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Introduction to Technical Flats - Part 10 of 10 + a Free Download!

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INTRODUCTION TO TECHNICAL FLATS

SECTION 10: IMAGE TRACE

Need to catch up? Read Section 9: Saving

Follow along with this step-by-step video!

 

INTRODUCTION


Image trace is an amazing tool to copy or draw images quickly. It allows you to digitize an image in a myriad of different styles and then expand the image into a set of anchor points and paths. This allows you to edit the shape, color, or layer it with other images. Specifically for fashion design, it is a great tool to save time when outlining shapes such as trims or apparel.

 

HOW TO: IMAGE TRACE


Start with an image you’d like to copy. Copy and paste it into your AI file. The more simple the image is and the higher contrast between the object in the image and its background, the better the trace will be. Be cautious to not copy other people’s work. Any copied image should only be used as a reference to create a shape, do not directly copy someone else’s image. Alternatively, you can take your own images.

For this example, I will be using an image of a buckle to create a symbol that I can use for flat sketches such as backpacks or other accessories.

 
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Select the image in the Illustrator file, then go to Image Trace in the top menu. The dropdown menu to the right of the button gives you options for how you’d like to trace it.

 

Choose your style (I chose Silhouettes, but there are many other styles depending on the affect you are trying to achieve) and the object will automatically image trace.

 
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At the top menu choose Expand, your image is now a set of anchor points and paths, including its background. Each of the points can be manipulated. You can move them, delete certain colors, separate the image, or anything else you want!

 
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For this example, let’s add the details that we saw in the original photo using smaller line weights and different stroke profiles to achieve the look of the buckle. First, use the Wand Tool [y] and click on one of the objects, this will select anything with a black fill, go into swatches and choose white as the fill color.

 
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After finalizing the details, you can add your final buckle as a symbol using the instructions from Section 6.

 

HOW TO: EXPAND AN OBJECT


Similarly, you can also do this with objects in the AI file. For example, if you want to outline your text and make it into an object, or make a path into an object. To do this, choose the drawing/text/etc. you want to expand.

 
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Go to Object at the top menu and choose “Expand.” A box will pop-up asking what part of the object you want to expand. For this example, choose object and fill and hit OK.

 
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Now your object is expanded. If it is not expanded, go back to object > expand appearance.

 
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The object is now made up of anchor points and paths that are editable.

 

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