24 Replies Latest reply on Apr 21, 2010 10:13 AM by kas8

    Import Existing Cartoon Into Adobe Illustrator

    3Grizzlies

      I found a cartoon on the internet that has given me an idea for a cartoon that I want to do for a friend. Is there a way that I can import this cartoon into Adobe Illustrator and then proceed to alter it to suit my own purposes? I need to squeeze it, stretch it, subtract from it, add to it, and generally change it until I come up with a completely different cartoon of my own.

       

      I have tried placing the original art on a surface in Adobe Illustrator, but the Adobe tools have no effect on it whatsoever. I am unable to change anything. All I want to do is use the nucleus of an idea and expand upon it to the point that it no longer has any resemblance to the original.

        • 1. Re: Import Existing Cartoon Into Adobe Illustrator
          kas8 Level 1

          to change the cartoon into an editable format, you can use two methods:

          1. import the image into illustrator, and recreate it by hand = more effort, but best result.

          2. import the image into illustrator, then go to: Object > Live Trace > Make and Expand.

          This will make a group with all the recognized objects, in vector format, so you can edit them.

          To increase the quality of the outcome, use a high resolution image with decent [or high] contrast.

           

          Hope this helps you out.

          • 2. Re: Import Existing Cartoon Into Adobe Illustrator
            3Grizzlies Level 1

            Both of your solutions involve importing the image into Illustrator.

             

                 Although I do see an export option under File> Export, I cannot find an import option. Did you mean to "Place" a file, rather than import it?

             

            I did manage to get Illustrator's eraser to work PART OF THE TIME ONLY! This is very exasperating. Certain lines refuse to be erased.

             

            Lines seem to go where they want to go instead of where I put them.

            • 3. Re: Import Existing Cartoon Into Adobe Illustrator
              3Grizzlies Level 1

              I don't know what you mean by "This will make a group with all the recognized objects. What recognized objects?

               

              Fiddling around with this doesn't convince me that Adobe Illustrator is the least bit intuitive.

               

              "Edits" are not working. How do you control the degree of resolution (how do you get "high resolution"?

               

              Sometimes the eraser works, sometimes it doesn't... I never know when it's going to happen.

               

              If I used a pencil and a piece of paper I would be done with this drawing by now.

              • 4. Re: Import Existing Cartoon Into Adobe Illustrator
                JETalmage-71mYin Level 3
                Fiddling around with this doesn't convince me that Adobe Illustrator is the least bit intuitive.

                 

                It's not intuitive. Who said it was?

                 

                 

                Sometimes the eraser works, sometimes it doesn't... I never know when it's going to happen.

                 

                Stop fiddling. Read the instructions.

                 

                If I used a pencil and a piece of paper I would be done with this drawing by now.

                 

                Well, then....

                 

                I mean, what are you asking for...a complete course in using an unintuitive program in an online user forum?

                 

                JET

                • 5. Re: Import Existing Cartoon Into Adobe Illustrator
                  3Grizzlies Level 1

                  I've completed all but the last three lessons in the Adobe Illustrator CS4 Classroom In A Book. So, no, I'm not asking for a complete course in using an unintuitive program in an online user forum. I have nearly completed Adobe's instructional material for the program. I think I'm just asking for enough tips to get me going on an important project that I want to do that wasn't evident in the text.

                   

                  I paid big money for Adobe Illustrator thinking that it would provide the ultimate tools for creating a professional looking cartoon. I have seen cartoons done by others who use Illustrator. They charge thousands of dollars for their work.

                   

                  Isn't there a way that you can release a simple drawing into Illustrator so that Illustrator can take control of everything? Erase here, add lines there. Shrink this, fatten that...place new objects in new locations to express a new message? In essence, provide the tools to create a whole new work of art?

                   

                  I'm just trying to get enough tips to enable me to complete a project for a friend. Perhaps I should be doing it in Corel Painter Sketch Pad instead. At least that program does seem to be more intuitive.

                  • 6. Re: Import Existing Cartoon Into Adobe Illustrator
                    kas8 Level 1
                    • I cannot find an import option. Did you mean to "Place" a file, rather than import it?

                    Well, i guess the easiest way is just to open an image file in AI and then copy and paste it into the document youre working on.

                    But basically, yes, that is called "Place" in AI, sorry for that.

                     

                    • Isn't there a way that you can release a simple drawing into Illustrator so that Illustrator can take control of everything? Erase here, add lines there. Shrink this, fatten that...place new objects in new locations to express a new message? In essence, provide the tools to create a whole new work of art?

                    Yes, just like i explained before: select the image object, go to Object > Live Trace > Make and Expand.

                    What this does is the following:

                    Illustrator scans the image and searches for surfaces and lines which it can convert into a vector image. Then it will create multiple objects for each recognized surface or linepiece. Then AI places them in a group, and you can edit them when you open the group.

                     

                    • "Edits" are not working. How do you control the degree of resolution (how do you get "high resolution"?

                    Well, high resolution images have more pixels, for example: a 4000x4000 pixels image is a high-resolution image, but a 40x40 pixels image is a very low-resolution image. When you work with high resolution images, more detail can be put into the image overall, and making it easier for AI to do a Live Trace and recognize the surfaces and linepieces which it then converts into vector objects.

                     

                    I think it would be a good idea if you showed us what you are trying to convert.

                    Also, what version of Illustrator are you using?

                    • 7. Re: Import Existing Cartoon Into Adobe Illustrator
                      3Grizzlies Level 1

                      You asked me to show you what I'm trying to convert. I took a screen grab of it, but I don't know how to attach it to this reply.

                       

                      For some reason, as I searched through the menu, the option rasterize range a bell with me. After I rasterized the image, I was able to erase a few more errant lines from the cartoon but not all of them. I don't know if this was related to rasterizing or not. While rasterizing I chose High (300 dpi) Resolution and left the Color Model as CMYK. I still don't have total control over the drawing.

                       

                      After selecting the image object, go to Object > Live Trace > Make and Expand. I did all this but I don't know how to, as you say "edit them when you open the group". How do you open the group?

                       

                      I'm using Adobe Illustrator CS4  14.0.0

                       

                      I hope this screen grab works:

                       

                       

                      file:///Users/grzinn/Desktop/Cartoon%20Grab.tiff

                       

                       

                      If you can see the screen grab above you can probably tell which lines I have attempted to add because the line weights are lighter.

                       

                      I have unsuccessfully attempted to remove a hat from the figure's head and add hair. Every time I draw a hair line on the figure's head it messes up a previous line that I've already drawn. I will want to remove the head entirely and replace it with a head that resembles a friend of mine, and, I have all sorts of other things I wish to add to the drawing: a pruning saw, a palm tree, and possibly a simple background that includes a building, or I may just leave the background white as Norman Rockwell has done in many of his paintings.

                      • 8. Re: Import Existing Cartoon Into Adobe Illustrator
                        kas8 Level 1

                        Ok, I now see you dont know much about computers and all that.

                         

                        How to make a screenshot:

                        1. Press the Print Screen [sometimes also shown as Prt Scr] button on your keyboard.

                        2. Open Microsoft Paint.

                        3. Goto Edit > and choose Paste.

                        4. Goto File > Save.

                        5. Choose where you want to save the file.

                        6. Choose to Save the file as: JPEG.

                        7. Type a filename, and save press Save.

                        8. Go to www.tinypic.com and press the Browse button and select your image file, which you saved 1 steps ago.

                        9. Press the big upload button.

                        10. Goto the box which says Direct link, select the text inside and Right-Click > Copy

                        11. Paste that link here.

                         

                        Then we can continue.

                         

                        However, I think you need to learn the basics of Illustrator first, as you dont know the basic functions very well.

                        Here are some nice videos: http://tv.adobe.com/show/learn-illustrator-cs4/

                         

                        Regards,

                        KSwoosh

                        • 9. Re: Import Existing Cartoon Into Adobe Illustrator
                          3Grizzlies Level 1

                          Thanks for all of the help given thus far. However, it appears, since you are talking about Microsoft, that you believe I am using a PC. I have an iMac.

                           

                          Yes, I do need to review those videos.

                          • 10. Re: Import Existing Cartoon Into Adobe Illustrator
                            kas8 Level 1

                            Yes, my mistake, i assumed you used a pc.

                            You can replace step 1 to 7 with the guide provided here: http://askbobrankin.com/take_a_screenshot.html

                            Hope that helps

                            • 11. Re: Import Existing Cartoon Into Adobe Illustrator
                              Larry G. Schneider Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              Fo a Mac you will need to use the Cmd-Shift-4. This will give you a set of crosshairs which you can drag around the portion of the screen you want to show. Then using the camera icon above browse to the picture file and upload like this

                               

                              Picture 1.png

                              • 12. Re: Import Existing Cartoon Into Adobe Illustrator
                                3Grizzlies Level 1

                                Picture 1.png

                                Okay, there you go, an image to talk about.

                                • 13. Re: Import Existing Cartoon Into Adobe Illustrator
                                  kas8 Level 1

                                  Well, that drawing looks very nice.

                                  However, it is very hard to do a good Live Trace on it.

                                  Mostly because its all black and white, so Illustrator will only see the lines.

                                  Second, because most lines arent connecting, creating open spaces, keeping Illustrator from recognizing any surfaces.

                                   

                                  I think the best way to go for this image is to try to replicate it in Illustrator.

                                  This means you will have to use the image as an example for how you want it to be.

                                  • 14. Re: Import Existing Cartoon Into Adobe Illustrator
                                    3Grizzlies Level 1

                                    I did manage to erase the figure's head and the flowers. However, when I tried to drop a color photo of a palm tree onto the work space, by doing the live trace manuver, it became a mess of what looked to be black ink.Picture 2.png

                                    • 15. Re: Import Existing Cartoon Into Adobe Illustrator
                                      kas8 Level 1

                                      can you give an example of that black mess?

                                      • 16. Re: Import Existing Cartoon Into Adobe Illustrator
                                        Monika Gause Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                        You're just clicking on the Live Trace button? You should then open the tracing options and fine-tune the trace.

                                        http://help.adobe.com/en_US/Illustrator/14.0/WS714a382cdf7d304e7e07d0100196cbc5f-6226a.htm l

                                        There's a link to a video in that article, you should consider watching that.

                                        • 17. Re: Import Existing Cartoon Into Adobe Illustrator
                                          3Grizzlies Level 1

                                          Coco tree.jpgPicture 3.png

                                          Above are both the original image and the AI Object> Live Trace> Make and expand image. Plus a third image showing how the black mess covers the headlessPicture 5.png figure on the ladder.

                                          • 18. Re: Import Existing Cartoon Into Adobe Illustrator
                                            kas8 Level 1

                                            well, the reason you get that black mess, is because the image you provide isnt simple enough

                                            using someting a lot more simple, cartoon style, would give much better results.

                                            here are some examples: http://images.google.nl/images?q=palm%20tree%20cartoon&rls=com.microsoft:en-US&oe=utf8&red ir_esc=&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=nl&tab=wi

                                            hope that helps.

                                            • 19. Re: Import Existing Cartoon Into Adobe Illustrator
                                              3Grizzlies Level 1

                                              Sorry for my long pause. I've been out with the flu. I understand why I have the black mess; the colored trees have too many tiny changes in color value that do not translate well into this A.I. tracing feature.

                                               

                                              Thanks for the suggestion, but I had already looked at all of these examples and eliminated them: http://images.google.nl/images?q=palm%20tree%20cartoon&rls=com.microsoft:en-US&o e=utf8&redir_esc=&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=nl&tab=wi

                                              weeks ago when I first began doing Palm tree research. None of the cartoon palms I saw "cut it" for me, they were all too stylized. I'm looking for a result more like a Norman Rockwell painting, or, frankly, I would prefer doing the stylizing myself to fit the artwork. Can I do that kind of thing in A.I.? I don't know. Where can I be boning up on the needed technique? Where are the lessons for this type of thing? The person for this series of comic boards is a friend of mine. I want him to be recognizable in the cartoon, yet severely characterized. I want to comically recreate a situation that he survived that involved a very dangerous fall from a ladder while pruning an old branch off of a Florida Coconut Palm. Other items to support him in the art need to be in the same style. Can I begin a characterization of his face/body by tracing his photograph? If so, how do I up size it or down size it to blend it into a created scene? How do I bend lines and shapes to re-characterize his face and body to make it funny (we are lucky that we have the luxury of being able to look back and laugh at something that had the potential of being a life ending injury)malayan-coconut-palm-tree-cocos-nucifera-30-01-b-realpalmtrees.com.jpg?

                                               

                                              Here is a different Palm tree that might work more easily; by the way, in case you are wondering, I want my three resulting cartoon panes to be in full vivid color (I only need one simple tree.

                                               

                                               

                                              Where can I learn to use parts of photographs in these creations? Should I be working in Adobe Photoshop instead?

                                              • 20. Re: Import Existing Cartoon Into Adobe Illustrator
                                                Monika Gause Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                You could consider taking a look at http://vector.tutsplus.com/articles/news/creative-sessions-a-new-set-of-educational-posts- every-month/

                                                 

                                                They have started a series on Cartooning a week ago so you can find quite some techniques and tricks there.

                                                • 21. Re: Import Existing Cartoon Into Adobe Illustrator
                                                  kas8 Level 1

                                                  Well, considering all the manipulations you want to do, i suggest you manually recreate the palmtree, without making any use of the LiveTrace feature. This because you will get the cleanest and easy to edit and manipulate result.

                                                   

                                                  • 22. Re: Import Existing Cartoon Into Adobe Illustrator
                                                    3Grizzlies Level 1

                                                    I feel like I have been out in the forest talking to myself. I have asked many questions about how to get at numerous aspects of this project that, so far, are being ignored. Where should I go to ask these questions?

                                                    • 23. Re: Import Existing Cartoon Into Adobe Illustrator
                                                      Monika Gause Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                      Maybe because it's kind of a complex project. Have you looked at the workshops on vectortuts.com?  As far as I understand your project, they over just what you want to do.

                                                       

                                                      And no, it's close to impossible to create cartoon characters directly in Illustrator based on a photo alone. You'll have to do some drawing first.

                                                       

                                                      Like this: http://vector.tutsplus.com/articles/interviews/roughly-speaking-character-design-sketching -approaches/

                                                      • 24. Re: Import Existing Cartoon Into Adobe Illustrator
                                                        kas8 Level 1

                                                        The reason for me not answerring all youre questions, is that it would be foolish to do so. It wouldnt help you to get a better result.

                                                        You try to find a way where AI can magically convert a pixel image into a complete and correct vector image. That just ISNT possible, especially not with such a complicated image you are trying to convert.

                                                        And that is why i recommend you make everything from scratch, so you get the best result possible.

                                                        Just follow some tutorials like Monika says, and learn the basics.

                                                        Without the basics, even AI's magic isnt good enough to make you a perfect vector image.

                                                        Just try it yourself!