Turn Photos into Vectors with Adobe Illustrator | Lisa Blake | Skillshare

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Turn Photos into Vectors with Adobe Illustrator

teacher avatar Lisa Blake, Artist / Photographer / Designer

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

7 Lessons (23m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. Create a Realistic Vector from a Photo

    • 4. Create an Artistic Vector from a Photo

    • 5. Change the Color Palette

    • 6. Using Filters with Topaz Studios

    • 7. Thank You & Credits

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About This Class

In this class, you will learn how to turn a photo into a vector graphic. The vector graphic can look realistic or a bit more artsy. You will learn how to take it a step further by changing the color palette or by using filters to create a completely different look. I've even used this technique to create the art for my repeating pattern designs. So many options!

This class is for anyone who wants to get more out of their photos and have a little fun turning them into works of art. Most cameras don't produce photo sizes large enough to print wall murals or tapestries without losing quality in the image.

For this class you will need access to Adobe Illustrator and Topaz Studio for the Bonus Lesson.

Topaz Studio is a free software that you can find using the link below (go all the way to the bottom of the screen). Please note, this is different than the paid version called Topaz Studio 2.  https://help.topazlabs.com/hc/en-us/articles/115001521092-Previous-Versions

Meet Your Teacher

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Lisa Blake

Artist / Photographer / Designer


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1. Introduction: Hey there. Welcome to you how to turn your photos into vector graphics using Adobe Illustrator. My name is Lisa Blake. I'm an artist, photographer and designer originally from the Chicago suburbs and currently located in New Jersey. If you've ever wanted to take your photos just a little bit further, or let's say you wanted to create a wall mural or wall tapestry only to find out that your photo size was a little too small. This class is for you in this class. I'm going to show you just how easy it is to turn your photo into a vector graphic. You could make a realistic version of your photo or a more painterly and artistic version. I'm also going to show you how to change the color palette as well as apply filters using Topaz studios to create a totally different look. I am so excited you're here. Let's get started 2. Class Project: Okay, guys, for your class project, it's super simple. All you need to do is upload a J peg image of the vector graphic that you created from your photo. I cannot wait to see your results. 3. Create a Realistic Vector from a Photo: this lesson. I'm going to show you how easy it is to turn your photo into a realistic looking vector. So I'm in Adobe Illustrator, and I'm going to create a new file. I will make my file size be 2000 by 3000 pixels and then under advanced options, I'm going to click the drop down menu and for color mode, I'm going to leave it at RGB color and for raster effects, it will be at high 300 peopie. I create the file. Now, what I want to do is place my photo into this file. So I'm gonna go to file place, select the photo that I want to use and double click of my mouse up to the corner at the top and click, and this will place the photo into the file. Now I want to resize this and make it bigger. So if I go down to the corner until it turns into this double arrow and then hold down the shift key on the keyboard and then click and drag Now with the file still selected, I want to go over here to image trace. If you don't have this window open. You can go up to the window menu and then just select image trace. So I'm going to use the preset and do a high fidelity photo. This is going to process the photo into a very realistic looking vector. It'll take a minute or so for the processing. Now I'm going to go up to you objects and expand. We're gonna leave both of these checked and click. OK, now, if I do command and the plus key, it will zoom this image and see you can see a little bit better how it has created all of these different paths. And this is essentially what a vector is is a bunch of different paths that are computer generated. I'm going to zoom back out and I'm gonna do file export export as And I'm just going to named this yellow flower Pacific Coast Vector. I want to change it to a J. Peg and I do not want to select use art boards. If I selected use our boards. The white area of this page would also be saved, and I just want the image itself. I'm going to leave the color model Is rgb the quality as 10. The resolution as 300 peopie I and I like to check Mark to embed my profile. I like to use the adobe RGB 1998. You could also use the S RGB. There's a couple different ones. Those are the two most popular click OK, I just want to come over here and show you This is theory Jinling Photo file and the dimensions of this file are 7 68 by 10 24 and now if we go over to the vector file that we just created the dimensions are 80 to 66 by 11,022 and that is a pretty significant difference in size. It's a lot bigger and since the file is so much bigger, I am able to use it for a lot more things that can be printed without losing the integrity of the image itself joined me in the next lesson where I'll show you how to create a more artistic version of this photo 4. Create an Artistic Vector from a Photo: Welcome back in this lesson, I'm going to show you how to create a more artistic version of the same photo. So we're going to do the same thing, create a new file. We will leave the size at 2000 by 3000 pixels and the color mode as RGB and the Raster effects as high 300 peopie I and we're going to click create. We'll go up to file in place and will use the same photograph. Come up to the corner at the top and click. Go down to the corner of the photo and find the double arrow. Hold down the shift, click and drag, and then release. Come on over here to image trace. But this time we're gonna use the preset of low fidelity photo. And this is going to essentially, um, use less colors in the image, and so it will look a little bit more artsy rather than realistic. So now, as you can see, it looks more painterly. There are different options. You can play around with these presets here, um, for the photographs, I would stay at shades of gray or above these other ones down here. Don't really produce much of anything when it comes to a photo, and so if you see 16 colors, it will convert it to only use 16 colors in this photo. And so, as you can tell, all the yellow colors went away from the flowers, and it's just mostly green, gray and blue. You can also move this colors if you want to, to select how many colors you want to show. So if we do 30 it brings back a little bit of the yellow coloring, which I think is kind of nice. So I actually like the low fidelity photo the best. So I'm going to change it back to that. And once it's done processing, I'm going to go up. Teoh object. I need to make sure the file stays selected with the blue line around it. I'm going to go upto objects and expand, and then I'm going to go to file an export export as and I'll just make this file name as vector to change it to the J Peg And do you export RGB color model quality of 10 high 300 peopie I resolution and check Mark the embed profile Click OK, so there you have it. Now you have two different types of files. One is a very realistic version of your photograph. And what is a more painterly version of your photograph? And since the file sizes air so large, you conduce so many different things with thes. Join me in the next lesson where we will convert a photograph of a flower into a vector, and I'll show you how you can change the colors. 5. Change the Color Palette: in this lesson. We're going to take a photo of a flower created into a vector and then I'm going to show you how to change the colors. So we're gonna go over here to create new and do the same thing we've done in the previous lessons. We'll leave the file size at 2000 by 3000 pixels. The color mode at RGB color raster effects at high 300 peopie I click create. Okay, so I'm gonna go up to file place. She's my picture. And this here is telling me that the destination, which is the Adobe Illustrator file, is in Adobe RGB 1998 color mode. And the source file, which is my flower photograph is in s RGB color mode. And so they're telling me that there is a mismatch in the color profiles and asking me what do I want to dio? So because I wanted to be adobe rgb, I'm going to do, convert and click, OK, go up to the top corner and click Find that double arrow at the bottom of the photo, hold down, shift and drag With the image selected, I'm going to come over to image trace and just for more of unease of showing you how to edit the colors. I'm going to choose the 16 colors, and this is just telling me that because the images large, it might take a while for it to process. I'm going to go up to objects, expand, click OK, and then I'm going to go to edit edit colors and then select re color artwork. And this window here is showing me the different colors that are within this image. And they're 16 because we converted it to the 16 colors. So let's say we want to turn the pink into purple so we can come over here. So this year is the color that it is now, and this year is the color that it will turn into been a double click and find a shade of purple. I think I like that one. We'll do that on. And this fun this son that on. And if you notice I'm only finding the color of purple, I'm not changing darkness or lightness of that color purple. I want to leave it in the same spot as the pink so that the coloring kind of fits together And so there you have it. Now it's more of, Ah, lavender, purple kind of color rather than a pink, and you could see the background to a different color if you wanted to just play around with it. It's kind of a little a little addicting at times to just see what you can come up with with different shades and different colors. We're gonna leave it at this click, OK, and then you can go ahead and do file export export as it will change this to Purple Vector do A J Peg and click Export. Now, another thing that you could do, which I've used for my pattern designs is you can select this image. You can UN group it. You might have to do this a couple times for it to completely UN group, and now you have. Each individual section of color is on its own. They're no longer group together, and so what you could do is just select a bunch of them and hit the delete key, and it will remove the background for you. The other thing you can do is select 11 little color, go up to select same and select fill color, and it will select everything that that has that same color, and you can delete it that way. The only problem with that is like here in that flower. There's a little bit of that green. So if that's going to cause a problem for you, then you're gonna want to do it individually and not select this one. And we can just keep doing that for all the colors and this will. Actually, it'll help to not have the little dots that appear everywhere. Like if there's a one little dot of a shade of green, it might show up in those congee hard to get fully deleted. So by doing it this way, you're making sure to select everything that you wanted to leave Way are just left with the flower. I'm going to delete thes stragglers out here. Now you can just use the mouse to click and drag, highlight everything right click and group that altogether. And now you can use this to create another piece of artwork, and you can put on a different background behind it. You can create copies of it and do multiple flowers. You can do all sorts of things with us. But it's kind of a cool way to take a piece of a photograph and turn it into an actual piece of art. So it's just a little added bonus to this lesson. Join me in the next lesson, which is the bonus lesson where I'll show you how to use Topaz Studio to create alternate versions of your photo. 6. Using Filters with Topaz Studios: welcome to the bonus lesson in this lesson. We're going to take the photographs that you turned into vectors, and we're going to bring them into Topaz studios. From here, we can use all kinds of different filters to change the look and style of your vector. I provided the link for the download for the program. In the class description. It's a free download. They do have a paid version of the program called Topaz Studio to, but just the regular legacy version of Topaz Studio should be free. Yes, I'm in Topaz Studio and I'm gonna open up our vector file. So now you can see on the left hand side of the screen. There are a bunch of different options, different kinds of filters that you can use. I'm just going to click on all of thm, and if you just click on it, it will change your image to show the filter. And if you like something, you can do the little heart here and add it to your favorites so that you don't have to go through all of these. As you can see, there is a lot there 16 pages you can just click through and see which ones you like, and you can create a whole bunch of different kinds of artwork. So there's tons of different filters that are already created for you. But you can go through and use, and I mean literally spend hours going through all these things. You can also go over here and make your own adjustments. I have not tried this part of it yet. I've only so far been using the filters, Um, but there's like just so many different options that you can do now. If we close out this one, we can bring in our flower photo. It takes a minute for the filters toe load up, and so you can do this on photographs to and make really cool looking images. So you've decided one that you like and one that you want to save. You can go up here and do a save as and then I usually just changed the name to show which filter it used. So I do this because I typically do save more than one different filter. I like them all. There's so many different ones that I really, really like and do you okay now? just a point. Um, if you go down to the right and use the save button, it will overwrite your image. So you really want toe? Go back up and do the save. As so you don't overwrite your photograph unless it you already made a copy of it. So that's all. And I hope that you've enjoyed this little bonus lesson and you go and have lots of fun playing with the filters. 7. Thank You & Credits: Thank you so much for taking the time to take this class. I hope that you had a ton of fun turning your photos into vector graphics, playing around with different color palettes and filters. Please remember to upload your J Peg file to the class project section. I know that this could be an easy thing to skip. I've skipped it myself multiple times, but this one is super easy. It will only take you a minute or two and I really look forward to seeing your results.