Join Justin Seeley for an in-depth discussion in this video Exploring common tracing scenarios, part of Illustrator: Tracing Artwork (2013).
There are many reasons as to why you would want to recreate or trace artwork inside of Illustrator, but you might not be aware of all these reasons, so in this movie, I'm going to be walking you through some of the basic scenarios that I've encountered over the years. The first is an obvious one, and it's one that we as designers have to deal with all the time: the hand-drawn sketch. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Most designers I know do their best work on a napkin before they even turn their computer on. But turning your sketch into a usable piece of artwork is a whole other story, so in Illustrator, we want to take something like this scanned in piece of artwork, and transform it into something usable that can be scaled infinitely using vector-based design.
If you're into the fashion world, you know how common it is for designers to sketch out their latest ideas on paper, like this. However, in a modern workflow, fashion designers are turning to apps like Adobe Illustrator more and more to get the job done faster. Taking your idea, and transforming it into a digital piece of art that your can edit and modify as needed can be a huge productivity booster, and using Illustrator for your fashion designs can really open up a whole new world of possibilities. The next one is something I am sure most of us have encountered at one point or another.
Let's just say that a client comes to you, and says, I need a new logo, and they want it to look something like something they saw on another Web site, or they want it to look something like something they saw in a magazine, or something to that effect. Then, of course, they send you, inevitably, a low resolution JPEG example of what they're looking for. Ugh. This is where your Illustrator wizardry comes in handy. By being able to take this piece of artwork, and transforming it into something usable for both you, and your client, you are able to make both of your lives a whole lot easier.
So, in this example here, let's say that the client sent me this low resolution JPEG of these house icons. Maybe they are a realtor, for instance, and they're saying, okay, I need a new logo, and I want it to look like one of these little houses here. Well, you could just trace these little houses by using the Auto-trace feature, and then spend, you know, a few hours cleaning it up, and making it look all perfect, or you could just take a look at this, and see, you know what, these are all just basic shapes. They're all just triangles, and rectangles, and circles. And so, therefore, you could start to build this little piece of artwork right here, just by using some basic shapes, and putting them in the right spot.
And so that's hopefully what I'm going to be able to convey to you throughout this course. Finally, we have the photo to vector workflow. This is where, for whatever reason, you're asked to transform a photograph into a vector piece of art. This could be for a variety of different reasons. Photos make great stylized clipart pieces, and they can also be used as a base for logo elements, social media avatars, and a wide variety of other projects. While you won't be getting a pixel for pixel rendering when you trace these photos, you can come pretty darn close, and with that, you can create some really awesome artwork.
There are many more possibilities and reasons as to why you would need to trace or recreate artwork in illustrator. These are just some of the more common ones that I've encountered over the years. In any case, I hope I've given you a good idea as to the why aspect of why you would want to learn these techniques, and now let's start to focus a little bit about on the how aspect on the equation.
- Analyzing the existing artwork
- Developing a tracing plan
- Setting up your artwork
- Exploring the three steps of tracing
- Adjusting the curve fitting
- Combining paths into shapes
- Tracing text by hand
- Applying colors to your artwork