustrator, if you create some custom tracing options for an image, you can always choose to save that as a preset on your own and easily apply that preset to other images. You can also click on the Preview button to see the trace update as you make changes. So let's take a quick look at some of these settings. As we've discussed, Illustrator can convert images using Black and White, Grayscale or Color. If I choose the Black and White option, then the Threshold option does become available.

Now right now the palette, or the colors that Illustrator is using, inside of the Live Trace is set to Automatic. I chose the Color 6 option here, and I have a maximum number of six colors. So Illustrator is going to automatically find six different colors inside of that image that are most prominent, and it will use those colors inside of the Trace. If I want more detail, I can increase the number of colors, or I can reduce them to have less detail in my trace. But later on in this chapter, we can learn that we can actually use customized palettes of colors and load them into the Trace Options dialog box so that we have Illustrator perform Live Trace settings with our colors.

But for now, let's move on to some of these other settings. I have the ability to Output to Swatches the colors that Illustrator is using, in this case, these six colors. And then there are two things here that I can actually do to the image itself. First of all, I can apply a Gaussian Blur to the image. Now certain images are very grainy or they have a tremendous amount of detail, which can start to trip up Live Trace. By adding a little bit of a blur to my image before illustrator does the Trace, I can smooth out that grain or that extra detail so I get a nice, clean and sharp trace.

Finally, if I have a high-resolution image, like 300 pixels per inch, Illustrator needs a lot more time to analyze that document. In fact, I found that I get better traces with low-resolution images than I do with high-resolution images. Apparently, when Illustrator has fewer pixels to look at, it does a much better job at smoothing things out and giving me great results. So if you have a high-resolution image, instead of waiting a really long time for that trace to work, you can resample the image to a lower resolution in just this case here.

Now when it comes to performing the actual Trace, Illustrator gives me the ability to choose whether or not it creates Filled objects or also objects with Strokes. If I use the Stroke setting, I can choose a Maximum Stroke Weight and Minimum Stroke Length, but by far here, the most important settings are Path Fitting, meaning how close Illustrator's paths match the actual pixels themselves. Usually a lower value here will increase the number of Anchor points and Paths in my trace, while a higher number will decrease the number of Paths and Anchor points in my trace.

And the Minimum Area setting allows me to define the size of the region that Live Trace will ignore. For example, right now my Minimum Area is set to 10 pixels. That means that any area of color that takes up less than 10 pixels in the image will simply be ignored. So you can see over here in the Trace itself, there was a lot of detail on these leaves and in these areas here, but they show up as the solid piece of color because all those areas of detail are smaller than 10 pixels in size. If I were to start increasing the Minimum Area size, I would start to see some of that detail coming back in.

The Corner Angle basically allows me to determine at what point Smooth and Corner Anchor Points are created. For the most part, I leave that setting right as it is at 20. Now, there's also an option here called Ignore White, where if you have areas in your image that are white, it will actually turn that to none, instead of white so you can see through them. As I've said before, once you get all of your settings here done, you can click on the Save Preset button to save that so you can easily apply it other images.

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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