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Overview of image tracing

From: Illustrator CS6 New Features

Video: Overview of image tracing

We've come to my favorite new Illustrator feature, the revamped Image Trace. You may laugh it off, thinking that Illustrator has had tracing capabilities for quite some time now, and well, technically, you're correct. Illustrator has been able to trace bitmap artwork and convert it to vector format for quite a while. But in previous incarnations of this feature, I found it difficult to get the results I was looking for. But in CS6, the Image Trace is both faster, and in my experience, more accurate as well. Image Trace is actually replacing the live trace feature in Illustrator CS6 and it works very differently.

Overview of image tracing

We've come to my favorite new Illustrator feature, the revamped Image Trace. You may laugh it off, thinking that Illustrator has had tracing capabilities for quite some time now, and well, technically, you're correct. Illustrator has been able to trace bitmap artwork and convert it to vector format for quite a while. But in previous incarnations of this feature, I found it difficult to get the results I was looking for. But in CS6, the Image Trace is both faster, and in my experience, more accurate as well. Image Trace is actually replacing the live trace feature in Illustrator CS6 and it works very differently.

As a matter of fact, it's an entirely new tool altogether. The main benefits of the Image Trace are cleaner paths, speed enhancements and in my experience, better color recognition, which is huge for us designers. For those of you who aren't familiar with tracing, let me break down exactly what I'm talking about. Let's say that you're working on a project for a client, and the client brings you a hand-drawn sketch of some artwork that they like for you to create. They want their artwork to match the sketch exactly. Well, it's your job to re-create that artwork in a usable vector format.

So your options are, A; draw it by hand in Illustrator and get as close as you can, or B; utilize the Trace feature and allow Illustrator to do the heavy lifting for you. Check out these examples of some artwork that I've been working on. Here you can see a photograph that I've instantly turned into a poster. I've also got another photograph that I've changed into a photographic representation. However, this is vector artwork. And finally, I have these flowers over here which were scanned in. They're all hand-drawn, and over on the right, a complete vector representation of those as well.

I'll cover exactly how to do this in another movie, but watch just how easy it is to convert a scanned piece of artwork into a vector object using this tool. I'll jump over here to this document and select this. It's just a JPEG that's been embedded into the file. If I click Image Trace, I now have a scalable vector object that I can use throughout any other projects for my client.

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Illustrator CS6 New Features

23 video lessons · 19045 viewers

Justin Seeley
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