Experimenting With Trace


This week I worked on Illustrator’s live trace. I actually posted an image of my own personal work earlier in my blog, which I applied live trace to a painting I had done. But I wanted to post about that process, and my learning experience with it.

Here I have four different effects of live trace that I made. I found that live trace is a good way to apply different styles and looks to images, and it gives you access to editing techniques, such as: you can adjust the coloring by either back and white or color, and by adjusting how many colors are displayed, you can adjust the stroke and noise of the image, you can expand the image and then edit it by manipulating anchor points, and you can then ungroup the image in order to edit or remove specific areas.

You can see in the top and bottom left variations that I adjusted color. They are both set to black and white, but the top photo is composed of sixteen colors, while the bottom photo is composed of only six.

To the right, I eliminated coloring altogether, and composed the image of strictly outlines. By adjusting noise, stroke, and level of corners, I was able to get two very different results.

I don’t know if you can tell or not, but another thing that I did differently to the photos on the right, was take away the faint, off-white background. I did this by first, converting the image to live trace, applying outlines, expanding it, and then ungrouping it. By ungrouping the image, you get separate components making up the image instead of one united component. After that, I selected the background with the direct selection tool, and hit delete. this took away the background, but left the outlines. At this point I selected the whole image, and regrouped them. This step isn’t necessary, but it makes it easier to scale the image, and move the image around.


The Pilot of Posts


The other day I came across several paintings that I had done over the summer, and it gave me an idea. One of the first skills that I learned in Illustrator was how to trace an image and apply different effects to it. So, I took one of my favorite paintings and applied image tracing to it.

I painted this image during the summer of 2016 while I was house/dog sitting for a neighbor. It was summertime so I didn’t have homework or sports, and was tired of watching “Friends” reruns. The owners of the house had a book on the table full of imagery from Utah. After examining the photos for a lengthy time, I developed a love for the landscape.

The details of the land and its burnt orange/red-ish hue stuck in my mind the whole weekend. Thoughts of planning a trip to see the arches and deserts for myself quickly turned into ideas and dreams flowing out from the tip of my paintbrush.

I have been working a lot with Adobe Illustrator this semester, but haven’t done much original work or complete projects. I mostly have been playing around to see what I can do with the software.

I adjusted its coloring, level of noise, threshold, and number of paths that it had. By converting my painting into a traced image, I was able to add highlighting and other effects where I hadn’t before. It’s like getting a second chance at your painting. I had fun taking my painting from sub par, to an upgraded version of itself.  Above is the finished product.