Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
One of the most common objects that you will be tracing inside of Illustrator is line art. This could be something that somebody sketched on a cocktail napkin, somebody drew inside of Photoshop, or somebody painted; doesn't matter. Something somebody drew by hand, or created in an another program, like AutoCAD, or something like that, that's comprised of lines. And in this movie, I am going to show you my method for tracing that type of artwork here inside of Illustrator. The first thing I am going to do is create a new blank document. I will do that by Command+N or Control+N on my keyboard. Then I will make sure that I am working in a Horizontal orientation; doesn't matter the size. In this case, it's 8.5 by 11 in a Horizontal orientation, but then I will just hit OK.
Once I do that, I am then going to place a file here. So I'm going to go to File, I will go to Place, and I am going to choose car_sketch. This is inside of your Chapter 12 images folder, and I will hit Place. Once that is placed in, you are going to see, this is just a hand-drawn sketch of a car, almost like a concept drawing. But let's say that I needed this in some sort of vector format; it needed to be scaled up, and this happened to be a low-res JPEG, or something. So I needed to print this on a huge banner for a car show.
Illustrator can help me get there by tracing it, using image trace. This is not, howeve,r going to be a one-click solution; you are going to have to do some work. I am going to first bring up the Image Trace panel by going to Window, and then going down and finding Image Trace. Once I have Image Trace opened, I'm going to make sure that the Advanced options are already expanded down, because I know I'm going to have to use those. I'm also going to turn on the Preview, and once I turn on Preview, it's going to automatically trace it with the default setting.
And the default setting is ugly, so I need to go in and change this pronto. Let's go up to the presets, and see what we can work with. So I don't want High Fidelity Photo necessarily, although this would give me a very good representation of the sketch. I might try something like 3, or 6, or even 16 Colors, or I could try Sketched Art or Line Art, or even Technical Drawing. Let's start off by checking out Sketched Art. When I choose Sketched Art, you are going to see that it brings back a little bit of the detail of the sketch.
However, it's still in a black and white mode, and therefore, it's not giving me any of those shades of gray. So let's go back, and let's choose Line Art. When I choose Line Art, it's horrific, and this is because it doesn't pick up those shades of gray. Line Art assumes that you are tracing something that is very cut and dry; black and white, and that's it. So in this case, Line Art does not work for the sketch of the car. Finally, let's take a look at Technical Drawing. Technical Drawing brings back a little bit of the detail, but it still looks like a bunch of ants running around on my artboard.
I think I am going to stay away from that one as well. Let's click down, and let's take a look at Sketched Art one more time. Sketched Art gets me kind of close to what I am looking for. So let's go ahead and stay with that, and let's also change the Mode from Black and White, to Grayscale. By changing the Mode from Black and White, to Grayscale, I've got a seriously good representation of this car. If I wanted to get more detail, I could crank up the amount of grays.
Currently, I am working with 50 levels of gray. If I turn this down, it's going to give me less. Let's see how many shades of gray I can get away with, by dragging this down, and let's do about 5. When I do 5, it still looks pretty good, although I lost some of the detail in the front of the car, and a little bit on the top as well. The tires and wheels still look pretty good; the overall shape of the car is not degraded in any way either. I think actually this is pretty good. It's a sketch, after all, and in this case, I'm only going to be outputting 5 levels of gray, which means there are only technically 5 swatches in this particular car.
So when I go to output this, I could then replace just those five shades of gray with five shades of red, or five shades of green, or whatever it is that I need, and it would instantly become a colorized version of this car. Once I'm finished with this, I can then close the Image Trace panel, because I am done; everything is ready to go. After you've converted something inside of Illustrator, you are probably going to want the ability to change each individual piece, or each individual path. In order to do that, you're going to have to turn pixels into paths, and I am going to show you how to do that in a future movie.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
119 Video lessons · 51405 Viewers
117 Video lessons · 39247 Viewers
113 Video lessons · 81749 Viewers
65 Video lessons · 12053 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.
Your file was successfully uploaded.