How to Use Image Trace in Adobe Illustrator CS6

2013-06-26

Adobe Illustrator is one of the many products offered by the Adobe company to facilitate a designer´s task. This amazing software allows you to create your own projects and detail them with an almost professional quality.

Just like other Adobe versions, you can easily get the full software which of course is not for free, or you can go ahead and download the trial version.

This software is compatible with Windows 7, Windows XP and Windows Vista among others.

In this transcript, we will be taking a look at the new Image Trace feature in Adobe Illustrator CS6. A lot of graphic designers have a need to take a photograph and convert it into a vector design. Traditionally, it would take hours if not days to do this. The benefit of having a vector image rather than a photograph is that you can take it, manipulate it, and enlarge it without losing too much quality.

So let’s take a look at how image trace works!

With the photo selected, you can either press Image Trace under Options or select it under the Window menu. In the Image Trace window, you’ll have a few options on how you can view your vector image.

Let’s start out with the basics. Let’s go black and white. When you press the button, you’re given a black and white vector design of your image--it doesn’t look too great for this example as we’re looking to turn a photograph into vector.

At the bottom of the Image Trace panel, you can adjust the Threshold. But for this example, we really want a high-quality near-realistic result.

So let’s click the Low Color button and see what that does. The end result doesn’t look too bad. Manually, something like this would take hours upon hours to create.

To give you an idea of what you’re looking at, click Tracing Result Without Lines. You can now see all the paths which created this vector design. In the panel, you can also change the amount of colors which appear in the image--from two all the way to thirty.

Now, let’s take a look at the original. If you press and hold the little “i” in the panel, you can toggle between the vector and the original photo in order to compare them.

In order to make a vector seem highly realistic, click the High Color button. Now, to most people, this image will probably look like the original. But it’s the vector. If you now click Tracing Result Without Lines, you’ll be able to see the massive increase in paths that compose this image.

Once you’re happy with the result, press the Expand button at the top of the image. This will give you all of the paths you need to edit your design.

Let’s take a look at another real-world design. You might have lost the vector file for an image you’ve worked on in the past, and you now need to take the old image and convert it into a vector. So for this image in particular, we’re going to stick with black and white.

And there we go. You can adjust the Threshold if you want, too. Then press Expand, where you’ll be given all of the paths to work with this design.