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Video:Live Trace in Illustrator

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The live trace tool in Adobe Illustrator is a very useful tool for a graphic designer, but it can be a little daunting at first. Learn some quick tips and experiment with your own projects next.See Transcript

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Transcript:Live Trace in Illustrator

Using the Live Trace now known as Image Trace in Adobe Illustrator CS6, you can take a photo and turn it into a vector shape instead of having to redraw it on the computer.

What is a Vector?

A vector image can be resized to as large as you would like and you don’t lose any detail, because it is not made up of pixels.

Transform an Image into a Vector

When working with images that you want to perform an image trace you need to pay close attention to what is surrounding your image that you would liked traced.  Take this photograph notice how the subject stands out from the background.  If the subject blends too much with its background you may need to bring the image into Photoshop and separate the subject from the background before bringing it into Illustrator.

Start by going File New > Choose Web under Profile Click Ok. In the Menu Bar Choose File > Place. Next Choose Window in the menu bar go to Image Trace to open the Image Trace panel.  Image trace has several great presets that are a perfect starting point and sometimes it might even be the final product you are looking for.

With this color image for the sake of doing so, go under the preset pull down menu and select High Fidelty Photo. This image no longer has pixels but now it is a vector.

Deciding on a Preset

Now depending on what you are trying to accomplish you may have to try a couple different presets to preview what the outcome might be.  Remember these presets are a starting point and may not be your final step. 

For this image, let’s say you wanted to make a silhouette, go to image trace panel and select silhouette in the preset pull down menu.  Now if you look at the outcome of this preset and are not fully satisfied you may click another preset like black and white.

Now go to the tool options bar at the top of your interface and click Expand.  This is your path and you can now make any adjustments to the shape using any of the tools necessary.

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