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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.
Live Trace is an incredibly complex feature that has lots of settings inside of it to allow you to tweak and get just the right results that you want. But it certainly doesn't seem that way when you first see the feature. The way that you apply Live Trace is you simply select any rasterized content in your document, and you'll automatically see the Live Trace button appear directly inside of your control panel. One click of a button automatically converts that into a traced object. Now by default, Illustrator always converts images into black and white artwork. But you can change that by choosing from one of these presets. For example, I'll choose Color 6 and I'll see that that artwork now gets converted using colored artwork. In fact, there are a variety of presets. For example, one here called Photo High Fidelity, which converts my artwork into vectors but keeping that photographic feel. But these presets are simply a shortcut for you to get to a certain place. Once you are there however, you want to click on this button over here called Tracing Options. That opens up a dialog box, which really lets you go to town on basically tweaking and getting every single adjustment right in your trace.
Now don't worry, throughout this chapter we're going to learn what all these settings do, but for now I'm just going to click on the Cancel button. I'm going to press Undo a few times to go to back to my image before I actually traced it. You'll notice that just to the right of Live Trace button is a button here that has a little triangle. It may not appear like a button, but if you know that you want to trace this into color image, rather than first clicking the Live Trace button and then changing the preset, this allows you to choose a preset right off the bat. In doing so, it traces that using that particular setting. Now you'll notice that once you trace an image inside of Illustrator, you can't actually edit or access the vector path themselves. In order to do so, you'll need to click on the Expand button. At this point the artwork that you see on your screen is no different than any other artwork that you create or draw from scratch inside of Illustrator. So now that you know how to apply a Live Trace to artwork inside of Illustrator, we can learn about all of it's settings and bring out the true power that lies within.
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