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Threshold, Min Area, and Max Colors

From: Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Threshold, Min Area, and Max Colors

I've saved my changes as Comic Art characters.ai. In this exercise I'm going to review the three numerical options that might appear up here in the Control panel, and they include Threshold, we've already seen a preview of that one. Threshold is applicable just to black- and-white tracings and nothing more. Then we have Min Area, which determines the minimum area that Illustrator will trace. And if you're tracing an image in color, then instead of Threshold you'll see Max Colors. All right! So let's start things off by selecting the traced object, which I have, and adjusting the Threshold option.

Threshold, Min Area, and Max Colors

I've saved my changes as Comic Art characters.ai. In this exercise I'm going to review the three numerical options that might appear up here in the Control panel, and they include Threshold, we've already seen a preview of that one. Threshold is applicable just to black- and-white tracings and nothing more. Then we have Min Area, which determines the minimum area that Illustrator will trace. And if you're tracing an image in color, then instead of Threshold you'll see Max Colors. All right! So let's start things off by selecting the traced object, which I have, and adjusting the Threshold option.

The lowest Threshold value you can assign is 1, and if you assign a Threshold value of 1, and you just have to remember that 0 is black and 255 is white, then you're saying, just those portions of the original image that are less than that Threshold value, that are absolutely black, will get traced, nothing else will get traced. Whereas, if you raise this value to its maximum, 255, then you say, trace absolutely everything, and by the way, you have to change the value and then press the Tab or Enter or Return key in order to apply your setting to the traced artwork.

Now, notice in this case that I'm saying trace absolutely everything that's not white, in which case I trace all of the letters and I also trace that yellow area down there at the bottom of the image. I also thicken up all the letters. So notice how much thicker all the letters are at Threshold value of 255 than they are at say 100. If I go ahead and change that value to a 100 and press the Tab key, not only do I lose the orange line of type, but all of my other text becomes thinner as well. So what I want to do is I want to set this Threshold value to the absolute maximum I can without revealing yellow, which turns out to be, I just figured this out through trial and error, turns out to be 222.

And then I'll press the Tab key, and that thickens up the letters as much as possible, leaves the yellow out in the background. Notice if I were to click inside that value and press the Up Arrow key and then press the Tab key, then I get yellow back. So I go ahead and trace that yellow area at a Threshold of 223. Anyway, that's why I want 222. Then we have this Min Area value, that when I'm working with the Comic Art preset, which I was, then the Min Area is set to 4 pixels; that's saying that any little spec in the artwork that takes up 4 pixels or more will get traced.

If you have a lot of dust in your original image, if you scanned it and brought it directly over into Illustrator without modifying the image in Photoshop, which is a rotten idea by the way, you should go ahead and clean up the image inside Photoshop first, and I'll show you what I mean by that in a later exercise. But I actually drew this particular image inside of Photoshop, so it doesn't have any dust particles, it doesn't have any noise. But if you're trying to watch out for the noise, you can raise that Min Area value, as high as 3000. I'm going to go ahead and take it to 1000 pixels and then press the Tab key, and you can see that that rules out all kinds of letters that don't take up 1000 pixels inside of my original image.

Where this image is concerned, I think I'm better off setting the Min Area value to about 2 pixels. So very tiny indeed, and that way I preserve all the little holes inside of the various letters. Now let's say I'd prefer to go ahead and trace this image in color, why then I'd change my Preset to one of the Color Presets such as, let's go ahead and switch it to Color 6 for now, and then I could go ahead and change that Min Area value back to 2 pixels again, if I want to. Notice that Threshold has been replaced with Max Colors, and right now it's set to 6, because that's what I chose, I chose to trace with 6 colors.

But I could lower this value to 3. And by the way, you have to include black -and-white when you're working this way. I'll show you how to rule out white in a later exercise, but right now we've got to include black-and-white, and then 3 would say one other color. So 1 for black, 2 for white, 3 for, let's check it out. I'll go ahead and press the Return key or the Enter key here in the PC, in order to change that Max Colors value to 3, and the third color becomes yellow, because that's the most plentiful sort of compromise color inside of the image.

Now I am going to go ahead and zoom in so that we can see our artwork more closely. And notice how weird the line just above the orange line appears here. I'm not sure what color that line was originally. Let's go ahead and switch that smooth pyramid options to Outlines, and I'll change the jagged pyramid to Original Image, and that's the green text. So the green text gets converted to black with some yellow around it, which is a little bit weird. So let's see how to fix that. I'll change the smooth pyramid back to Tracing Result, so that we can see the Tracing Result.

Notice I didn't bother to change the jagged pyramid back to No Image, because the Original Image is currently being covered up by the vector preview, so that's fine. We end up seeing the vector preview by itself that way. Now I'm going to increase the Min Area value from 2 to let's try 20, and I'll press the Tab key in order to apply that value, and we get much smoother results when we're tracing in color. So that's how those values work. Just remember that you have access up here in the Control panel to Threshold, when you're tracing a black and white image, or Max Colors, when you're tracing in color.

You also have Min Area, whether you're tracing black and white or color images. In the next exercise, I will begin to tour you through the many additional settings that are available to you inside the Tracing Options dialog box.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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

153 video lessons · 28086 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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