How To Vectorize an Image/Motif in Illustrator

How To Vectorize an Image/Motif in Illustrator

How To Vectorize an Image/Motif in Illustrator

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to vectorize an image in Illustrator for use in patterns, graphics, and your design work. Vector images allow for easy editability, professional graphic techniques, and creative flexibility. We will walk through vectorizing existing patterns into editable formats and learn to take our hand drawn sketches and turn them into valuable assets in our digital design work. Finally, we will create a vectorized pop art portrait from a photograph. These skills are valuable in all basic design work, and particularly useful in print graphics.

Note: You will need access to Adobe Illustrator software in order to do this lesson.

Module Description Step
1 Overview: Raster Images vs Vector Images 1-3
2 Converting a Tiger Stripe to Vector 1-13
3 Creating a Vector from a Hand Drawn Sketch 1-9
4 Vectorizing a Photograph into a Pop Art Portrait 1-7
5 Manual Vectorization Techniques 1-7
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MODULE 1 • Overview: Raster Images vs Vector Images

Step Description
1 Most images you’ll find on the internet, and any photographs you take, are what are called raster images. Raster images are images made out of pixels. If I wanted to create an editable design with this raster image here, it would be very difficult to work with. For example, to recolor it, say with the paintbucket tool, we would get splotchy areas in the borders between shapes, because the resolution means that none of these lines are perfectly true. Resolution is the limiting factor of a raster image. You can tell something is a raster image because as you zoom in, you get tons of little pixels and the image quickly loses integrity. That is why resolution is so important for saving high quality files. But when getting an image off the internet for design work, or using something you scan in, you can’t use a raster image as well, particularly in regards to editability and re-sizing.
2 Want we want is to turn our inspiration images, motifs, and sketches into vector images. Now what a vector is: vectors are the foundation of Illustrator. I am using my pen tool here to create a line so we can have example. Instead of a line create with pixel – which has a certain resolution and then loses its integrity – vector line, that we draw with the pen tool for example, is connected to an automatically generated mathematical equation. This little blue line here, right, we can change the brush style all we want but that blue line is our vector. So, you can see as we zoom in, it doesn’t matter how close we get, it will always keep its integrity. So, we never see this math behind the art, but the computer keeps track of it, and this ensures that no matter what size or scale we’re at, the lines will always be crisp and clean. Vector images are, mathematically speaking, infinitely zoomable.

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