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Learn How To Adjust Tracing Presets, Mode and Threshold in Illustrator
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Now, to get things started, I want to take a quick look at the presets first. These are just saved collections of all the different values that we see in the lower portion of the options box and you can even make your own presets if you find yourself using a particular kind of tracing I can pick these out and this will set up these other options down here very quickly to get me up specific result. They are not all just black and white. You can get color here as well. I will do the Color 16 setting and it should show us a preview of what this tracing would look like in color.
Now, you can see with the gradient object, it is not going to trace very well in color. In fact, I would rather stick to that black and white logo because I will get a cleaner shape out of this and I can always use Illustrator to apply a nice clean vector gradient to it later on. This does help to point out one other thing that we are going to be taking a look at our tracing options dialogue box and that is over here underneath preview.
We got a set of information about what the tracing vector results in. In this case, we got a lot of paths, even more anchor points and a lot of filled areas that we are going to be working with. Now, those numbers, they are way too high for us and we want a nice, clean design that is composed of just enough elements to be able to get our picture across. So, we are going to definitely go away from the color modes. I will probably going to be looking at one of the presets closer to maybe hand drawn sketches or some of the other lined art drawing ones.
Now, this one particularly is almost all strokes and lines, so this is not going to work with our particular skin right here. So, I am going to try out the black and white logo. Now, this is very much like the default setting that we started with at the very beginning. But you can see that this converts that gradient bitmap into a nice, clean vector shape that we are getting all these nice flames out of. So, let us go through the other settings so we can get a little bit better trace out of this one.
I will start on the adjustment side. Remember, this is where we are actually making changes to the reference bitmap that we are using to build our trace frame from. The threshold value is one that is going to allow me to bring these lighter pixels. The number that we see here refers to how light or dark the pixels are going to be. The higher the number is, the more pixels will be included in the trace. So, all I am going to do is bring that number up.
Now, with all of these controls in the options panel, you can work with them the very much the same way. The right arrow on the side will bring up a slider and you can use it for making larger adjustments to your file and you can see there by increasing the threshold, I am including more and more of those light yellow pixels.
Now, I can create the threshold up pretty high on this sketch because my background was very clean white. But you have a lot of noise or dirt on the original skin coming into it. Those things might start showing up with high threshold value like this but as I said, you got a fairly clean sketch and there you can see with a number around 211, I am getting all the flames in here. All those yellow pixels are being included in our tracing and it kind of pumps up the rest of the drawing as well, so we are getting a pretty good value into that one.
The original bitmap in our case is not really very jaggy. I got fairly smooth lines in it but we can take a look at what a little tiny bit of adjustment in the blur setting will do for maybe some of these areas like the front of the tire where we got a little bit of roughness in a resulting vector from the trace. I can do very small adjustments only to these values by just using the arrow keys in the left hand side.
In this case, if I use the up arrow once, you can see that I am getting a pixel increment of only one-tenth of a pixel. So, these are very fine adjustment. The adjustment of only a tenth of a pixel did not vary too much but if I give it a couple more, like three times of a pixel, you can see that some of these areas over here are starting to fill in a little bit. And that is nice, that is going to help out my drawing to achieve that clean status we were looking for.