What you learned: Use Image Trace, a few tools, and the Simplify command to create a brewery label
Use Image Trace to convert an image to paths, creating a starting point for artwork. Then use the Blob Brush tool, Eraser tool, and the Simplify command to finish.
Trace an image to create paths
Using Image Trace, you can convert a raster image, like a JPEG, into editable shapes and paths.
- Place an image in Illustrator and embed it.
The image needs to be embedded in the document before tracing. You can select a placed image and click the Embed button in the Properties panel, if available.
- Click the Image Trace button in the Properties panel, and choose a preset tracing option from the menu that appears.
After tracing, you can choose another tracing option to achieve a different tracing result or click the Open the Image Trace Panel button to set further options.
- To finish tracing and edit the shapes, click the Expand button in the Properties panel.
Tip: If you want to get the main shapes from an image, you can sometimes achieve a better tracing result if the image has more contrast.
Edit the traced artwork using the Blob Brush tool
The Blob Brush tool is a brush that creates closed paths. You can use it to add to a selected path, like the traced artwork. It’s great for filling in holes left behind after tracing.
- Select the traced artwork.
- Press and hold the Paintbrush tool in the Toolbar, and select the Blob Brush tool.
- Drag across the artwork to add to the shape.
You can also create new artwork with the Blob Brush tool.
Tip: To change the size of the Blob Brush tool, press the left bracket key ([) to make it smaller, and the right bracket key (]) to make it larger.
Using the Eraser tool, you can clean up artwork by erasing parts of the selected content.
- Select the artwork to erase.
- Select the Eraser tool in the Toolbar, and drag across the artwork.
Tip: To change the size of the eraser, press the left bracket key ([) to make it smaller, and the right bracket key (]) to make it larger.
After tracing, the resulting artwork can sometimes be rough on the edges—depending on the tracing settings. To smooth those edges, you can apply the Simplify command to reduce the number of anchor points while maintaining the overall shape.
- Select the artwork to smooth.
- Choose Object > Path > Simplify.
- In the Simplify dialog box, adjust how precise the path is, relative to the original, set the angle threshold to dictate which anchor points are affected, or even make the paths straight lines. When you finish setting the options, click OK.
Create with the Curvature tool
The Curvature tool simplifies path creation and makes drawing easy and intuitive. This tool enables you to create, toggle, edit, add, or remove smooth or corner points. With the Curvature tool, you can perform the following:
- Click to create anchor points for curved paths (by default).
- Select and drag an anchor point while drawing.
- Click on the path to add a new anchor point.
Tip: With the Curvature tool, you can also select anchor points and press Delete or Backspace to remove them or double-click anchor points to convert between a corner or curve.