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Raster and vector previews

From: Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Raster and vector previews

In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to compare the so-called raster and vector previews, so that you can gauge the accuracy of what the Live Trace feature has come up with. So I've gone ahead and once again restored the original version of Hand-drawn characters.ai. I've selected the image, and I'm going to click on this down-pointing arrowhead, next to the Live Trace button up here in the Control panel, and I'll choose Comic Art once again in order to apply the Comic Art setting. That will go ahead and trace all of my letters using black and white, and it will keep that one orange line of text so that we don't lose it. All right! What I want to do now is zoom in on some of the characters, such as the D and E, let's say.

Raster and vector previews

In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to compare the so-called raster and vector previews, so that you can gauge the accuracy of what the Live Trace feature has come up with. So I've gone ahead and once again restored the original version of Hand-drawn characters.ai. I've selected the image, and I'm going to click on this down-pointing arrowhead, next to the Live Trace button up here in the Control panel, and I'll choose Comic Art once again in order to apply the Comic Art setting. That will go ahead and trace all of my letters using black and white, and it will keep that one orange line of text so that we don't lose it. All right! What I want to do now is zoom in on some of the characters, such as the D and E, let's say.

So I'll Ctrl+Spacebar+Drag, Cmd+ Spacebar+Drag around those characters to zoom in on them, and might even zoom in a little further, because I'm really wondering why Illustrator has come up with some of these path outlines. Why does the D wrap around like this and then do this little sort of loop on the bottom of the Serif, and where has this little dig come from? And then, when we're looking at the E, notice it kind of flops back and forth, it has this curious sort of bow on the left-hand side and then it has got this notch cut out of it as well.

Well, what I can do is I can press Ctrl +Z or Cmd+Z on the Mac in order to undo the tracing and take a look at my original pixel-based letters, and I can see, sure enough, there is this bump over here on the left-side of the E, but there is no hitch down here at the bottom. And this looks nice and smooth on the underside of the D, so I don't know what's going on there, and there really isn't that kind of wave going on underneath the Serif. So what gives? Well, if you really want to get a sense of what's going on and why Illustrator has made the determinations it has made, you need to compare the pixels side-by-side with the Vector Art.

And here is what you do. I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Shift+Z or Cmd+Shift+Z in order to reinstate the Live Trace that I applied a moment ago. And notice these two pyramids right here in the Control panel, this smooth pyramid represents the vector preview, and the jagged pyramid represents the raster image; that is the pixel-based image. So the first thing you do, so that you can see through the vectors, you go ahead and click on the smooth pyramid, the white one, and you change it to Outlines, so that you can see through those outlines. You can also choose Outlines with Tracing by the way, which is going to dim out the Tracing Result and show your outlines then, your path outlines in cyan, but I just want to see the path outlines and nothing more, so I'll switch to Outlines, like so.

Now, initially that's going to give us a very poor preview, because we're seeing cyan against white, it's hard to tell what's going on. That's why we're now going to bring back our original raster art, that is the pixel-based artwork, by clicking on the jagged black pyramid and switching this option to Original Image. So once I've done that I can see the vector-based outline is tracing on top of the pixel-based image, which is pretty illuminating. Now, it's a little hard to see some of those divots this time around, but they are still there. We've got the divot on the underside of the E, which really doesn't make any sense, because it's nice and smooth there, and then we've got this jag on the underside of the D as well, and this kind of wave, and all this other stuff going on here. What gives? Well, what we're doing here is we're tracing black-and-white artwork, and that might make you think, okay, so Illustrator is delivering to me black-and-white vectors, which is true, but it's doing one thing more.

It's converting the image itself to black-and-white before it traces it, and that's a very important step to bear in mind. So anytime you're choosing the number of colors, you're telling Illustrator to go ahead and reduce the image to that number of colors and then trace it. And you can see what that looks like by going up to the jagged pyramid once again and choosing Adjusted Image. Adjusted Image is the one that's really getting traced. And as soon as you choose that, you'll see that we have this very jagged image that Illustrator is trying to work with, and that's why we have this divot on the underside of the E, because we have a big jag right there at that location.

We have this tiny little jag up here on the underside of the D as well, on the upper-left corner. Now, you may wonder why it's doing that, given that it manages to smooth out this transition, and there's all sorts of jaggies going on here. However, it does explain what's going on. It even better explains what happens when you trace this image in color. So I'm going to go ahead and switch back to No Image right here, and also, I'll switch this guy, the smooth pyramid, to Tracing Result, so that we can see the traced artwork.

And this whole time, by the way, the tracing is actually selected. So if I go over to the layers panel and twirl open Image, you can see that the Tracing object is active, it's meatballed. I just want you to notice that, that's why this artwork keeps updating for us. I'll go ahead and switch the preset from Comic Art to Color 16, and notice that, that takes a few moments to apply, so we'll see a Progress bar go by. And we end up getting very different results than I would have expected, and it's even weirder when I zoom out. I'll go ahead and zoom out quite a bit here so that we can take in more of the illustration, and notice that all of the letters are surrounded by these kind of gray outlines, and then something like the 8 right there, I'll go ahead and zoom in on it.

Notice that it has multiple outlines right there. So Illustrator has gone ahead and created several path outlines around the 8. Why in the world has it done that? I don't want that. I just want one 8, not a bunch of them. Well, let's go ahead and see what Illustrator had to work with. Once again, I'll switch the smooth pyramid to Outlines, and then I'll switch the jagged pyramid to not Original Image, which will go ahead and show us what we thought we were tracing. Notice that the 8 has these nice soft edges around it. This is known as Anti-Aliasing by the way, and this goes ahead and smoothes out the transitions between the colored portion of the 8, the interior of the 8, and the exterior, the yellow area, in the background.

However, Illustrator is going ahead and reducing the number of colors to 16 colors in this case before it applies the tracing, and as a result we get this adjusted image right here, which is a dark 8 inside of a lighter 8, inside of an even lighter 8, every one of which Illustrator traces independently. So you might be getting a sense now then that you don't necessarily want to trace a piece of artwork in color and that would be exactly right, this artwork, for example, we're better off tracing in black-and-white, and if we want to keep those colors, then we can apply them after the fact.

So I'm going to go ahead and change my preset from Color 16 back to Comic Art so that we get the black-and-white result. And you can see it happens much more quickly as a result. It takes Illustrator way less time to trace two colors than 16 colors. And now let's go ahead and switch our artwork back, so that we can see the traced version of the illustration. I'll click on the jagged pyramid and choose No Image, and I'll click on the smooth pyramid and change it to Tracing Result, and there is the traced version of the illustration, for better or for worse.

Now, that doesn't mean you have to accept the results, Illustrator provides all sorts of options for refining your traced artwork, and I'll show you those options over the course of the next exercises.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced
Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

153 video lessons · 28510 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  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
      39s
    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
      44s
    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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