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In Illustrator CS5 Essential Training, author Mordy Golding explains the core concepts and techniques that apply to any workflow in Illustrator, whether designing for print, the web, or assets for other applications. This course includes a detailed explanation of the elements that make up vector graphics—paths, strokes, and fills—and shows how to use each of the Illustrator drawing tools. Also demonstrated are techniques for combining and cleaning up paths, organizing paths into groups and layers, text editing, working with color, effects, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
As we've seen, you can get some really great results when converting images into vectors using the Live Trace command in Illustrator. However, don't, for a minute, think that this means that Photoshop is no longer useful. In fact, I often get into arguments with the people about whether or not they should do work inside of Photoshop or Illustrator, like which one is better. The reality is it is that they're both incredibly useful tools, and you really need both of them. In fact, to get the most out of Live Trace, you can actually use Photoshop and Illustrator together to get the results that you are looking for.
Let's take a look at exactly that in this movie. I am going to start with a blank document, and I am going to go to the File menu, and I'll place an image here. I'll use this glories image, which I've been using. It's a linked image, and I am going to place it into my document. I'm now going to go ahead and apply one of the presets here, the Color 6 preset, to perform a Live Trace on this image. Now here's the thing. I really like the results here that's going on, but there may be some changes I need to make to my artwork. For example, you can see that I'm focusing on the flowers right here, but there are some other flowers that appear inside the image, kind of near the edges here, which are somewhat distracting, and I would like to remove them.
I mean after all, I'm creating some kind of a stylized illustration here so I can control exactly what I want here. I really don't want to see these purple patches over here at all. I would like those to be green, so we can focus on just the flowers right here. Now in reality, I can now choose Expand. I can start to use my Pen tool to start selecting these areas and making changes to their colors or deleting them or even making edits, but you and I both know that working with vectors inside of Illustrator can be tedious work.
Sometimes, you can do things a lot faster inside of Photoshop. Wouldn't it be great if I can go back to Photoshop and just simply remove the parts of the flowers that I don't want? Well, remember that right now, there is two elements here to this image that I am seeing. First of all, it's a linked image. That means that the pixels that are in this file right now are referencing an external file. Second of all, I am using something here I called Live Trace, which means that if I were to ever change those pixels, the trace would automatically update to reflect that change.
So rather than focus on which product is better, Photoshop or Illustrator, I am going to now use both Illustrator and Photoshop together to get the results that I want in a far more efficient manner. I am going to start by going to the Window menu and opening up the Links panel. Remember, the Links panels are great way for me to manage the artwork inside of my document. If I click on glories.psd right here, I can click on this button called Edit Original to open up that image now inside of Photoshop. Here, I can clearly see where the parts of the image are that I would like to get rid of.
I am going to take my Lasso tool right here, and I am simply going to go ahead and click and drag, kind of around this area right here. There is a fantastic feature now inside of Photoshop CS5 called Content-Aware Fill. Now normally, if I would just press Delete right now, I'd get just a black or white area in the background. But if I use this new feature, I am going to go to the Edit command and choose Fill. I am going to make sure that I'm using the Content-Aware option and when I click OK, Photoshop automatically fills it with some of the background.
Now is it a perfect blending or seamless part of this? No, but since this is going to be Live Trace, I don't really care about that detail. It is going to look beautiful once I trace it. I can do the same thing for the others here. Just do a quick little edit right here around this, choose Edit > Fill, make sure I am using the Content-Aware option and then clicking OK and finally, I'll do it for this part of the image as well. Edit > Fill and then click OK, perfect! Now I have made the edits that I wanted.
I can simply choose File > Save, close the document and when I return to Illustrator, Illustrator let's me know that some of the files are missing or modified in the Links panel. Would I like to update them? Well, absolutely. Since I'm now updating the pixels inside of my Live Trace object, the Live Trace will automatically reflect that change and take a look at that. With just a few clicks inside of Photoshop, I was able to now modify the Live Trace inside of Illustrator to get the results that I want.
So sometimes, it's much easier to actually make changes to a linked image inside of Photoshop when I really want to get our better results inside of my Live Trace, inside of Illustrator.
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