Illustrator 3.12 [image trace]

“Live Trace on an Object”

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First, it is important to understand the concept of “image trace.” Using the image trace command is similar to tracing over an object by hand. Illustrator will trace over the selected object and create a series of lines/objects that approximate the shape of your original object. These created objects are vector objects rather than raster objects. There are many options to use with live trace, some of which I will discuss below.

  1. Begin by placing the object you would like to trace using File >Place.
  2. With the object selected, navigate to Object > Image Trace > Make to create a live trace of your object.[Premium Content - Login] [Membership Options]
  3. In the properties bar (shown above), you will find several options.
    • Preset: The preset drop down menu gives you presets for commonly used tracing methods like “Technical Drawing, Hand Drawn Sketch, Inked Drawing, etc.)
    • Tracing Options Button: This button brings up more detailed options pertaining to the tracing operation. You can use this to check a box for “ignore white.”
    • Threshold: The value used to separate black from white. Higher values result in less precise shapes than lower values.
    • Minimum Area: The smallest area (in pixels) that will be traced.
    • Preview Settings Buttons: Provides for various previewing methods to help you visualize the traced result.
    • Expand Button: Converts the live trace object into paths.

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  1. After you have selected the options that match the vision of your final drawing, click the “expand button” to convert the live trace objects into paths. You can now work with the objects using the direct select tool as you have done with other paths (like the ones you have created with the pen tool.


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