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Can existing images be opened in AI and "strokes" & "paths" applied to images?

Dec 19, 2012 6:43 AM

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?

 
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 19, 2012 1:14 PM   in reply to Bob20441

    You'll have to trace (vectorize) the images, either manually or automatically.

     

    If you tell us a little more and maybe even show an example, there might be more detailed advice.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 19, 2012 1:19 PM   in reply to Bob20441

    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.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 19, 2012 2:55 PM   in reply to Bob20441

    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.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 19, 2012 2:55 PM   in reply to Bob20441

    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.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 19, 2012 6:46 PM   in reply to Bob20441

    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

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 20, 2012 3:34 AM   in reply to Bob20441

    Bob20441 wrote:

     

    I don't think I can redraw the image...I don't have a tablet or stylus

     

    tablets make drawing easier, but it's not that difficult tracing a drawing with a mouse.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 20, 2012 6:14 AM   in reply to Bob20441

    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.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 20, 2012 6:47 AM   in reply to Bob20441

    as long as you understand that it's not going to translate your drawn lines into perfect individual vector paths... and if you do want that, it will take quite some effort without redrawing.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 20, 2012 10:25 AM   in reply to Bob20441

    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?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 20, 2012 1:54 PM   in reply to Bob20441

    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

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 20, 2012 2:30 PM   in reply to Bob20441

    You might need to see the Expanded settings and adjust the "Noise"

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 20, 2012 6:01 PM   in reply to Bob20441

    Bob,

     

    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.

     

    JET

     
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