Digital Illustration: Creating Vector Art From Simple Pictures | Kiril Valtchev | Skillshare

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Digital Illustration: Creating Vector Art From Simple Pictures

teacher avatar Kiril Valtchev

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

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

9 Lessons (24m)
    • 1. Intro to Class

    • 2. What Vector Artwork Is

    • 3. Importing Images Into Illustrator and Framing Your Image

    • 4. Setting Up Our Image With Image Trace

    • 5. Different Color Control Options Using Image Trace

    • 6. Color Profile of Vectors

    • 7. Potential Adobe Illustrator Resizing Issue You Might Experience

    • 8. Creating Your Vector Image With Artistic Effects

    • 9. Exporting Your Vector Piece

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About This Class


In this class I will show you how to take simple pictures and illustrations and turn them into graphic pieces of vector art with Adobe Illustrator.

There is no previous experience required in order for your to be able to create these pieces of vector art. All you need is the newest version of Adobe Illustrator along with an interest and desire to create unique vector art.

Adobe Illustrator is one of the most popular and best pieces of software to use for graphic design. It has unlimited capabilities and can truly allow you to create something unique. 


Class Introduction - What You Will Learn In this Class

What Vector Artwork Is and How it Works

How to Import Images into Adobe Illustrator

How to Set Up our Image with Image Trace

The Different Color Control Options Inside Image Trace and What They Do
- Preset/View/Mode/Palette

The Ideal Color Profile For Creating our Vector

Creating Your Vector

Possible Adobe Illustrator Issue You Might Run Into

Exporting Your Vector

Meet Your Teacher

Hello, My name is Kiril and I'm the creator of I create classes for website design, graphic design and content creation. I have a strong passion for creating websites, unique designs, illustrations and anything that helps people explore their own creativity. 

I have extensive experiencing building websites and absolutely enjoy every aspect of it. 

See full profile

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1. Intro to Class: Hello, and thank you so much for making the decision to take this vector artwork class, vector artwork, skin it ton of popularity over the years. And it's become a creative way for people to convey messages, create logos, design artwork, learn new design skills. And this class we will learn how to create vector artwork in a different and unique way. We'll create our vector artwork from preexisting images in Adobe Illustrator. And this beak in our class, we will learn what vector or worked is, how it works. How to import images into Adobe Illustrator, how to set up her image with image trace, different control options inside them, its trace and what they do. They ideal color profile for creating our vectors, actually creating our vectors. And then finally, how to export our vectors out of Adobe Illustrator. 2. What Vector Artwork Is: And this first video we will go over what vector artwork is, how it works, and some of the different types of vector artwork that exist. So chances are that you have been exposed to vector artwork at 1 or another, but you're just not familiar with that. Vector artwork or simply, vectors are artwork pieces that are made entirely out of vector graphics. These graphics are made up of lots of different points, lines, curves, and shapes that are derived from formulas which are scaled from vector image files. The images can be scaled were modified without losing image quality and Resolution. They're easy to resize and rescale, and they can help you create high-quality graphics. Host vector R. And vector graphics are created directly inside Adobe Illustrator. Due to the fact that vector images and files can be scaled and resize without losing quality and resolution. It means that you're able to easily resize logos, artwork on promotional products and other graphical elements. So if you've ever tried to resize and scale a non vector image file or format like a JPEG or a PSD file, you'll notice that the image tends to become pixelated and somewhat distorted. Also, vector files will tend to end in either ai, dot VPS, SVG, or dot pdf. It's important to note that there are many different categories of vector artwork. Let's take a look at some of the most popular and widely used wants today. Okay, so first we have abstract vector artwork. This type of vector artwork tends to include a combination of highly unique colors, geometric shapes and patterns, some sort of unique space of dimension that's being utilized. And it doesn't directly always resemble anything obvious. Abstract artwork is open for interpretation and tends to be an expression of something unique to the artist or the creator. Next up we have creative vector artwork. Putting together create a vector artwork pieces tends to be more involved and requires more manipulation of graphical elements inside Adobe Illustrator, it tends to be artwork that is used for commercial purposes such as Logo creation, infographics, explainer templates, personal sterilization, creating graphical website elements, illustrate of animated characters, commercial vectors in much more. Next, we have landscaped vector artwork. This personally one of my favorite types of vector artwork because they're simple and fun to create and you can use them as pictures around your house or office. Landscape vector artwork is exactly what you'd think. It's vector artwork that utilizes different landscape locations. In order to create a unique piece of art. This can include mountain ranges, forests, roads, parks, and cities and so much more. They tend to use warm colors and unique color palettes that offset each color component in order to bring the piece together nicely. Next and last on our list as geometric vector artwork. Geometric vector artwork utilizes unique geometric patterns and shapes in order to create artwork elements. They include different shapes and repetition. Shapes, an offsetting direction and magnitude, unique angles and colors, and even full character shapes and those striations in unique colors and blunt. So now that you have a baseline understanding of what vectors are, how they work, and some of the different types of vectors. It's Tumblr and how we will be creating our own vector artwork pieces from pictures. 3. Importing Images Into Illustrator and Framing Your Image: The first part to getting started with creating our vector artwork is finding a high-quality image that we will transform. As part of this class, I've attached some high quality photos for you to vectorize. So feel free to either use those or find some free images online that you can use. I recommend finding some royalty-free images on websites such as on splash, picks up a pack, souls, Flickr, and many others. You should focus on finding an image that has rich, vibrant colors because they're the easiest to turn into vectors without too much manipulation and manual editing and Adobe Illustrator. So before we import our photo and Adobe Illustrator, we're gonna open up Adobe Illustrator and make sure you have the correct window option selected to work with. So once you're at the screen, you want to select the common preset. Once it loads up, what you want to go ahead and do is click over to window. Make sure you have the color option selected, the image Trace option selected, and the Layers option selected. So once you have all three of those selected, your menu should look something like the one I have here on the right hand side. So once you've selected the image, you want to vectorize and next step is to import it into Adobe Illustrator. The way you're gonna do that by going to File Open, select the image that you want to use, and click open. And once it imports it, you'll notice how some of the pictures might be a little too large or a little too small to fit inside the frame preset. So as you can see here is the frame preset. And it's significantly smaller than the actual picture that I got imported in here. Not to worry, this is really easy fix. One option is you can just click and drag the anchors here until they fit inside the frame. That's one option. Another options, if you select the image, go to object transform. And what you're going to go ahead and do is mess with the scale of the image by clicking on scale. And here you can see that you can reduce the picture down to a certain percentage. So we can select 30%. Click OK. And you can see how the picture reduced automatically. And then we can just click and drag and form a Inside the common preset. And then once we have it in here, what we can do is hold down Z for zoom, and then we can zoom in the picture again. So after you have gotten the picture, the inside Adobe Illustrator and inside the frame, and next step is to start editing it. 4. Setting Up Our Image With Image Trace: Now that we ever image import it into Adobe Illustrator, we can start manipulating it and turning into a vectorized image. Before we do that, we're going to briefly go over some of the different image trace options that you have at your disposal. So inside the image trace options here, you have several different options that will determine the result of your image. Trace. Some presets, offer solution for different types of results. And you can manually apply them and see how they alter the tracing of your image. For example, if you select high fidelity photo and the low-fidelity options, you won't really notice too much for change with our image because it's already a high-quality image, the high fidelity option will simply show most of the fine details of the photo. The low-fidelity option will simply smoothed out the picture and separate out two colors more. Below here you see you have three different color options, 3-6 and 16. The three color options will simply reduce or increase the amount of colors that are visible from the picture. Let's take a look at how our photo changes when we adjusted to 16 colors and then back to three. So as you can see, changing our preset to 16 colors limits our photo to only include 16 unique colors and gives it more that vectorized image look. Now let's go ahead and change it to three colors so you can see how the image will change once we only limited to show up three separate colors. So it's just clustering at the moment. And once it's done, you will see the photo will only have three unique colors. So you can see how this changed the whole vectorization of the image. And what you can do is you can toggle with the amount of colors you want your picture to display in order to get that vector field that you're looking for. So now if we change it just to six, you will see how the whole dynamic of the photo will change. And boom, you can see how that changed the image itself. Feel free to toggle with the different color exposure options that you have available until you get the color scheme that you are looking for from your vector piece. It's also worth noting that you have different tracing options available. If you're looking to make your vector into something wild, such as having outlines around your source image, or turning your original photo into something more abstract. Or if you're looking to turn your vector into speck of black and white. So let's just take a look at what it would look like if we turn it into a piece of sketched art. So once we select the, the sketched, our tracing option, you can see it turns it into black and white because that's the default mode for that setting. And you can toggle the threshold to include or exclude more color profiles of black and white. So once we alter that, you can see how the whole image changed and turn into something a bit more abstract into a black and white photo. Now if you wanted to simply have your vector with your photo and only black and white and reduce the amount of detail in the photo, you can select the grayscale mode, which will remove colors from the photo and routine the details. So let's see what happens. So as you can see, all the colors got removed from the photo. And what we can also do is reduce the grayscale accuracy from here. And you'll see how it'll change the actual photo. You can see that this is a slight and subtle difference from the one before, and some of the more aggressive tones got removed from the backend white. So now that you have some of the basics down about important in your image, setting up image trace and toggling with the color profiles, somebody get truly creative and build a unique piece of vector are in a unique style. In the next video, you will see how we will add unique color pallets with custom swatches that will truly give up vector its own unique color scheme. We will also see how we turn our vectors into these three unique styles. And how we can add unique artistic effects to alter the composition and feel of our vectors. 5. Different Color Control Options Using Image Trace: So in this video, we'll go over how to apply custom swatch colors to your vector to give it its own unique feel that doesn't use the default colors that come with the original photo. Now there's a plethora of different color options. You can apply it within the swatches. And you can even add your own custom color palette, which we'll show you how to do. We will also show you how to title the opacity of the photo in order to adjust the appearance of the color cone. It's also worth noting that when you're applying a lot of these different effects and color alterations to your photo. They can consume a decent amount of CPU memory. Just be patient as a computer runs into the effects. We will also show you how to add artistic effects that can truly make your vector unique and abstract. So let's go ahead and get started. So the first thing we'll need to do is enable the swatches. And the way we will go ahead and do that is by going to Window and selecting swatches. From here. What we can do a silicon, the swatch libraries menu. And here is a long list of different swatch options that you can apply to your photo. So let's just go ahead and go with the art history one and select ancient. Once we selected ancient, You can see abrupt this little menu tab which shows you these different colors that are available to apply. So let's just select one of these and then exit out. And the next, what we want to go ahead and do is select the palette section and select the ancient one, which is the one we just applied. So once we select that, it's going to apply those colors that are in the swatches panel. So let's go ahead and let it Render and you'll see what the colors get applied. So as you can see, the colors from the ancient color Tang Gao applied. Now, if we wanted to mess with all the other options that are available in that ancient color palette tongue. We can go ahead and change it. So let's just go change it to Egypt to see how it will affect the photo. So you can see all the colors that are displayed on the right hand side. So it will only focus on using those specified. So you can see how it changed the whole vector and made it into only the colors that are specified in that color palette. So that is one way we can completely alter and make the color palette of the vector truly unique. So let's just go ahead and explore a few more options that are available within the swatches. So again, let's go to windows swatches and explore some of the different ones that are available. So let's just go ahead and select the Pop Art run. So as you can see, these are all the different Popper colors that we have available. So let's just go ahead and select this one. Back to our pallet. Select pop art. So after we select pop art, it's going to go ahead and apply all the color tones that are available within that pallet. So as you can see, it's changing it and boom, it applied all the colors that are available. Now this makes it look truly trippy and something very unique. And if you want it to continue exploring, you could just break it down by the limited amount of colors that are available from the pop art color palette. So let's just go ahead and try this one here, which only has five colors. So it will only apply five colours to the, to the photo. And as you can see, a completely alternate made it really cool and unique. From here you can continue messing around with the different options that you have available. And pick the ones that you really think are going to be what you're looking for. So before we show you how to add your own color palette, we will show you how to control the opacity. Make sure you're under the Properties tab. And the opacity is located right here. The opacity is basically an option in Illustrator, which allows you to control the light and how much of the underlying image you want to show. So this is set to 100% and won't have any transparency. You can toggle it and adjusted as you see fit. But for vectors we tend to leave at much higher. So you can see the color separation between each colorbar clearly. So for example, if we reduce it to 80, it will simply make the picture lighter and more transparent. So the lower you go, the more transparent it becomes. But like we mentioned, we tend to leave at higher for vector. So we can see that color separation. In this next section, we will learn how to create our own color pellet and import it into Adobe Illustrator and apply it to our backer piece. is a color palette generator website which allows you to generate random color palettes or allows you to customize your own. So once you're at the website, what you want to go ahead and do is click on start the generator. And what it will do is it will generate different color pallets from its engine. If you don't like the ones that you see here, we can go ahead and do is click Generate. I'll continue generating others. Once you find a color palette or generate one that you like, you can go ahead and export it out of here and apply it to your vector. Now in order to export the color palette that you want, you want to go ahead and do is click on export and make sure you select the eight.s file extension because this is the file extension that we can import into our swatches panel in order to use it with our vector. So make sure you save that somewhere locally. So after you've saved your color palette, it's time to import it into Illustrator and then apply it to your vector just like we did with the custom swatches before. What you want to go ahead and do a select window. Hover over two swatches. Then from here, select the library's menu, and then select other library. And then from here what we want to go ahead and do is locate the color palette file that we saved and import it. As you can see, these colors here correspond to our color palette, ones that we've created, and colors I co. So what we're going to go ahead and do is select each one. So we can import it into the palette that we're gonna go use. And after you do that, you will see the colors pop-up here. Then what we're going to go ahead and do this exit. Go back to our image trace options, go under the palette and select pout. And this is the one that we just created. And you'll see that custom color palette get applied to your vector. So boom, there goes. That's all the color from a custom palette that we import it. As you can see, it changed the vector and made it something truly unique that corresponds to all the colors that are generated in this palette. Now feel free to mess around and create different ones with different color palettes, or even limited to specific colors that you want to use. But this is something very unique and that you really want find anywhere, super custom. And it's created out of colors that you personally find yourself, which are not the ones that came up, the original photo. And the next section, we will learn how to apply artistic effects to your vector. 6. Color Profile of Vectors: The ideal color profile of your vector can vary greatly based on level of detail that comes with the original photo. There really isn't a direct color profile formula for vectors to use when you're creating them. It's more about the picture and how much of the original photo details and complexities you want to retain. It really comes down to knowing how changing the overall tracing results, color palette and the color distribution will impact the appearance of the vector. Less colors with complex photos will cause more of an abstraction. More colors with high complex photos will retain the structure and feel of the original image. Changing the color palette of the original photo will transform its tone settings and the field. Changing its effects will alter the photo even further and could add another element of abstraction and even completely transformed the original photo. So when you're altering the color profile, your vector, it's really important to know what kind of impact that will have from the original photo as a whole. 7. Potential Adobe Illustrator Resizing Issue You Might Experience: Okay, so I just wanted to make this quick video to show you that a potential issue that you might come across when you're trying to resize your picture, that you import it into Adobe Illustrator. Now this issue can occur depending on the version of Adobe Illustrator that you have and the settings that it comes defaulted with. So what can happen is if you try to resize the picture, it won't actually resize it all. Just move the whole picture around and it will not allow you to resize it to the proper frame. And this is because one of the defaults that comes with Adobe Illustrator is to not show the binding boxes around the image. So in order to fix this issue, what you need to do is go to View and select show bounding box. And once you select that, you will be able to resize the photo. So this is just a heads up in case you come across this issue depending on kind of version that you have of Adobe Illustrator. 8. Creating Your Vector Image With Artistic Effects: So in this next video, we'll show you how to add some cool artistic effects to your vector piece. This is completely optional. If you want to give you a vector, a little bit of extra flair. So the way we add Artistic defects is by going to effect's going to affects gallery. And then from here we have all these different options that we can add to our vector. And as you can see, this first option that defaulted to was the cutoff option. And as you can see it, I'll add out this cool cutout effect to the vector piece. And you can toggle with the number of levels that you want to display of cutouts. The edge simplicity. As you toggle it, you can see how it alters the effect of the vector. And then from here you can explore other artistic defects that are available through the Artistic Effects and Adobe Illustrator. So you can feel free to play around with some of these and see how they alter your vector and how you feel that you want your vector to look. So the more aggressive you get with the toggling of each specific artistic defective as available. The higher likelihood that that effect will cause your vector to become more abstract or have more of an aggressive tongue. So feel free to mess around with some of these and see how they alter the effect of your vector. So for this vector, I think I will go with added grain effect, which you can toggle under the textures. So we'll go ahead and do a site like grain. And then here you can see once you add the grain effect and title with the intensity, you'll see how slowly starts to pixelate the actual image. And it gives, it starts to give it a bit of an historic fields. So this is what I'm going to go with. I'm going to go with a low intensity grain effect. And I'm going to toggle the contrast to see how it impacts the vector. So let us see the lower we go and gets more shaded. So give it a medium to high contrast. So once you toggle it, the grain effect that makes it look very, very interesting and gives it a bit of a nostalgic feel in my opinion. So this is what you can do with the artistic defects. So I'll go ahead and click OK. Once I'm ready to apply it. And you can see added the effect right on top of the vector. 9. Exporting Your Vector Piece: So before we actually export your vector out of adobe illustrated, what we want to go ahead and do is save the Adobe Illustrator file in case you want to come back to it later and make some edits. So what we want to go ahead and do is hover over to File and then Save As. And make sure when you're saving it that you save it under the dot file extension, and that is the Adobe Illustrator extension. In case you want to come back to this later, make some edits that it will have it open with the current settings that you have in place. So that is how you save the appropriate Adobe Illustrator file. After that, if you want to go ahead and export it, what you're going to go ahead and do is hover over to file, export and export as. And then from here you have all the different file extensions that are available to you to export out of Adobe Illustrator. The three most popular file extensions, obviously being the jpeg file, PNG file, and dot PSD, which is the Photoshop in case you want to open up this file in Photoshop and make further edits to it, which is completely up to you. But these are the three most popular file extensions that you have available. So here's a sample of a finished vector that we export it out and PNG. So this is what the full-scale image will look like once you've completed it, added all your effects and then finally exported out of Adobe Illustrator. This lesson officially concludes our class and thank you so much for being a part of it. I hope you've enjoyed it and have learned how to create some stunning vector artwork. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me directly through sculpture and I'll be more than happy to help and please share your work. I'm excited to see some of your creations.