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Adobe Illustrator CC - Essentials Training

Class Project 12 - How to how to vectorize an image in Adobe Illustrator CC (Create a stencil cut out of an image)

Daniel Walter Scott

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Hi there, in this video we're going to vectorize things, take images like this, and do cool stuff like this, with them. Then take cool images of this handsome man; it's me. And do this kind of stencil thing with me. Then do this kind of 3D, and thick graphic, kind of thing. I think I've said that wrong. But you get the idea. We're going to turn images into graphics, and vector. We have to edit them, and color them all in Adobe Illustrator. Let's go and do it now.

First up, we're going to bring in an image. So JPEG, or PNG, or PSD from Photoshop, anything will work. Let's go to 'File', 'Place'. We'll start with our 'Exercise File'. Let's look at that 'Bike' that we had earlier. We're going to bring it in. I'm going to drag it. It's quite a big image, so I'm going to make it this kind of size. And with it selected with my 'Black Arrow', my 'Live Trace', and that's the magic thing, it's right there. Click on 'Live Trace'. Now you can pick one of these. Let's just start with three colors, give it a look. Your machine will churn away, fans will come on, and stress out, trying to do it. Give it a sec. I'm filling now. Come on. And nearly there. Coo, huh!

Goes through and vectorizes it. Gives it that kind of, I don't know, hand drawn vector look. You can go and adjust it, and say Actually, I don't want three colors, I would like six colors. And it will go through and do it. I'll speed this up. So it didn't take too long, but it's gone ahead and taken six colors. If you want a bit more control, rather than the presets, click on this option here. They'll open up this panel. That gives you loads of control. The exact amount of colors you want. You can go to advanced, like this is not enough, you can go to 'Advanced', and it gets super nerdy. Have a play around, it's kind of really up to you what it wants to look like.

I'm going to show you a couple of other tricks by doing some black and white stuff. One of the things we might want to do is-- actually I'm going to go back to three colors. I might want to speed this up again. Now let's say that I like this, and I want to use it maybe, change some colors, and move-- it's all kind of stuck together. Like you're half way through in effect. You can still see, it's this Live Trace over here. When you're finished, you need to hit 'Expand'. That kind of says, "I'm done." With that messing around, with that effect, and it's going to churn it into vectors that I can play around with now. And what I want to do is, I'm going to click off in the background, have nothing selected. At the moment it's one big kind of giant group.

What I'd like to do is I can use my 'White Arrow', click in the background and just click on one little part. You can see, I can drag it off. So I've turned it into like, lots of little shapes. Now, say I want to recolor, maybe this color. I can hold 'Shift', and go crazy trying to select them all. So what you can do is just pick one color, go up to 'Select', go to 'Same'. I'd like to select everything in this document that has the same 'Fill Color'. It goes and selects just that color all the way through it. I can go through now, and pick something outrageous. That's a nice way to kind of get in there with a bit more detail.

So that is, with it selected there's an option down here, called 'Expand'. So I like this, but I'm going to do something else. I'm going to just drag him to the side there, with my 'Black Arrow'. We're going to draw things we saw at the beginning, just the black outline plus the colory thing. So, let's bring in an image. I'm using my shortcut 'Command-Shift-P', or 'Control-Shift-P'. There's one in there called, it's got my name. I am Daniel Walter Scott, can't even find myself. There I am there. Use 'Daniel Walter Scott 1'. I'm going to bring it in. Again, it's another big image, so I'm just going to drag it down.

We're going to run into problems with this one. So, I want it to-- go to 'Live Trace', that's cool. I want 'Black and White', because I want this kind of stencil look. The trouble with it is that there's a background, and it's kind of interfering with everything. It looks kind of cool, right? I can go, 'Options', and drag-- The main one is 'Threshold'. I can drag it 'lower' and 'higher', depending on what you want. You can see, it kind of gets through to the background that quite move this way. It doesn't. I know because I played with it. So I'm going to say, close that, and I'm actually going to delete it because what we're going to do is, we're going to jump to Photoshop because you need to kind of tidy up the background.

I'm going to show you a nice, quick, and dirty way to do that. That looks perfect for the stencil look. So in Photoshop, I've opened up that same image, here it is. I'm just going to do a really quick selection. Now yours is, might not be gray scale yet, so you can do that. You might go to 'Adjustments'. There's a few ways in Photoshop, but 'Adjustments', and this one here does a good job, click on 'Black & White'. You can play with these settings if you want to, or just leave it. Now to continue on you need to make sure that the background is selected and you need to name it. So double click the word 'Background', and we're going to call it 'Dan'. Anything, just call it anything, it needs to get that little lock effect.

Next thing I want to do is delete the background. and I'm going to use the 'Quick Selection Tool'. It's really awesome. What I do is I click, hold, and drag and you see, as I drag, it kind of expands up, and eventually goes "Hey, you mean all of this?" It's pretty clever. I'm going to drag over here. I'm just going to drag around the edges. You see, it's kind of automatically done it, really a good enough selection. I'd love to go into loads of details. I'm just about to start a Photoshop course, if you're keen on that. For the moment, let's just do some basic stuff.

I'm going to zoom in. There's a few things I've accidentally got. It's got my ears pretty good, the hair pretty good. It's missed these glasses, but I'm going to hold down the 'Alt' key. And watch this, if I click over, and just drag around here, eventually it's going to start, "Do you mean all this?" Not too worried about my ear. Again, I'd like to spend a lot of time on this, but we're not going to. So, where else is there any problem? Just looking. Down here, in the checkered shirt I'm looking for-- it's a little hard to see. The kind of matching. I'm going to hold 'Alt', and just rub across this shirt here. Don't worry if it's not great. We're doing it for a stencil, remember. Down here, grab all this. If you get too much, say you come along here and you go too far out, and you're like, "No, man," then let go off all the keys and just paint it back in, and just work your way around. Checking. Checking basics. It's a little bit across here so I'm holding 'Alt' key on a PC, or the 'Option' key on a Mac. That will do.

So what I'd like to do now is delete the background. I'm just going to hit delete on my keyboard. I know, if you're a Photoshop man, or lady, it's a bad thing to do, but it's going to work for what we're going to do. I'm going to-- now, save this thing. I'm going to 'Save' it. It's going to stay as a Photoshop file, I'm going to put it in my 'Exercise Files'. I'm going to leave it in here in case you want to cheat, and just use this one. It's called 'Daniel Walter Scott 3'. Ready to go. And that's it, so we've just kind of tidied up the background and made it black and white.

Let's go into Illustrator now, bring in that file 'Daniel Walter Scott 3'. Drag it out. Just a part of my head, it's okay. 'Quick Selection', remember, because Live Trace is going to be pretty forgiving. I'm going to go to 'Black and White Logo' now. This is going to give me the effect that I was looking for. I'm going to go to my 'Options'. And in here, I can play around with more or less kind of, I don't know what to do, I have no idea. I'm just going to drag it around now, and get it to a feeling-- something that I want. Something that looks like me. Kind of like it, where there's like a bit of a pupil going on there. It's kind of cool.

What I might do is, I like-- I might like two options of different sides of my face because there's a big shadow. I might copy and paste it, and kind of combine the two. But for the moment, I like it. Remember, when you're finished we're going to click 'Expand'. And now it's kind of broken part. That might be it. You might be happy with this kind of stencil look. Now if you want to continue on with that kind of-- I can never pronounce it right, I have to write it down in front of me. It's called Anaglyphic. I probably said that wrong, but it's that kind of 3D look that's quite popular. I'm going to show you here in Google Images.

So this kind of-- it's a way of-- it's been used to design style, that's why I'm using it but it's kind of used for 3D. Remember these guys, 3D glasses? This kind of coloring here, it adds a little bit of 3D effect. It looks quite cool, just used for Type, or in this case, the Silhouette. To make this work, I'm going to select it with my 'Black Arrow' and what I want to do is 'Ungroup' it. The main thing is this box around the outside that it comes with. So I want to select on it, and delete it. It does nothing except get in the way. So now it's all individual parts again. So what I'd like to do is select it, and group it back together.

So I would like to do-- I need three versions, the black one, and the two colors. So I'm going to select it, copy it, and what I'd like to do is, I'm going to use my 'White Arrow'. Remember, clicking it, like we did this one, and say, I'd like to-- what I want to do is fill it with a color, but if I select it all, and say, actually I want to fill you with say, Magenta, it kind of does something a bit weird. Makes me wear sunglasses, you might like that. But what I want to do is, with the 'White Arrow', the Direct Selection Tool, click off, click on one part, and say, 'Select', 'Same', 'Fill Color'. And then this will work better. So I'm going to pick Cyan, sorry 'Magenta'. It's probably meant to be a red, I'm happy with this Magenta for the moment.

You might go and find the official colors. Then we're going to paste this back in. That's why I copied it, so I can go back to this one. And I want to move him up here. I'm going to grab my 'White Arrow', select him, 'Select', 'Same', 'Fill Color'. I'll use the red. That red, no, I'm going up to the Cyan part. Then I'm going to paste another one. And I've got all my three options. What I might do is select them all, get them to align, 'center' for both of them. Then I'm just going to kind of move them a little bit, side to side. I'm going to move you that way. I might grab the blue one, and move him a little bit that way. That's the kind of thing I was going for, and you saw at the beginning there. Maybe the steps are a little bit big.

I might zoom in there now but you can totally finish this video. I'm just going to-- just that little bit. I'm trying to make it look cooler. Same color on my head. Just showing you pictures of myself. Might be cooler with that cooler person. Now this is useful for lots of things, all sorts of things. Maybe you've drawn a hand drawing you want to turn it into a vector, that's really good for that. So just take a photo of it, or scan it. Then vectorize it, use Live Trace. Another good thing is, if you've got a logo and you've got some primitive brand that you're doing work for, and they've got this really bad logo, you can print it off, and vectorize it, and try sharpen it up. It might be really old pixelated thing that you want to try tidy up finally.

So, now it is Class Project time. It's time to use yourself, or significant other, or your kid. Anything you like. I'd like to see if you can make something in a similar sort of vein to this. Some sort of stencil looking thing. You don't have to do the-- where is it? Write it down. Okay, you can do any sort of style you like, but I'd love to see it again. In the projects or in the comments, please show me what you did. I'd like to see it, I'll come and give you tips, or just High Fives.

All right, that's it for Live Trace in Adobe Illustrator.