Create Vector Textures With Your Phone | Justin Miller | Skillshare

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Create Vector Textures With Your Phone

teacher avatar Justin Miller

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (15m)
    • 1. INTRO

    • 2. Taking and Gathering your Photographs

    • 3. Formatting in Photoshop

    • 4. Vectorizing in Illustrator

    • 5. Using Your New Texture

    • 6. Recap & Thanks

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About This Class

In this class, we’ll be taking and converting cell phone images into high-quality vector textures that you can use for current and future projects. You’ll learn everything from the best camera settings on your phone to applying your newly created texture on a piece of type. This class is for both the seasoned designer and the beginner. Some familiarity with Photoshop and Illustrator will help but is not needed.

By the end of this class, you will be able to take a photo with just your cell phone and convert it into a high-quality vector texture with ease!



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1. INTRO: Hi, my name is Justin Miller, and in this class, we're going to learn how to go out and take pictures using just our phone, and convert them into vector textures, that we can use on current and future projects. I've been a professional designer for over 10 years now, working both in- house and for creative agencies. I work as a very tactile hand-on feel, and many the textures and patterns I use are just from photos and different things that have gathered throughout the years. In order to complete this class, all you'll need is Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, or similar type program, and a cellphone. Who is this class for? I'd say this is for the, that you did a season designer, or beginner. Anyone who wants to add that extra little bit of ingredient to your work, make it stand out. Often, you see a lot of the same textures used on the web, whether they'd be free or bought, and having this skill, will allow you to be able to go out and create original textures that you can use for your work and help it stand out. How can you apply these skills? You can go out and gather your own photos, and convert them the textures that nobody else has. Maybe they're unique to your town, the area that you live, but you'll be able to start building a library of textures that only you have and, help your work stand out. By the end of this course, you'll be able to go from just a simple cellphone photo to a high quality vector texture, that you can use for current and future projects. We're going to be taking that texture and applying it to a piece of type just to show a few of the applications that you can do with your newly created texture. Throughout this class, I encourage you to complete each step, and really go out and get photographs, and submit to the class boarding. Give feedback on other people's photographs, and also post yours as well. Thank you so much for signing up for this class. I really appreciate you guys all spending your time with me. I hope you learn something new, and I really look forward to seeing what everybody creates in this class, and I'll see you in the next lesson. 2. Taking and Gathering your Photographs: All right. Welcome back. The first step in our classes is to go out and gather your photographs. You can either do this, as you go, as you run about if you see interesting texture, just snap a quick photo with your phone. For the sake of this class, I went out and just went to a different area that I knew may have some interesting textures. When I'm going out and taking photographs, I usually like to think about the contrast of the item, an interesting texture, a pattern, maybe dust, scratches, dirt, rust, anything that might be able to turn into a vector texture and be of use for a future project. You can really take advantage of moving around and getting different shots with the same subject. But this one boxcar I was able to get 30 or 40 photographs just by moving around, getting closer and further back. And the little bits of ghosts type that was on the boxcar really led for interesting compositions. You can really get a lot of different photographs all from the same thing, just by moving around, getting different shots, whether it be close or further away or just moving around. The shots can totally change just by taking a step to the left or step to the right. You can really build a decent size library just from a few subjects. If you really want to get the most quality photograph from your phone, there's a few things that you can do to really set you up for success. That being, set the focus to set focus. With iPhone, you can do this by just tapping and holding the screen and it will lock the focus on the subject that you're in the photograph. Once this is locked, you can take and adjust the exposure by just sliding up and down. I find that if you just adjust the exposure a little bit lower, you bring out more of the contrast and it leads to a more successful texture in the end. Your homework for this lesson would be to go out and grab 15 or 20 images around your house, your neighborhood, or even your city of different types of images taken with your cell phone of interesting textures that you think might convert to vector a little bit later. Post your few or five images to the discussion board and leave feedback on other student's photos. Next, we're going to jump into Photoshop and learn a few different steps to best optimize our photographs to be vectorized later. See you in the next lesson. 3. Formatting in Photoshop: All right, welcome back. First thing we're going to do is jump into Photoshop. Gather all the images you took with your cell phone. As you can see we can get quite a few photos from just one location. I'm just going to select one at random here. We'll do this one. We'll open with Photoshop. I'm using Photoshop CC 2019. In any of the previous Photoshop will work just fine for this project. There aren't too many steps in Photoshop here. We're going to do just a few things to best optimize for Illustrator in the next video. First, we're going to go down to the Adjustment Layer and select "Threshold". All we're really doing is playing with this levels. You can adjust it lower. This is taking away some of the shadows, this is adding a few of the shadows back, but it's just separating it into two colors that we can later convert into a vector texture in Illustrator. I think I like it right about there. Next, you want to save a new layer with all the adjustments you just made, which is just the one threshold adjustment. To do that, a simple shortcut would be Command, Alt, Shift, E. That is just a non-destructive way to create a new layer with the adjustments you've made. If you're happy with your image, save the JPEG into a file of your choosing. You want to maximize the file size for the best quality in the end hit "Okay". Go ahead and do this for all of your images that you took. All right, now that you know how to do this, that's just a simple edit, the threshold adjustment in Photoshop. Go ahead and edit the photos that you've taken with your cell phone. I'll see you in the next video where we take our edited photo and convert it into a vector texture in Illustrator. 4. Vectorizing in Illustrator: Welcome back. Go ahead and open the edited photo in Illustrator. If you notice when you open the image in Illustrator, the art box is significantly smaller. So just go ahead. A little trick that I found if you click the art board tool here, and then click your artwork just on a corner, it will create a new art board, the exact dimensions of the image there. You can just go and click your first art board, and you can go ahead and get rid of that. Then just click the direct select tool. There are a few steps to turn this into a vector texture. What we're going to do first is go to image trace at the top left corner. This will take a little while because there's a lot of information that it has to process. I did a quick pass through. We want to go in and adjust this a little bit further. The top-left there is image trace panel, go ahead and go into that. Open up Advanced, go ahead and turn off preview. It'll try to render each time we make an adjustment and we'll end up taking a lot longer. We'll go ahead and make a little adjustments to start with, and then we'll hit trace at the end. What I found are literally the best settings with retaining most of the details here. Leave the threshold 128 right in the middle. Since we set that threshold up in Photoshop, we don't really need to do that any further. In paths, go ahead and set that to 100 percent. Corners, 100 percent. Noise, one. You want to turn off snap curves to lines, and you want to turn on, ignore white. At this point, you can go and hit preview so you can get an idea of what your texture's going to look like. It may take a little while because it's a lot of information to process. Let us process the image, go ahead and go up to expand at the top-left. Now you have a vector texture. What is black is black, what is white is now gone. At this point you can do a lot of different things with your texture. You can change the color, you can change the scale, you can make it as big as you want, you can make it as small as you want. It will retain that same detail. If you want to save your file for future use, go to File, save as. I just usually save as an EPS. Then use art boards and save in the location that best works for you. Your homework for this lesson is to take all the photos that you've edited and vectorize them. Go ahead and post your favorite three to the class, and leave a comment on somebody else's texture. In the next video, we'll learn a simple application that we can use our newly created texture. See you there. 5. Using Your New Texture: welcome back. You've created your texture. Now what? In this video we're going to run over one simple exercise to show one application on how you can use your newly created texture. Go ahead and open illustrator and type out a Word, phrase, or, or anything that you think were really pertain to the series of textures that you've gathered. I put together just a short inspirational quote. The first step is to go into your texture library, pick a texture you think would look interesting applied to your typography. I'm going to go with this one here and just drag it and drop it into Illustrator. As you can see, our texture is quite a bit larger than our art board. Go ahead and scale it down, grab a corner and hold shift, and scale it down to the appropriate size. That looks about right there. To begin this process, go and select your texture and hit command C, or go up to the top here and hit Edit, Copy. We'll just copy that to the clipboard for now. Just a little bit smaller there, to better fit the typography, we can copy that again. We're going to be using transparency mask. Go ahead and select here your word or quote and go to the transparency tool here and hit make Mask. What you want to do is select the mask portion. Right now you can't see anything. Go ahead and hit Command V and position it over your typography. We want to uncheck, clip. Now our textures applied to our typography. If you have a real type, you can see a blue bounding box here, and we can take in position and move this around as much as we like. You can also scale the texture up and down. I'm going to push it into a place that I think works best, looks decent there, go ahead and click out of the bounding box, and to exit the mask here, go ahead and click your artwork. Right now that texture is knocked out of our typography. If we take and look at this, you can see that anything that was texture is now gone from our type. You can always go back in and edit your texture by selecting the type, going back to the mask, and you can go in and make any fine adjustments, scale it, change it, do anything that you would like to do there. and whenever you want to exit or complete the effect, just go and click the left image to stop editing the capacity mask, and it'll accept those changes. This is just one of many practical uses. You can use your newly created textures. The nice thing about this being editable, I can still grab this,this is still a vector image. This is just outlined typography. I can select this and I can actually go in and change the colors or do whatever I would like to do as far as customization. This is just one of several applications that you can use your newly created texture. You can apply it to illustrations, you can use it for some subtle texturing maybe an event poster. There's really a lot of opportunities you can use these textures and you can go out and take pictures knowing exactly how you can format the texture, and maybe some practical uses. You can keep that in mind as you're continuing to build your texture library. Your homework for this video is to create a simple five by seven postcard style piece of art using your word, your typography. Your homework for this class is to go ahead and create your own five by seven postcard size piece of art using your word, phrase or quote with your texture applied, and go ahead and post it to the class review board and comment on another person's Art. 6. Recap & Thanks: Just to recap, we have gone from just a simple cell phone image, pulling it into Photoshop, making a minor tweak, and then finally finishing an illustrator and vectorizing a texture. Once you understand these simple steps, you'll start to see texture everywhere. If you just have a cell phone in your pocket, you can capture it and convert it to a vector texture for a wider view. So we've taken our vector texture and we've applied it to type. If you haven't already, make sure you post your type with your vector texture that you created to the class discussion, and also comment on somebody else's type that they've created as well. So in closing, I hope you learned something new in this class. This is not groundbreaking information, but it's maybe something that makes you think a little bit differently. If need be, if you're on a budget in the freelance project, it doesn't call for the purchase of digital assets. You can go out and create your own digital assets specific to the project that you're working on. So thank you so much for sticking around this long and spending your time learning with me. I appreciate your time and I really look forward to seeing what everybody creates. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch in the discussion board. I'll be checking that regularly. If not I am super pumped to see what all of us create.