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Using built-in tracing presets

From: Illustrator CS6 New Features

Video: Using built-in tracing presets

Once you've performed an initial trace of your artwork here inside of Illustrator, you may be left with less than desirable results. If that's the case, you should try out some of Illustrators built-in tracing presets to help get your artwork back on the right track. None of the presets will necessarily be a magic bullet for what you're trying to do, but they'll most likely give you a much better starting point, which you can tweak to get it exactly where you need it to be. In order to access the tracing options, you can go up to your Control panel with your tracing objects selected and find this little button here called Image Trace Panel.

Using built-in tracing presets

Once you've performed an initial trace of your artwork here inside of Illustrator, you may be left with less than desirable results. If that's the case, you should try out some of Illustrators built-in tracing presets to help get your artwork back on the right track. None of the presets will necessarily be a magic bullet for what you're trying to do, but they'll most likely give you a much better starting point, which you can tweak to get it exactly where you need it to be. In order to access the tracing options, you can go up to your Control panel with your tracing objects selected and find this little button here called Image Trace Panel.

When you click it, the Image Trace Panel automatically appears. You'll notice that once the Image Trace Panel opens, you have access to Presets right here. If I drop this down, you'll notice I have a bunch to choose from. So if I wanted this to look more like a photo, I could choose something like High Fidelity Photo. We're going to be speeding up the render time significantly on your screen, but you should also notice that the render time on your tracings has dramatically improved over that of the old Live Trace. If I wanted it to look a little bit more artistic, I can switch it to something like 6 Colors.

If I were taking this to print, 6 Colors might be a little much, so maybe I need to back that down a little bit. So let's simplify it even more, by choosing 3 Colors. For this particular project, let's pretend that I'm creating a stylized poster design, and this guy is going to be the background for that poster. This Preset that I've chosen here looks pretty good. So I think I'll stick with it and notice how well Illustrator has handled the differences in color in this photo as well, making it really easy to distinguish features like the eyes and nose, and even the hair.

The new image trace is a great at recognizing subtle differences of color and displaying it even when using a limited color palette. Now like I said, this is a pretty good tracing, but however there are some things that I'd like to change about it as well. Some noise up in here, there are some jagged edges and it doesn't really look quite as artistic as I might want it to. When you're going through the Presets, you should try to find something that gets you about 75% of the result you're looking for. The remaining 25% can be adjusted using the other buttons and sliders that are available to you inside of this panel.

You can also utilize something called Advanced options, which is another great way to fine tune your artwork. Once you've got your tracing about 75% of the way there, you're ready to start your final tweaks to get it exactly where you need it to be.

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Illustrator CS6 New Features

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Justin Seeley
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