An animator conferred with a client who asked that I create 20 custom cartoons for a project. The animator asked if I can illustrate using Adobe Illustrator using "strokes" and "paths". I assume I can apply strokes and paths to existing single panel black & white images that I open using AI, correct?
If you are referring to Illsttrations done in a vector prograam or previously done in Illustrator and they are vector art and you are calling those images the answer is yes most likely if they are raster images in a format like jpeg or tiff the anser is no and those would have to be traced.
You cannot add strokes to pixel images without tracing them.
Either do it manually (probably with the Pen and/or Pencil tools) using the placed image as a Template ...
... Or, if the image is suitable, use Live Trace with a suitable setting.
If you merely want a stroke or frame around the placed image, select it and hit Cmd+7 (Ctrl+7 on Windows).
This produces a clipping mask path which you can subsequently add a stroke to.
Just "adding" strokes won't be sufficient. You need to re-draw it using paths.
This can be done automatically or manually. It depends on the animator and how exactly he will be doing the animation. So you need to talk to this person in order to get to know what exactly he will need.
Monika: I don't think I can redraw the image...I don't have a tablet or stylus. I created the original art using a Sharpie marker, scanned it into my old Photoshop 6.0 software, sized it and saved it accordingly and then reopened in AI. Steve mentions Live Trace.....I also assume I cannot apply LT to an existing image like this either? Curious about that part of it. Thank you, I really appreciate your insights and informational feedback.
You''re wrong about the Live Trace or in CS 6 the Image Trace feature they can in fact be applied the placed tiffs or jpegs you need the option to have strokes created and perhaps fills as well.
Read about live trce or Image Tr ace for CS 6.
You have to expand the art once the trace is performed
Thanking you for this valuable info and feedback. I am including yet another screenshot I made in my antique Photoshop 6.0 for your reference, and basically wondering then, I CAN live trace an existing simple black and white line image like the one in my screenshot here? I don't want to tackle drawing with a mouse...an impossibility for me (not to mention boring, tedious, time consuming and frustrating). I am old school and put pen to papaer and have illstrated and cartooned in this manner since I was 5 years old. Even drawing with a stylus on a tablet while looking at a screen just doesn't do it for me. I can draw cartoons freehandedly using a sharpie marker, a rapidograph tech pen, a Hunt Crowquill or Speedball B-6 dipping in an ink bottle - but that drawing with a mouse? No way. I do operate my own image licensing database of cartoons and get requests for using them in books, newsletters, calendars, powerpoint, apparel, print advertising and more. I also have regular clients who assign work on a monthly basis. I also provide web designers and webmasters with a daily auto-updating web cartoon which appears on sites around the globe. That being said, special requests come in like the one to create 20 custom "static" images to be put into animation by a client and that client works with an animator who requests if "his contact" (me) can render existing images in LIVE TRACE....thus my dilemma.
In simple terms, can I taske each simple black & white line art image (like in screenshot here) and render it in LIVE TRACE without having to go into tracing it by hand manually or drawing over it with a mouse etc.? I've been reading up on it so am getting a feel that you can open images and apply this to them....am I misinterpreting anything different on this? THANKS AGAIN!
i think you could get that to work alright. it might do odd things to the shaded areas though.
it depends what you might want to do with them afterwards though. live trace looks for areas of contrast within a tolerance and draws paths along them, so your individual lines will end up as varying areas of shape. adding to them or adjusting them will pose difficulties.
Doug: Much appreciated! I need to search more aggressively for detailed links to tutorials etc. for "live trace". Ideally then, it looks like I can definitely open existing images and apply LT without having to do anything manually.....i.e., mouse-tracing etc.! It's not easy getting work, even though you may have a well laid out plan, online portfolio etc., you need to promote yourself....which is what I am doing but of course, laying out money and making financial sacrifices in other areas. For instance, I have a page coming up in next January's distrubution of the annual Directory Of Illustration <-----check out my single page. Wish me luck, I'll need it. Btw, I downloaded the trial version of AI....there are only 20 days left and I have this animation project popping back up in February....without having to buying it, can I basically cancel and resume my trial for later? That program is $600 when I looked at the price and have spent thousands recently promoting myself....no pay yet for this animation job and probably not until spring, so am kind of cutting back for a while....especially with these holidays upon us.
OK, now I am wondering. You mean if I "live trace" a specific image in AI, it will turn out looking "choppy"? Or "segmented" in some way? In essence, once live trace were to be applied to an image like the samples I've shown in my screen shots here, they look blurred you mean?
Your drawings aren't suitable too well for autotracing them. Especially those areas shaded with halftone dots will most probably be a huge problem.
You will be better off just tracing the line drawing and shading your stuff in Illustrator using pattern fills. This would generate exact dots. Autotrace will not.
Autotracing means you have to find a compromise between exact traces and nice curves. You can't have both. If you want to be able to sell vector graphics as well you need to adapt your workflow to that. If you don't want to adapt your workflow, you maybe should stay away from delivering vector art.
Before asking here: have you even tried to autotrace? Just to get an idea of what we're talking about?
Thanks for these insights. Actually those samples I showed were shaded halftones to enhance them for the initial presentation pitch that the client was using to make his sales pitch to the insurance company in NYC with.
Final art would be created using basic line art like in this additional screenshot. I created this using a Sharpie, scanned it into Photoshop at 300DPI and saved as high resolution JPEG.So essentially, if I try auto-trace, can you provide anything in advance I should be aware of? Or where to initially prepare this "test" image? Thanks again.
Stuff like that should be farily easy to trace.
Set it to Black and White and adjust the Treshold. You might want to prepare it in no more than 1500 pixels wide /high
Don't sharpen it too much, use grayscale, not bitmap in your raster art
HaHa! Lookit....I did do some experimenting....see how it turned out....looks like his left pupil went ka-flooey, lost it. So basically to not have that happen, I'd refine my settings like you say here I think. Really, I appreciated this info! I did a google search for "live trace + adobe illustrator" and a link popped up with a tutorial (looked like for an older version tho). Hope you like your custom cartoon (haha!)
What you need to understand is this:
Autotracing is a cheap trick; a down & dirty workaround; a last resort. It is a sub-standard practice.
All autotracing does is try to detect edges between regions of differently colored pixels and then draw a path around the regions of contiguous same or similar color.
Yes, you can run an autotrace routine on an imported raster image. That's what the feature is for. But you could train a monkey to do that. There will be no object-based inteligence in the process, and the result will quite likely be entirely unsuitable for animation purposes. For example:
Consider your sketch of an old guy waving at Monika. Now, if you were going to animate that, what would be the most obvious piece of animation? You'd want to make the hand wave, right?
Well, in the autotraced result, that hand or forearm will not automatically be a separate object, as it needs to be in order to make that it move independent of the body.
That's just one very simple example. Your sketches are going to involve many many such instances. It's not just a matter of drawing any old paths around black regions of pixels, so long as they're vector. It's about thinking through what actually needs to be done with the vector graphic, and building it in such a way as to facilitate that.
There is no instant-gratification trick or one-click feature that is going to make a scan of a marker drawing into a properly useable vector-based graphic. It's just like anything else; you don't get something for nothing. Sorry, but you just can't go too far saying "I draw with markers on paper, and can't be bothered with having to do anything technical." If you want to provide proper vector-based drawings, you need to learn how to do it right. Otherwise, you're going to just be doing the concept art and people who do know how to turn it into something useable will have to re-create it.
If you're in such demand that you've got the steady work to proceed with that kind of head-in-the-sand mindset, more power to you. But it doesn't sound like it.
The animator could probably stick your sketches into a scanner and run an autotrace on them if that were really all he needed. He's probably rasing the question of whether you know how to rework the cartoons as vector graphics not merely so they will consist of vector paths; but so they will be vector paths that are suitable for the downstream animation purposes. Or, he may be gently breaking the news to the client that he's working with a cartoonist who isn't really up with the times, and that's going to cost time and money in the projects somewhere downstream.