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Illustrator CS6 New Image Trace

I have been a great fan of the Live Trace feature in IllustratorR. I use it often to convert raster images into vectors so that I can resize the graphic without losing quality.

Many of my website customers have raster versions of their logo that they wish to not only convert to a website logo but also want several sizes for business cards, letterhead and other printing projects. Using Live Trace, I can convert their logo to any size they need.

Another example is the storybook author. Many children's book authors and illustrators have the artwork in raster format which is great if you plan to publish your book in print format. But now with the explosion of book apps, they need the raster artwork digitized. In those cases I use Live Trace to convert the flat artwork to a layered vector artwork.

Although I love Live Trace, many times I have wanted more control over the conversion results. Now, in Illustrator CS6 we have the new Image Trace feature that will give us more tools and presets. This new feature along with the new Tracing Engine will give us much more control over the conversion and better quality results. Let's take a look at the new Image Trace.

Image Trace Panel

The new Image Trace panel isn't visible in the Essentials workspace. So let's switch to the Image Trace workspace (Window - Workspace - Tracing). Now we have the new Image Trace panel on the right of the workspace.

At the top of the panel, we have some quick click icons for the commonly used presets: Auto-Color, High Color, Low Color, Greyscale, Black and White and Outline. You can also choose a preset from the Preset menu below the icons. As you click each icon, Illustrator makes the conversion much more quickly with the new Mercery Graphics Engine.

Under the Preset menu we have other menus that were previously found in the Tracing Options dialog box.

View - This is the old Vector menu with a few new options: Outlines with Source Image and Source Image.

Eye icon - When you click the eye icon next to the View menu, you can toggle between the Image Trace results and the original image.

Mode - In this menu we have the same choices as before: Color, Greyscale and Black and White

If you expand the Advanced menu, you will see more slider controls for fine tuning your trace. These controls were also moved from the old Tracing Options dialog box.

*Adobe provided a copy of this software to me for review purposes.



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