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Using Live Trace on a photograph

From: Designing a Book Cover

Video: Using Live Trace on a photograph

In an earlier movie we were looking at how past designers have designed the cover for Animal Farm. We see that over the decades it's very hard to avoid the image of a scary pig on the front cover, and we are going to do our own version of the scary pig. We are going to do this in Illustrator. Just before we go to Illustrator, let's look at the finished version here in InDesign, combined with the type of the author name and the book title. So, it's tracing over a picture of a pig and then modifying the tracing result, and then placing that Illustrator document into InDesign.

Using Live Trace on a photograph

In an earlier movie we were looking at how past designers have designed the cover for Animal Farm. We see that over the decades it's very hard to avoid the image of a scary pig on the front cover, and we are going to do our own version of the scary pig. We are going to do this in Illustrator. Just before we go to Illustrator, let's look at the finished version here in InDesign, combined with the type of the author name and the book title. So, it's tracing over a picture of a pig and then modifying the tracing result, and then placing that Illustrator document into InDesign.

So, let's switch to Illustrator where we have this picture of a cute and cuddly pig, which we are going to make look really scary and ominous and sinister. Let's begin by selecting the pig and come to the Live Trace button. Now, we are going to change the Live Tracing options by clicking on the Tracing Options dialog. There are a few things here that we want to change. The Mode is what we want. we want a Black and White trace.

We might experiment with the Threshold value, we move this to the right, a higher number and you'll get more black areas. Move it to the left and you get more white areas. I can tell you, because I just did it earlier, the 128 Threshold is pretty much what we want. I am going to choose to blur the image slightly, which is hopefully is going to round off some of the sharp edges that we are going to get in the tracing result. So, I am just going to nudge that up to about 0.4, and I am also going to make sure that we don't trace the white areas, that we ignore the white areas.

As I am making these changes take a look at what's going on here, the number of paths and anchor points that you are going to get. So, if you get a massive number here, if you got a million anchor points, then you might want to think again about that. So, I am going to check Ignore White and I am also going to make the Minimum Area a little bit bigger. Hopefully, it won't then trace over lots of detail that we don't want. Let's just preview that. So, you can see that we've simplified things a little bit from the way they were before.

That's looking good. I am now going to click Trace. Next step is we want to work with the tracing result, but before we can do that we need to expand it. Then I am going to come and ungroup it. With Ungrouped, I am now going to come to my Blob Brush. Let's just check the Blob Brush options by double-clicking on the Blob Brush tool. We need to make sure that this Merge Only With Selection is not checked. So I am now going to click OK. Because what we want to have happen is when we paint over these white bits that we don't want, they're added to the solid black areas.

So, I am just going to go over those areas and if there are any detail,s like we can still see that up in the ear here there is sort of identifying tag that was in the pig's ear, we want to go over that. You can increase and decrease your brush size with the left bracket and right bracket, the brackets to the right of the P key. So, I am now just going to quickly fill in these areas in the foreground that we don't want.

We can now save this and then place it in the InDesign document. You don't need to see me do that. You've seen me do that many times before. But there is an approach that might be a valid one depending on where is it trying to go. Take an image, trace it, and then work with the tracing result.

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This video is part of

Image for Designing a Book Cover
Designing a Book Cover

36 video lessons · 20297 viewers

Nigel French
Author

 
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  1. 2m 42s
    1. Welcome
      58s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 44s
  2. 29m 57s
    1. The project brief
      2m 30s
    2. Doing research
      4m 16s
    3. Setting up a document in InDesign CS5
      5m 4s
    4. Setting up a document in InDesign CS4
      6m 4s
    5. Putting your InDesign CS5 document on a grid
      3m 2s
    6. Putting your InDesign CS4 document on a grid
      4m 31s
    7. Setting up the document in Illustrator and placing it on a grid
      4m 30s
  3. 40m 39s
    1. Creating hand-drawn type with the Blob Brush tool
      4m 13s
    2. Using Live Paint to color type
      3m 40s
    3. Choosing typefaces
      3m 42s
    4. Creating a simple illustration using the Pen and Gradient tools
      8m 43s
    5. Applying type effects
      5m 42s
    6. Manual tracing
      4m 42s
    7. Using the gradient and transparency effects
      9m 57s
  4. 17m 27s
    1. Distressed type
      5m 42s
    2. More distressed type
      3m 35s
    3. Using mirrored type
      3m 34s
    4. Using giant wraparound text
      3m 56s
    5. Starting text on the cover
      40s
  5. 13m 7s
    1. Illustrating concepts with abstract shapes and transparency
      6m 27s
    2. Representing the book content with icons
      6m 40s
  6. 24m 8s
    1. Using historic photography
      6m 21s
    2. Using Illustrator to create a simple illustration
      4m 19s
    3. Using gradient mesh in Illustrator to create a simple illustration
      4m 55s
    4. Using Live Trace on a photograph
      3m 52s
    5. Using black-and-white images creatively
      4m 41s
  7. 25m 30s
    1. Developing a book set
      2m 50s
    2. Designing the back cover
      8m 42s
    3. Designing the flaps
      2m 41s
    4. Designing the spine
      11m 17s
  8. 12m 56s
    1. Using spot varnish
      4m 30s
    2. Preflighting your document
      4m 51s
    3. Preparing the PDF
      3m 35s
  9. 13s
    1. Goodbye
      13s

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