Basically, Live Trace "traces" a raster image - a raster image is a photograph, (the Flower Photos from Colorado!) or a graphic created in Photoshop - in preparation for turning it into a vector image. The resulting line of the trace is called a Path, with hundreds of little anchor points along the way. In order to turn the raster image (groups of thousands of little colored squares) into one or more flat planes of color which have numerical values which can be blown up to the size of a building, Illustrator "Traces" the image and starts you down the Path to simplify the image and turn it into planes of solid color.
I won't run through the steps to get here - there are literally Hundreds of tutorials on the web about how to use Live Trace - but essentially, this is the command center in Illustrator that begins the process:
Why do this? Because if you were to take a photo (a Raster Image) and try to enlarge it to a Building Sized Image, it would get all Pixelated - blurred and confused with millions of little squares trying to be much bigger than they can be.
|And this isn't even Near Building size - see what I mean?|
You can simplify the image in Photoshop before you "Place" it into the Illustrator CS5 program by cleaning up the Noise, separating parts of the image so that you have individual components that make up the whole, and making sure to save it as a PSD image.
Now, here is the most beneficial thing to come out of the Friday session - there is a tool in Illustrator CS5 that is so exciting, I can hardly wait to get proficient on it. You see, when I upload a design file to either Spoonflower Fabric Printing or Adaptive Textiles Fabric Printing, to get the best color match I need to use LAB color.
|The color blankets are from Adaptive Textiles, the fabric swatch of Fishing Coral is from Spoonflower.|
Since I normally work in sRGB mode (because that is the color mode the monitor is), I've had to calibrate the monitor to the printer as best I can and then print it out in CMYK color. Because that's the color mode the printer is. Then spend hours and hours trying to match the color on the hard copy to the color blankets that Adaptive Textiles sent to me. Sometimes Days.
Well. Illustrator CS5 has a little color wheel icon parked right in the upper toolbar that is Powerful, Powerful, Powerful! When you select your artwork, you can click on the icon:
Now, here's the good part. I can change the color mode while I am in the Recolor Artwork Screen to LAB color mode.
|There is a tiny little icon that lets you change the color mode to LAB.|
How cool is that? I mean, how COOL is that? I'm off to practice now!