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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.
I've restored the original version of Hand-drawn characters.ai and it contains a multicolor image that I created inside of Photoshop. Now in the previous exercise I showed you how you can go ahead and trace that image by clicking on the Live Trace button. Basically, you just cross your fingers and hope for the best. After tracing the image you have access to a few options up here in the Control panel. If you want more control over your traced artwork then you go over to this little dialog box icon, click on it, and then you have a variety of additional settings that you can apply. After modifying the settings you click on the Trace button.
Now we will come back to how these settings work in a future exercise. For now I am just going to cancel out, because there is a few other ways to approach tracing inside of Illustrator. I will go ahead and press Ctrl+Z, Cmd+Z on the Mac, so I reinstate my original untraced image. Another thing you can do, if you want to bring up the dialog box right off the bat, you can click on this down pointing arrowhead right next to Live Trace button and choose Tracing Options. That way you can specify exactly what tracing settings you want to apply. For example, you could say, no, I don't want to trace with black-and-white, I want to trace my image in color.
Let's say I want to trace 12 colors, just to start things off and then I will click on the Preview button in order to see what I've done. It might take a few moments to apply the preview, but eventually you'll see what your traced artwork is going to look like and then you click on Trace. All right I am going to cancel out. That's another way to work, but I want to reinstate my original image here. You can also click this down pointing arrowhead and choose a preset. For example, Comic Art is ideally suited to this artwork here, because it will not only trace the letters in black-and- white as opposed to color, but it will also trace them with a Threshold setting of 200.
That exact same Threshold setting that we applied in the previous exercise and that way it will keep all of the text and drop out all of the background. As you can see as soon as I choose Comic Art all lines of type are intact. So again that's an ideal setting assuming that we don't want to retain the color inside of the illustration. I will press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+ Z again to reinstate that image. Another way to work is to press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and click on the Live Trace button. If you do that, then it will go ahead and trace all of your artwork using static path outlines.
So notice, if I twirl-open the image layer that I no longer have that image available to me anymore. I don't have a Live Trace object either, instead I've got this group of path outlines. Notice that I went ahead and lost that one line of type. Well, what if you want to go directly to path outlines like this? It's unlikely that you do, let's say you want to go direct to path outlines and you want to work with a higher Threshold setting so that you retain that one line of type there. Well, I will press Ctrl+Z, Cmd+Z on the Mac to once again undo the Live Trace feature and I will press-and- hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, click the down pointing arrowhead and choose Comic Art.
And that way, I will automatically apply the Comic Art settings and create static path outlines, all at once, as you see me doing right here. So this way I end up preserving each and every line of type. So a few different ways to work here when you're applying the Live Trace feature. In the next exercise I am going to show you how to compare the Live Trace vectors to the original pixel-based image, so you can gauge the accuracy of your results.
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