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Using Photoshop with Live Trace

From: Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics

Video: Using Photoshop with Live Trace

Live Trace is a great feature to use when you are trying to create stylized vector artwork based off of an original image, and we have already learned there are many tweaks, and functions, and settings that you can apply to basically get your trace to look just the way that you want it. That being said, Illustrator still is a vector based application, and there may be times when certain edits that you can make to a photograph are better off made in a program like Photoshop. Now obviously Photoshop and Illustrator has some really great integration between them, and when you are using the Live Trace feature, it's important to realize that you do have Photoshop to go back to when you are trying to make certain edits. So with that concept in mind, let me show you how I use Photoshop and Illustrator together to get just the trace that I want.

Using Photoshop with Live Trace

Live Trace is a great feature to use when you are trying to create stylized vector artwork based off of an original image, and we have already learned there are many tweaks, and functions, and settings that you can apply to basically get your trace to look just the way that you want it. That being said, Illustrator still is a vector based application, and there may be times when certain edits that you can make to a photograph are better off made in a program like Photoshop. Now obviously Photoshop and Illustrator has some really great integration between them, and when you are using the Live Trace feature, it's important to realize that you do have Photoshop to go back to when you are trying to make certain edits. So with that concept in mind, let me show you how I use Photoshop and Illustrator together to get just the trace that I want.

I'll start off here inside of Illustrator by creating just a web document. It happens to be that I find that whenever I create RGB documents, I get better tracing result than working in CMYK. It's also a little bit faster, because the Live Trace feature actually works natively in RGB. So I'll start by placing a photograph on to my document. I'll go to the File menu, I'll choose Place, and on my Desktop I have an image here called surfer_dude.psd. It's a native Photoshop file, but really it can be any image. But before I place it, I'm going to come down over here where it says Link, I'm going to make sure the Link option is checked. Rather than embed the image when I place it now into Illustrator, the Link option will ensure that the actual photograph exists outside of the file. That means if I make change to that photograph at any time, those changes will update inside of Illustrator.

So I'll click on the Place button. Now I'll go over here to the Live Trace option, and I'll choose to apply the Color 6 preset. So let's take a look at our result. Say over here on his forehead, we have some of the sky color that's being introduced, same thing also with some of the highlights in his nose and over here on his face. Now why is that happening? Well, remember, Illustrator is taking now a full color photograph, and reducing it just to six colors. If I press Undo, so we can see the original photograph, it could be that the highlights are being reduced close enough to the same that are being used here on the sky. So when I go back to the tracer, I can see that that's exactly what's happening. Now in reality, I can do one of several things here, I could choose to expand my artwork, which would now release all these as vector shapes, and then I can start to select the areas that are blue, and I can change the colors manually.

Now maybe here in this example where I only have like one or two or small little areas that exist, that may not be that big of a task. But sometimes they may have just too many areas to count. Even more so, I may not want to expand my trace at all. I may want to keep it in a live state so that I can experiment with other settings. Now we know if I option up the Tracing Options dialog box that I can adjust the raster based settings, or the vector based settings of that trace. But even on the raster based side, these are settings that apply to the entire image overall. I can't target specific pixels, and make a change to them. For example, I can't tell the photograph to look at this particular area and change the color of those pixels.

After all, Illustrator only works with vectors. It doesn't allow me to actually edit pixels in any way, but Photoshop does. In fact, I found that working with Photoshop makes my life so much easy when working with a trace. I can perform certain types of adjustment inside of Photoshop much fast than I can ever do inside of Illustrator. So let's see how that works. I'm going to go to the Window menu. I'm going to open up my Links panel. The Links panel basically identifies all the images that are placed into my Illustrator document. Notice over here, I have the surfer_dude.psd file. I'll come to these icons here on the bottom, and the one on the far right over here is called Edit Original.

By clicking on this button, Photoshop will now launch and open up that photograph. So now let's go ahead and make some change to this photograph here inside of Photoshop. Let me zoom in just on his face area right here, and I'll use my Regular Clone tool to simply sample some area from his forehead here, and basically kind of clean it up, or darken I guess you can say that highlight area, maybe even get rid of it completely. I'll do the same thing for his nose, let me sample this area from his nose right here, and I'll simply touch up that area. Now I'm not doing a cover for Vogue Magazine or something else for that where I need to worry exactly about how this looks. What I simply need to do is just remove those areas. Remember at the end of the day, all these areas will be converted to vectors. So I'll sample an area let's say from over here his cheek, and let's kind of cover up that highlight area, and maybe I have these splotches here on his nose, just to make sure those don't get picked up.

I'll delete those areas as well. So now what I have done is I have made some very simple and basic pixel changes here inside of Photoshop. I have gotten rid of those hot areas, or those hot spots that appear on his face. I'll simply save the image, and now I'll return to Illustrator. In doing so, Illustrator will inform me that the image has now been updated. Would I like to update it? And the answer is Yes. Now remember when I apply a Live Trace inside of Illustrator, the actual image is still inside of Illustrator. That's what makes this that Live Trace. So the photograph is still there. As soon as I update the photograph behind the scenes, Live Trace will automatically update to trace as well. In doing so those areas that were blue, because they were hot before in that particular area of the highlight of his face, now have been converted to the same color that appears in the rest of his face.

What's great about working in this way is again I don't need to worry about making precise adjustments or complex retouching techniques inside of Photoshop. In this case, all I need to do was change the tone in those areas to make sure they were close to the face, so they all got merged into the same shape. So when you are working with Live Trace, it's really easy to kind of get caught up and actually worrying about how the vectors have formed here inside of Illustrator. But don't forget that you have this incredibly powerful tool Photoshop in your arsenal as well. Using these two applications together, you can just the right trace that you need in a very little time.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics
Illustrator CS4 Beyond the Basics

137 video lessons · 29159 viewers

Mordy Golding
Author

 
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  1. 2m 4s
    1. Welcome
      1m 41s
    2. Using the exercise files
      23s
  2. 33m 20s
    1. Introducing Live Paint
      38s
    2. Drawing in Illustrator
      4m 21s
    3. Creating a Live Paint group
      2m 54s
    4. Using the Live Paint Bucket tool
      3m 17s
    5. Using Live Paint with open paths
      2m 29s
    6. Detecting gaps in Live Paint groups
      4m 17s
    7. Adding paths to a Live Paint group
      3m 41s
    8. Using the Live Paint Selection tool
      5m 44s
    9. Releasing and expanding Live Paint groups
      2m 55s
    10. Understanding how Live Paint groups work
      3m 4s
  3. 49m 36s
    1. Introducing the trace options
      39s
    2. Setting expectations: Live Trace
      2m 26s
    3. Using the Live Trace feature
      1m 51s
    4. Understanding how Live Trace works
      5m 41s
    5. Making raster-based adjustments
      5m 52s
    6. Tracing with fills, strokes, or both
      2m 55s
    7. Making vector-based adjustments
      6m 12s
    8. Adjusting colors in Live Trace
      4m 39s
    9. Using Photoshop with Live Trace
      5m 22s
    10. Releasing and expanding Live Trace artwork
      2m 58s
    11. Saving and exporting Live Trace presets
      2m 36s
    12. Tracing in Batch mode with Adobe Bridge
      1m 35s
    13. Turning an image into mosaic tiles
      2m 28s
    14. Tracing an image manually
      4m 22s
  4. 1h 24m
    1. Introducing 3D
      33s
    2. Setting expectations: 3D in Illustrator
      2m 53s
    3. How fills and strokes affect 3D artwork
      4m 43s
    4. Applying the 3D Extrude & Bevel effect
      6m 25s
    5. Applying a bevel
      5m 40s
    6. Showing the hidden faces of a 3D object
      4m 49s
    7. Applying the 3D Revolve effect
      5m 22s
    8. Visualizing the revolve axis
      3m 5s
    9. Applying the 3D Rotate effect
      1m 35s
    10. Adjusting surface settings
      9m 33s
    11. Understanding the importance of 3D and groups
      3m 24s
    12. Preparing art for mapping
      10m 19s
    13. Mapping artwork to a 3D surface
      14m 21s
    14. Hiding geometry with 3D artwork mapping
      4m 0s
    15. Extending the use of 3D in Illustrator
      8m 7s
  5. 44m 37s
    1. Introducing transformations and effects
      32s
    2. Using the Transform panel
      12m 37s
    3. Repeating transformations
      5m 23s
    4. Using the Transform Each function
      3m 48s
    5. Using the Convert to Shape effects
      5m 49s
    6. Using the Distort & Transform effects
      5m 12s
    7. Using the Path effects
      6m 58s
    8. Using the Pathfinder effects
      4m 18s
  6. 28m 23s
    1. Introducing graphic styles
      33s
    2. Applying graphic styles
      10m 8s
    3. Defining graphic styles
      8m 46s
    4. Previewing graphic styles
      2m 10s
    5. Modifying graphic styles
      3m 30s
    6. Understanding graphic styles for text
      3m 16s
  7. 22m 49s
    1. Introducing advanced masking techniques
      32s
    2. Understanding clipping masks
      7m 15s
    3. Using layer clipping masks
      6m 30s
    4. Creating opacity masks
      8m 32s
  8. 1h 6m
    1. Introducing color
      40s
    2. Considering three types of color swatches
      7m 7s
    3. Managing color groups
      2m 58s
    4. Understanding the HSB color wheel
      3m 57s
    5. Understanding color harmonies
      2m 57s
    6. Using the color guide
      3m 54s
    7. Limiting the color guide
      3m 17s
    8. Modifying color with the Recolor Artwork feature
      6m 25s
    9. Using the Edit tab to adjust color
      5m 44s
    10. Using the Assign tab to replace colors
      8m 37s
    11. Making global color adjustments
      2m 17s
    12. Using Recolor options
      7m 3s
    13. Converting artwork to grayscale
      3m 23s
    14. Simulating artwork on different devices
      3m 18s
    15. Accessing Kuler directly from Illustrator
      2m 7s
    16. Ensuring high contrast for color-blind people
      2m 42s
  9. 53m 19s
    1. Introducing transparency
      40s
    2. Understanding transparency flattening
      2m 31s
    3. Exercising the two rules of transparency flattening
      10m 53s
    4. Understanding complex regions in transparency flattening
      4m 50s
    5. Exploring the transparency flattener settings
      8m 37s
    6. Using transparency flattening and object stacking order
      6m 39s
    7. Using the Flattener Preview panel
      6m 31s
    8. Creating and sharing Transparency Flattener presets
      2m 25s
    9. Working within an EPS workflow
      5m 3s
    10. Understanding the Illustrator and InDesign workflow
      5m 10s
  10. 50m 1s
    1. Introducing prepress and output
      23s
    2. Understanding resolutions
      8m 27s
    3. Discovering RGB and CMYK "gotchas"
      5m 42s
    4. Using Overprints and Overprint Preview
      7m 43s
    5. Understanding "book color" and proofing spot colors
      8m 1s
    6. Collecting vital information with Document Info
      2m 28s
    7. Previewing color separations onscreen
      1m 12s
    8. Making 3D artwork look good
      2m 16s
    9. Seeing white lines and knowing what to do about them
      2m 41s
    10. Creating "bulletproof" press-ready PDF files
      3m 45s
    11. Protecting content with secure PDFs
      2m 48s
    12. Using PDF presets
      2m 47s
    13. Moving forward: The Adobe PDF Print Engine
      1m 48s
  11. 35m 43s
    1. Introducing distortions
      27s
    2. Using the Warp effect
      4m 20s
    3. The Warp effect vs. envelope distortion
      3m 48s
    4. Applying the Make with Warp envelope distortion
      2m 45s
    5. Applying the Make with Mesh envelope distortion
      2m 41s
    6. Applying the Make with Top Object envelope distortion
      3m 45s
    7. Editing envelopes
      5m 0s
    8. Adjusting envelope settings
      4m 2s
    9. Releasing and expanding envelope distortions
      1m 44s
    10. Applying envelope distortions to text
      1m 27s
    11. Using the liquify distortion tools
      3m 5s
    12. Customizing the liquify tools
      2m 39s
  12. 28m 56s
    1. Introducing blends
      32s
    2. Blending two objects
      6m 18s
    3. Adjusting blend options
      5m 47s
    4. Blending anchor points
      5m 36s
    5. Blending three or more objects
      2m 9s
    6. Replacing the spine of a blend
      4m 32s
    7. Reversing the direction of a blend
      2m 15s
    8. Releasing and expanding a blend
      1m 47s
  13. 46m 54s
    1. Introducing charts and graphs
      35s
    2. Setting expectations: Graphs in Illustrator
      3m 19s
    3. Creating a chart
      8m 2s
    4. Importing data
      3m 34s
    5. Formatting data
      5m 1s
    6. Customizing a chart
      10m 21s
    7. Combining chart types
      2m 40s
    8. Creating graph designs
      6m 0s
    9. Styling and updating graphs
      5m 33s
    10. Ungrouping graphs
      1m 49s
  14. 26m 36s
    1. Introducing Gradient Mesh
      23s
    2. Understanding the Gradient Mesh feature
      9m 34s
    3. Using Gradient Mesh to add contoured shading
      6m 14s
    4. Using Gradient Mesh to create photorealistic effects
      10m 25s
  15. 8m 18s
    1. Introducing flare effects
      25s
    2. Drawing a lens flare
      3m 28s
    3. Modifying a lens flare
      1m 27s
    4. Using a mask with lens flares
      2m 58s
  16. 29s
    1. Goodbye
      29s

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