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Covering a wide range of topics, from advanced masking to chart creation, Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics reveals a whole new level of power, creativity, and efficiency with Illustrator. Instructor Mordy Golding explores how to work with Live Paint groups, get the most out of the Live Trace feature, and take advantage of Illustrator’s wide range of effects. He also discusses advanced transformation techniques, powerful 3D functionality, and important color concepts. Exercise files accompany the course.
We already know that you can use Live Trace inside of Illustrator to get a really cool stylized vector illustration based on a photograph. However, you may be surprised to learn that Live Trace is not your only option. You can also take advantage of a feature called Object Mosaic. Using a photograph as its base, Object Mosaic creates a series of rectangles of tiles to create a stylized version of your photo. In order to use Object Mosaic, you first must place a photograph into Illustrator and embed it. That means either unchecking the Link button when you place it or once you placed the photograph, click on the Embed button in the control panel.
In this file I'll select this picture, which has already been embedded. Notice the Embed button is now grayed out. I'll go to the Object menu and I'll scroll down to where it says Create Object Mosaic. Here in the dialog box, Illustrator tells me the Current Size of my artwork right now and allows me to specify a new size. But I'll leave that right now and I'll go over here to where it says Tile Spacing. Tile Spacing is the amount of space that's added in between the mosaic tiles or the rectangles that are created. With a value of zero, each of the tiles will butt up right against each other. But I'll specify a value here of 1 pixels for both the Width and the Height. As for the number of tiles, I want the width of my image to basically turn into 100 tiles.
Now I want all of my tiles to be perfectly square in shape. So what I'll do is I'll now click on the Use Ratio button to have Illustrator automatically figure out how many tiles in height I'm going to need. That works because right now, I have the Constrain Ratio set to the Width setting. If I know how many rectangles I want in the Height setting, I might use the Height for my Constrain Ratio. Specify the number here I want in the Height and then click on the Use Ratio button to automatically figure out how many I need in the Width. Next, I'll make sure that Illustrator generates a color version, not a gray version of my file, and I'll also have Illustrator delete the raster image when it's done creating the Object Mosaic.
The Resize using Percentages option would allow me to specify a new size using percentages instead of absolute values like pixels here. Once I'm done with my settings, I'll simply click OK and watch Illustrator turn this photograph now into a series of mosaic tiles. Now it's important to realize that the Object Mosaic command inside of Illustrator is a filter, meaning that once I apply it there is no Live feature that allows me to go back and tweak the settings. If I not happy with the results, I would need to press Undo and then reapply the settings and see if that gets me the results that I'm looking for. I will deselect the artwork here and I can see now that my photograph, which turned into a series of rectangles simulating Mosaic Tile effect. In fact, you will find that Object Mosaic gives you really cool results on a variety of different types of artwork, try it on photographs, rasterized text, logos and more.
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