3 Replies Latest reply on May 26, 2013 12:59 AM by shunithD

    ai-cs6 How Do I trace a hand drawn sketch to a single line vector outline?


      So I am basically a brand new user to ai-cs6 and have been working on a project for a friend. I've drawn up the basic components of the logo she wants, all separate individual pieces. My intention is/was to trace in each piece, and scale, rotate, and clean them up according to how the final piece should look. Where I'm running into trouble is that the sketches are not point perfect, meaning there's some shading in the hand drawns, and the lines are rough in areas. I'm trying to avoid redrawing the pieces because we both are really happy with where they're at. What I'd like to do with ai-cs6 and I'm hoping this community of creative individuals can help is to trace very simply a one line vector of the outline of the image. So instead of creating a piece that has stroke straight from the scanned in artwork, I get a single line, with multiple points, that flows the simple shape of the piece. From there it seems it would be pretty simple to just increase the stroke weight and modify the style of line to make it look how we would like. All I've succesfully been able to do so far, with the help of some videos and google searching, is to get a traced image that's basically an outline of the sketch. This is o.k. except that since the sketch has some rough line sections ai-cs6 is adding either a lot of detail and making it look pretty rough, or it's missing entire sections and leaving them blank. Any insight and help into getting this figured would be great, I'm gonna roll with what image trace is giving me so I can give her an image of the logo today, but hoping that I can clean it up and get closer to a finished product by next week. Thank you very much I'm grateful that there are discussion forums like this out there to help users of all skill level continue flowing and working with these awesome adobe products.



        • 1. Re: ai-cs6 How Do I trace a hand drawn sketch to a single line vector outline?
          JETalmage Level 6

          What you're talking about is generically called autotracing in centerline mode. Most autotrace programs can either try to trace all the way around the areas of dark pixels (outline tracing), or try to trace along the middles of areas of dark pixels (centerline tracing).


          In Illustrator's autotrace settings, for centerline mode, you turn off the tracing of outlines (fills) and turn on the tracing of centerlines (strokes). That's the basic setting. From there, you try to adjust the various threshold settings to get as close to what you want as you can.


          When Illustrator's autotrace feature is set to try to trace centerlines, it also tries to set the vector path stroke weights to approximate the thicknesses of what it interprets as a stroke. So after the autotracing is done,  you can expand it and then globally set the stroke weight to a uniform value.


          Beyond that, no one can really advise you more specifically without seeing the specific image involved. Every image is different.


          Generally speaking, autotracing is crap. It's an amateurish workaround to avoid doing what should really be done: Trace the paths manually with the drawing tools.



          • 2. Re: ai-cs6 How Do I trace a hand drawn sketch to a single line vector outline?
            Soulprogression Level 1



            I appreciate the input and insights into the program.


            You've pretty much answered what I needed and I think it will allow me to finish this first project for the client.


            I agree that it will probably look/be a much more professional piece of work if I were to take the time to trace the full drawing, however since I'm a full blown beginner and using a mbpro and mouse, tracing the image is beyond frustrating. Hoping to eventually have a full copy of the program and a good workspace with a pad and pencil to get into the nitty gritty


            Thanks for your help have a great weekend and I'll post back possibly with an image if I need more help!

            • 3. Re: ai-cs6 How Do I trace a hand drawn sketch to a single line vector outline?
              shunithD Level 3

              Had a somewhat similar problem... here's the link to that thread:




              It may be of some help...