Thursday, January 10, 2013

Illustrator: Pen Tool Image Trace

1) If you are already working with a document inside of Illustrator, click FILE > PLACE to "place" the image you want to trace into your document.

2) Scale the image to fit your artboard better (hold shift while scaling)

3) In the layers panel LOCK the photo layer (to avoid accidentally moving it later)

4) Use the pen tool to trace around the various shapes of value. Each shape you draw will appear above the previous one in the layers panel. If you have many objects you can GROUP them together to avoid clutter in your Layers panel. To group, select multiple objects and click OBJECT > GROUP from the menu bar at the top of the screen. Here's an shot of my layers panel with grouped layers and a locked underlying photo layer.

5) Each shape can be turned on or off (eyeball in layers panel) and by using the magic wand tool, all shapes of the same tone/color can quickly be selected and changed at the same time.

* The stroke and fill settings of the pen tool (bottom left area of vertical toolbar on left) allow you to turn off a fill (so that the fill isn't active while you are tracing, covering your photo).

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