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Tracing an image manually

From: Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics

Video: Tracing an image manually

Live Trace is a great feature inside of Illustrator but it's not prefect for every task. For example, Live Trace excels at stylizing photographic content. But if you are trying to turn a low- resolution image, maybe that of a graphic or a logo for example, you may find it easier to just redraw the artwork from scratch by yourself. So I would like to share a few pointers in how to get that process started. I'll start by creating a print document, I'll click OK, just take the regular settings here and I'll choose File > Place and I'll place the image that I want to work with here on my artboard. I'll choose here this logo.gif file. It can be linked or embedded, well this doesn't make a difference here in this case, I'm just using it as a base in my artwork and I'll click on the Place button here.

Tracing an image manually

Live Trace is a great feature inside of Illustrator but it's not prefect for every task. For example, Live Trace excels at stylizing photographic content. But if you are trying to turn a low- resolution image, maybe that of a graphic or a logo for example, you may find it easier to just redraw the artwork from scratch by yourself. So I would like to share a few pointers in how to get that process started. I'll start by creating a print document, I'll click OK, just take the regular settings here and I'll choose File > Place and I'll place the image that I want to work with here on my artboard. I'll choose here this logo.gif file. It can be linked or embedded, well this doesn't make a difference here in this case, I'm just using it as a base in my artwork and I'll click on the Place button here.

Let me zoom in a little bit close over here, so you can see what we are dealing with and I'll go over here to my Layers panel and I'll double-click on Layer 1. Now let us do the setting here called Template. Template basically allows me to automatically lock my particular layer and you will see that it also dims images to 50%. I'm actually going to change that here to 30%. I want my image to be just a little bit lighter in the background, so it doesn't get in the way of the artwork that I'm going to create. Next, I'll click OK and you can see that right now, the image is here for me to look at but I can't touch it or select it in anyway. Next, I'll come to my Layers panel and I'll create a brand new layer on top of that Layer 1. Here is where I'll create the new artwork. Doing things in this way really lets me be precise, I can draw the exact objects that I need rather than worry about having Live Trace interpret that artwork for me.

For example, I see here that the logo is round. While in Illustrator I can use a very primitive tool, the Ellipse tool to create a perfect circle. So I'll choose my Ellipse tool right here inside of Illustrator, I'll position my cursor right here in the middle, I'll hold down the Option key to draw it from the center, the Shift key to constrain through a circle and I'll draw my circle here. I'll change the fill Setting to None, so that I can see the artwork that exists inside of it. And I'll change its stroke weight to about 2 point. In this way, I'm drawing my new artwork but I'm using the image that's behind it as a basis for that. Now by taking a quick look over here at the letters lynda.com, I can see that the typeface used is Avant Garde. So I'll take my Type tool here and I'll start typing the actual letters themselves. I'll select the text and then I'll switch that typeface to Avant Garde.

I will make this typeface just little bit bigger using the keyboard shortcuts, Command+Shift+> or Command+Shift+<, to reduce the point size. I also see that the letters, lynda itself here, is set in a bold weight. So I'll again use my Type tool here to just select the actual letters that I want to change and I'll change it to maybe Demi and I'll position this text right on top of it. Since I'm not exactly sure what size it should be, by positioning in this way I can make my typeface just a little bit smaller and maybe also open up the kerning just a little bit. And I'm using the Option key and the Right Arrow to do that. If you are on a PC that will be the Alt key and the Right Arrow.

And again, you can click in certain areas and just adjust the kerning as I need to, to get it just the way that I need it to be. In general, when I'm working with logo type, once I know that I have my character set the way that I need them, I'll convert them to outlines. In this way, if I ever need to send this logo out to somebody else, I don't need to worry about them not having the right font. I will go to the Type menu here and I'll just choose over here Create Outlines. You will also notice that the registered trademark symbol that need to go here. Again, I could that very easily by using my Type tool. And if I'm not really sure where the registered trademark symbol is, I can go to the Type menu choose to open the Glyphs panel. In doing so, I could actually see every single character in this typeface. So I'll use the scrollbar here to kind of go down the list, until I find that particular character, it's right over here, I'll double-click on it and you will see that it automatically appears where my cursor was, on my artboard.

I will close the Glyphs panel, because I'm done using it and I'll take this typeface. Right now, it's set to Demi but I'll reduce it back to maybe the Book weight and I'll also scale it down in size, just the way that I need it, and position it just where it has to go. And I'll basically continue on this process until I redraw the logo exactly the way that I need it. In this case here, for this artwork here, I'm going to have to use the Pen tool because there is no way to create this type of customized artwork otherwise. However, instead of worrying about trying to get it straight, keep in mind the Live Paint feature, which will allow you to draw in a more intuitive fashion.

If you are not already familiar with the Live Paint tool, check out the chapter called the Joy of Live Paints down elsewhere in this title. What's great about working in this way is that at anytime you can go over to your Layers panel and simply click on the Preview button here to see what the artwork looks like without the image behind it. Once you have created your logo, simply take this entire layer, drag it to the trash and save your file.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics
Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics

137 video lessons · 29275 viewers

Mordy Golding
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 4s
    1. Welcome
      1m 41s
    2. Using the exercise files
      23s
  2. 33m 20s
    1. Introducing Live Paint
      38s
    2. Drawing in Illustrator
      4m 21s
    3. Creating a Live Paint group
      2m 54s
    4. Using the Live Paint Bucket tool
      3m 17s
    5. Using Live Paint with open paths
      2m 29s
    6. Detecting gaps in Live Paint groups
      4m 17s
    7. Adding paths to a Live Paint group
      3m 41s
    8. Using the Live Paint Selection tool
      5m 44s
    9. Releasing and expanding Live Paint groups
      2m 55s
    10. Understanding how Live Paint groups work
      3m 4s
  3. 49m 36s
    1. Introducing the trace options
      39s
    2. Setting expectations: Live Trace
      2m 26s
    3. Using the Live Trace feature
      1m 51s
    4. Understanding how Live Trace works
      5m 41s
    5. Making raster-based adjustments
      5m 52s
    6. Tracing with fills, strokes, or both
      2m 55s
    7. Making vector-based adjustments
      6m 12s
    8. Adjusting colors in Live Trace
      4m 39s
    9. Using Photoshop with Live Trace
      5m 22s
    10. Releasing and expanding Live Trace artwork
      2m 58s
    11. Saving and exporting Live Trace presets
      2m 36s
    12. Tracing in Batch mode with Adobe Bridge
      1m 35s
    13. Turning an image into mosaic tiles
      2m 28s
    14. Tracing an image manually
      4m 22s
  4. 1h 24m
    1. Introducing 3D
      33s
    2. Setting expectations: 3D in Illustrator
      2m 53s
    3. How fills and strokes affect 3D artwork
      4m 43s
    4. Applying the 3D Extrude & Bevel effect
      6m 25s
    5. Applying a bevel
      5m 40s
    6. Showing the hidden faces of a 3D object
      4m 49s
    7. Applying the 3D Revolve effect
      5m 22s
    8. Visualizing the revolve axis
      3m 5s
    9. Applying the 3D Rotate effect
      1m 35s
    10. Adjusting surface settings
      9m 33s
    11. Understanding the importance of 3D and groups
      3m 24s
    12. Preparing art for mapping
      10m 19s
    13. Mapping artwork to a 3D surface
      14m 21s
    14. Hiding geometry with 3D artwork mapping
      4m 0s
    15. Extending the use of 3D in Illustrator
      8m 7s
  5. 44m 37s
    1. Introducing transformations and effects
      32s
    2. Using the Transform panel
      12m 37s
    3. Repeating transformations
      5m 23s
    4. Using the Transform Each function
      3m 48s
    5. Using the Convert to Shape effects
      5m 49s
    6. Using the Distort & Transform effects
      5m 12s
    7. Using the Path effects
      6m 58s
    8. Using the Pathfinder effects
      4m 18s
  6. 28m 23s
    1. Introducing graphic styles
      33s
    2. Applying graphic styles
      10m 8s
    3. Defining graphic styles
      8m 46s
    4. Previewing graphic styles
      2m 10s
    5. Modifying graphic styles
      3m 30s
    6. Understanding graphic styles for text
      3m 16s
  7. 22m 49s
    1. Introducing advanced masking techniques
      32s
    2. Understanding clipping masks
      7m 15s
    3. Using layer clipping masks
      6m 30s
    4. Creating opacity masks
      8m 32s
  8. 1h 6m
    1. Introducing color
      40s
    2. Considering three types of color swatches
      7m 7s
    3. Managing color groups
      2m 58s
    4. Understanding the HSB color wheel
      3m 57s
    5. Understanding color harmonies
      2m 57s
    6. Using the color guide
      3m 54s
    7. Limiting the color guide
      3m 17s
    8. Modifying color with the Recolor Artwork feature
      6m 25s
    9. Using the Edit tab to adjust color
      5m 44s
    10. Using the Assign tab to replace colors
      8m 37s
    11. Making global color adjustments
      2m 17s
    12. Using Recolor options
      7m 3s
    13. Converting artwork to grayscale
      3m 23s
    14. Simulating artwork on different devices
      3m 18s
    15. Accessing Kuler directly from Illustrator
      2m 7s
    16. Ensuring high contrast for color-blind people
      2m 42s
  9. 53m 19s
    1. Introducing transparency
      40s
    2. Understanding transparency flattening
      2m 31s
    3. Exercising the two rules of transparency flattening
      10m 53s
    4. Understanding complex regions in transparency flattening
      4m 50s
    5. Exploring the transparency flattener settings
      8m 37s
    6. Using transparency flattening and object stacking order
      6m 39s
    7. Using the Flattener Preview panel
      6m 31s
    8. Creating and sharing Transparency Flattener presets
      2m 25s
    9. Working within an EPS workflow
      5m 3s
    10. Understanding the Illustrator and InDesign workflow
      5m 10s
  10. 50m 1s
    1. Introducing prepress and output
      23s
    2. Understanding resolutions
      8m 27s
    3. Discovering RGB and CMYK "gotchas"
      5m 42s
    4. Using Overprints and Overprint Preview
      7m 43s
    5. Understanding "book color" and proofing spot colors
      8m 1s
    6. Collecting vital information with Document Info
      2m 28s
    7. Previewing color separations onscreen
      1m 12s
    8. Making 3D artwork look good
      2m 16s
    9. Seeing white lines and knowing what to do about them
      2m 41s
    10. Creating "bulletproof" press-ready PDF files
      3m 45s
    11. Protecting content with secure PDFs
      2m 48s
    12. Using PDF presets
      2m 47s
    13. Moving forward: The Adobe PDF Print Engine
      1m 48s
  11. 35m 43s
    1. Introducing distortions
      27s
    2. Using the Warp effect
      4m 20s
    3. The Warp effect vs. envelope distortion
      3m 48s
    4. Applying the Make with Warp envelope distortion
      2m 45s
    5. Applying the Make with Mesh envelope distortion
      2m 41s
    6. Applying the Make with Top Object envelope distortion
      3m 45s
    7. Editing envelopes
      5m 0s
    8. Adjusting envelope settings
      4m 2s
    9. Releasing and expanding envelope distortions
      1m 44s
    10. Applying envelope distortions to text
      1m 27s
    11. Using the liquify distortion tools
      3m 5s
    12. Customizing the liquify tools
      2m 39s
  12. 28m 56s
    1. Introducing blends
      32s
    2. Blending two objects
      6m 18s
    3. Adjusting blend options
      5m 47s
    4. Blending anchor points
      5m 36s
    5. Blending three or more objects
      2m 9s
    6. Replacing the spine of a blend
      4m 32s
    7. Reversing the direction of a blend
      2m 15s
    8. Releasing and expanding a blend
      1m 47s
  13. 46m 54s
    1. Introducing charts and graphs
      35s
    2. Setting expectations: Graphs in Illustrator
      3m 19s
    3. Creating a chart
      8m 2s
    4. Importing data
      3m 34s
    5. Formatting data
      5m 1s
    6. Customizing a chart
      10m 21s
    7. Combining chart types
      2m 40s
    8. Creating graph designs
      6m 0s
    9. Styling and updating graphs
      5m 33s
    10. Ungrouping graphs
      1m 49s
  14. 26m 36s
    1. Introducing Gradient Mesh
      23s
    2. Understanding the Gradient Mesh feature
      9m 34s
    3. Using Gradient Mesh to add contoured shading
      6m 14s
    4. Using Gradient Mesh to create photorealistic effects
      10m 25s
  15. 8m 18s
    1. Introducing flare effects
      25s
    2. Drawing a lens flare
      3m 28s
    3. Modifying a lens flare
      1m 27s
    4. Using a mask with lens flares
      2m 58s
  16. 29s
    1. Goodbye
      29s

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