How to easily digitize your Calligraphy & Lettering using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop | Nicki Traikos | Skillshare

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How to easily digitize your Calligraphy & Lettering using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop

teacher avatar Nicki Traikos, Letterer, Watercolorist & Instructor

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

    • 1.

      Introduction to how to digitize your calligraphy & lettering


    • 2.

      How I decide whether to use Illustrator or Photoshop


    • 3.

      My top reasons for using Illustrator to create vectors


    • 4.

      How to take a photo of quote


    • 5.

      How to use the image trace tool


    • 6.

      How to clean up your vector fina


    • 7.

      How to save your vector file


    • 8.

      Benefits of using Photoshop & scanning


    • 9.

      How to use photoshop to digitize


    • 10.

      Saving Photoshop file and using it in Illustrator


    • 11.

      Closing & final remarks


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About This Class

So you've taken my calligraphy or waterbrush lettering classes, you've practiced and you're hooked! What's next?!  Learn how to digitize your lettering to maximize your new skill and open creative doors and opportunities!

Maybe your goal is to see your calligraphy printed on things like notebooks, phone cases or even bedding.  Maybe you want to print your own greeting cards or art prints that you can sell and earn a side income from.

Whatever your goal is, I will take you step-by-step through my digitizing process using both Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop 

Who is this class good for?

This class is great for anyone who has an interest in learning how to digitize their calligraphy lettering and explore all the options that digitizing offers.  You don't have to be a pro at either Illustrator or Photoshop, however, understanding basic navigation in the programs like where to find your tools etc is good to know.  Otherwise, I will take you step-by-step and show you exactly what to know to digitize easily and quickly.

I will take you through my thought process for deciding which method is best for your project goal and how to achieve the best quality finish.  All of these decisions are made even before I start the digitizing process.

What you need for this class is your calligraphy project in mind, access to Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, a scanner, your phone or a camera will help so that you can capture a digital image of your lettering before we create a digital file of it and lastly, a notebook to make notes from class! I do this with every class that I take, so I have quick reference to what I learn and can write the steps down.  Writing the steps down also help you remember what to do when you are just learning!   That's it!

If you are looking to learn calligraphy or brush lettering or want to grow your calligraphy and lettering skills, go ahead and check out my previous classes where I teach you everything you need to know to get started or to grow your calligraphy skills! 

Introduction to Modern Calligraphy Using a Dip Pen & Ink for beginners

Learn Brush Lettering Using a Waterbrush Pen for Beginners

Have a look at my teacher profile for a complete list of classes that I am teaching.  Be sure to click follow to be notified of new classes when they become available. 

Click enrol and let's get started digitizing!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Nicki Traikos

Letterer, Watercolorist & Instructor


First of all, welcome to Skillshare! I've been a student of this amazing platform for years and have learned valuable, new skills, and techniques that I use in my current creative business to this day!!

I love all things watercolor & modern calligraphy lettering related.  I work in a variety of mediums such as; watercolor, guache and acrylics, to designing patterns, working on commissions & even create tattoo designs! 

A little fun fact?!

I started my creative home based business,  life i design when I was 40 and haven't looked back!  This creative business of mine, has allowed me to stay at home to raise my kids into the independent teenagers that they are today!!  It's never too late to try, to do, and to... See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Introduction to how to digitize your calligraphy & lettering: Hi there, I'm Nicki Triakos of Life I Design. Welcome to how to digitize your calligraphy and brush lettering using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. In this class, I'll take you step-by-step through my process of digitizing my hand lettering. Being able to digitize your lettering is the next gradual step, if you're looking to build on your calligraphy experience or use your calligraphy work for multiple uses online, maybe with clients, perhaps you're working on some logo designs or even when working on a wedding suit. If you're looking to learn how to digitize your lettering, I will take you step-by-step through my process, when I create digital versions of my lettering, I'll talk to you about why I choose Adobe Illustrator over Photoshop sometimes, the limitations that you'll probably encounter along with digitizing your lettering, then again, taking you step-by-step through my process will allow you to digitize your lettering in a quick and easy way. This class is really great for anyone who does have some calligraphy or lettering experience and you have a project in mind that you want to create a digital file from. However, if you don't have lettering and calligraphy experience and you're looking to digitize your artwork. You'll learn some tips and tricks in this class too. If you are curious about learning calligraphy with me or brush lettering, go ahead and check out one of my beginner classes, they're really great starting point. In this class, I'll take you through my step-by-step process of how to digitize lettering, we'll be using our phone to take photos and images of our hand letter design. I'll also be using my scanner as well so that I can get a really clean scan of anything that's done and marvel watercolor lettered styles so that I can maintain the texture and even the transparency differences within the watercolor. If you want to see some of your hand lettering on cool products like this notebook, maybe some Waller and phone cases, digitizing your hand lettering will allow you to upload any digital files to print on demand sites, again to send to clients. It just allows you to grow your lettering and calligraphy experience, skill, and potentially business if this is something that you're looking to do, to add maybe a little bit of income with your passion. This is the next step that I would recommend you learn after you've learned how to hand letter, do calligraphy and create some really solid stylized lettering. If digitizing or lettering is something you're looking for, go ahead and click enroll, and I'm excited to get started. 2. How I decide whether to use Illustrator or Photoshop: Welcome to class. I'm excited you decided to join me. When I look at digitizing my hand lettering, I look at a few things. What do I want the end result to be like? Do I want it to be very clean-lined and precise looking? Do I want there to be texture and to be able to see variation in my lettering to still maintain a hand-drawn quality? Do I want the file to be really large or do I need it just to fit maybe on a business card? The reasons why I ask myself all these questions is because there are different processes that I use for when I digitize my hand lettering. For instance, if I want to upload some artwork to use on a print on demand site, I want to make sure that I create that piece of artwork large enough so it goes on a variety of items. Imagine the artwork needs to be able to be blown up and go on a wall mural or a tapestry. If you're starting with a little letter design and it needs to be blown up, I'm thinking I want to create a vector of that piece of artwork. In order to create a vector, I use Adobe Illustrator. Don't worry, I'll talk to you a little bit more about what a vector is if that's unfamiliar territory for you. When I am looking at that same piece of artwork and it needs to be printed on a phone case, for instance, it's okay if that piece of artwork needs to be shrunk down. It won't lose any of its quality of resolution and blurriness. It'll still be very crisp and clear. That's something that you want to think about. What's the end-use for that piece of lettering or artwork? Perhaps I'm working with watercolor and I want to maintain that texture in my lettering when I digitize. Sometimes when I work in Adobe Illustrator and create vectors, the lettering will start to look digital versus a hand-drawn. That's okay if that's something that you want. I tend to use vectors often when I am creating large pieces of lettering work that I digitized. However, if I do want to maintain that quality and feel of hand lettering, I definitely use Photoshop for that. However, in Photoshop, you're very limited to how large you can go depending on how you've scanned your artwork and how you've saved it. I'll teach you some shortcuts and workarounds that I learned over the last few years with working with Photoshop. Before we get started with the first way that I digitized, I want to talk to you a little bit about your tools. When working in Adobe Illustrator in creating vectors, I really use just my phone to take a photo and make sure it's a flat image of my lettering. I use a program called Faster Scan that I've been using probably for the last seven years to create a black and white version of that lettering and then I upload that image, it's a JPEG, that I bring into Adobe Illustrator. Hopefully, you have a phone or camera that you can use. As long as you can create a really crisp black and white image, you can use your phone app or use a program like Faster Scan. That's perfect. Being able to upload it to your PC, Mac, whatever you choose to work on into Adobe Illustrator. Which you can get for free at, there is a trial version that you can download. Those are the only things really that you'll need. When working in Adobe Photoshop, I always use a scanner. I have a Canon scanner that I like to use and I can scan at 600 DPI, which is a really high resolution. It creates a big file, but again, I'll show you how to play around with the resolution and increase your file size to maximize how large you can get with your Photoshop design. Just like the intro, I recommend that you have a pen and paper handy or notebook so that you can make notes. As I go through the process, you'll be able to write down shortcuts and steps, so that you remember when it comes time for you to start digitizing your artwork. Remember, you'll have lifetime access to this class so if you need to re-watch videos. I did the same way I was learning how to digitize. In fact, I still take classes to this day from other artists, lettering designers, because there's always new things that you can do to help streamline your process and to overcome obstacles if you've come across them as you start to work. Let's get started with creating vectors from your hand lettering. 3. My top reasons for using Illustrator to create vectors: Welcome to the Adobe Illustrator and vector creating portion of this class. What I'll do is use a hand lettered quote that I've done with a dependent Inc. I tend to create vectors from my dependent ink designs because I don't mind that it looks a bit digitized once we've created the vector, I actually want a very clean and opaque version of my lettering. If I was thinking about doing a quote, but I wanted to have printed on wall art or tapestry or phone cases, I would like a bold black and white design. Its just my personal preference. Creating a vector of that lettering is great for that purpose. What is a vector? A vector is a file type that we can only create using Adobe Illustrator. When you create a vector file of your artwork or design, you're able to create it or make it as large as you possibly can to the point of infinity. There is no boundaries and it doesn't matter how far you go with how large your file is, it will still maintain a really crisp and smooth quality to it. Vectors are really great for when you're working with manufacturers, where they need to have the flexibility of being able to create a large file size for creating print. Whether they're printing on fabric or on tabletops, whatever their purpose is, a vector image or a vector file is what you'll need to create in that case. Pros and cons to working in Illustrator, I find you'll again lose that handmade quality sometimes depending on how you create the image trace and that vector file. Other than that, I personally love working in Adobe Illustrator. It's a program I know better than Photoshop, and I find that I can pretty much do anything I need with vectors in Adobe Illustrator. Let's get started. Go ahead and follow along with me. If you'd like, go ahead and pick a quote that you've lettered and let's get to digitizing. 4. How to take a photo of quote: Let's capture an image of our hand lettering quote that we'll be using. This one will save for scanning, and Photoshop. I've created this hand lettered quote," do with patience". I figured it would be a really great quote to work with for this class. I used watercolor, and a brush pen to letter this quote. I'II save that for when we use our scanner, and our Photoshop process. For right now, I'll be using this version of, "do it with patience" that I created using a pen, and ink, and I imagine it to be used on very large items. I'll be using Adobe Illustrator to print a vector, and I want the lines to be very opaque, and smooth looking. In order to capture an image of your lettering, what you need to do is make sure that you use your phone or your camera, whatever you choose. I'm using the camera on my phone, and I want to make sure that I capture an image where it's parallel to your lettering. You don't want your phone to be on an angle. If you take an image at an angle of your lettering, then it's going to be skewed, and look really bad. What you want to do is make sure that your phone is parallel to your lettering. Just capture a really bright image. I tend to work next to a window whenever I'm taking a photo of my lettering, that's is a good tip. I've studio lights on to record this class, I don't have to worry about what lighting is coming in from the window. Take a very crisp, and clear image of your hand lettering, and I'll show you how to go ahead, and create a black, and white version of it that will upload to Adobe Illustrator. Here we are on the phone. We've taken a photograph of our quote, we're going to go ahead, and open faster scan, I can show you how to use this program. Let me go ahead, and search for faster scan on my phone. Here we go. What we're doing now, is opening up the image using faster scan program. We will click on the photograph icon. It'll call up your photos. Find the photo of the quote that you've taken, and open that up, click Next. Once you've selected it, your detection box will allow you to crop just the portion that you'd like to use that we will use to digitize in Illustrator. You can move the little circles around so that you can just select a smaller portion of your photograph. Click Next, and we're going to go ahead, and select black and white. You can see at the bottom there there's original color, black, and white. You can change how bright the image is, really if you want a crisp black, and white image to work with. We select Next you can see that it's selected down there at the bottom. We're going to choose that image that we will send to ourselves via e-mail as a JPEG file. Make sure it's a JPEG very important. Go ahead, and e-mail at yourself, and that way you have a JPEG black, and white version of your lettering that will be perfect for us to use as a vector to digitize. You can go ahead, and delete that image, and we're ready to go. 5. How to use the image trace tool: Okay. Let's go ahead and open our Illustrator program and go to "File", "Open". I'm going to open recent because I've just opened this quote to make sure that I have it available. File open allows us to open the JPEG that we took of our do it with patience [inaudible]. Yes, I did spell it incorrectly at first, I don't know actually if I've captured that but always make sure that you verify your spelling before you start working on any final digitizing with your quote, there's a tip for you. In our Illustrator program, you can see there's a lot of tool functions that I have already set up. You can customize your tools and your windows, so that you have the tools that you use most with the program whenever you're using it. I tend to do a lot of layouts and image tracing, which is what we'll be using to digitize our vector here. If you don't have the image tracing tool, which is this one right here, I'll hover over it. Image trace. I can open it there and then minimize it using the arrows. Go ahead and go to window and in this window, it'll give you all of the tools that you can have access to on your dashboard and you want to look for image trace. All you have to do is click on it and then it'll automatically pop open for you on Adobe Illustrator. Okay. Right now I'm going to minimize it. When I was learning how to vectorize, I always found that it was difficult to start the image trace and a very simple thing that I learned, is to make sure that you select the image. I've just clicked on the image. I'm going to go ahead and use command and the minus keys, so that I can make my art board a little bit smaller, there's my incorrect spelling there. If I click away, you can see the blue box that's highlighted around my image disappears. That means that I haven't selected anything. If I go to image trace, you can see that all of my options are light gray. It means I don't have access to anything. I can't select anything because we haven't told Adobe Illustrator that this is the document that we want to image trace. Okay. Make sure you have your selection tool selected. You're going to click on the document, so that it is highlighted in blue, which means that it's been selected and then you'll go ahead to your image trace tool and open it up. Here we have a lot of different options in terms of how we create vector paths with this image trace tool. For now and for just beginning purposes, we'll create a black and white version of our lettering. Here where it says preset, you want to click on it and select "Black and white logo". You'll see that it'll start working already. Right now it's working to create vectors or points out of these quotes right here. I'm going to go ahead and zoom in a little bit more, so that you can see how we're missing a lot of our fine strokes and we want to make sure that we capture those fine strokes. Go ahead and open. I'm going to expand the advanced portion of this tool and make sure that my threshold, you can play around with how much of the lines you want to capture by sliding your slider back and forth. Okay. Play around with it. You can always close the document without saving, so that you can go ahead and work with it again, if anything really messes up. That's something that's good to know as you're learning. I'll go ahead and bring up my threshold. Maybe what I'll do is I'll scroll through the document to see if there's a better one for us to work with. This just means that my fine line was a little too fine when I was drawing it out. If you are using a pointed pen, make sure that A, your lines are strong enough so that you can capture a good quality image of it or B, make sure you're black and white is a higher quality. Here, I probably could have taken a better photo of my line work and this one seems to be good. That's why I like to do it a few times. I'll show you how we can use different aspects. Maybe if I wanted to use this part of do it with patience, I'll be able to capture once we've created a vector of this line work. I can see that there's a bit of jaggedness. I'll show you how to clean that up afterwards as well. Playing around with your threshold will allow you to make sure that you capture all of your lines and that everything is a really nice clean quality because it actually saves you time when you start to smooth out all of your points. Okay. When we create a vector, we'll see tiny little dots which are paths that actually form the lines that create the shapes in our lettering. What we can do is choose to have less paths, making our file document smaller but you can see what happens, our points are less, which means our line work becomes more jagged. If I increase our paths, it will actually allow our points to be really nice and smooth. Again, the only thing that I have to warn you about is your file sizes will become very large the more paths you create. But just make sure that it looks good. You want to make sure that it reflects your lettering and that your curves are nice and smooth and flowy. I can see I've got some jagged edge here, which I can clean up later. Now, moving down to corners. If I go ahead and drop the corners, you'll see that automatically it tends to smooth out. Remember how that was a little bit jagged, what I'll do is go ahead and really zoom in on this point. If I go here to corners, its starts to smooth out our edges a slight bit. If I turn it up, it'll create more of a harder line, so you can see it's not as smooth there. Let's go ahead and reduce that down. I like the shape of that. I know I don't have to touch that up. There are some points that I can see, I will have to touch up but I'm liking that. There isn't a rule in terms of what your threshold, paths, corners, numbers should be. I adjust and tweak depending on how I want the finished product to look and with every single lettering, quote or a job that I do. Now, noise just basically means it'll get rid of excess shapes and lines but then I find this E here close up our openings. If I reduce that down and I like to bring it down as low as possible, again, I can see I've got some jaggedness there, which I'm not loving but I'll show you how to clean that up after we turn it into a vector. I'm going to zoom out here, so that we can see. This is pretty much the quote I'll be working with. When I zoom out, I quite like it. I do know that I've got some jagged edges again that I'll want to clean up but I'm feeling like that's a really great digital version of my lettering. For the rest, I don't worry about creating fills and strokes and options, I tend to leave those alone. My tracing result will be what we see as we work and I'm working in black and white. We can do color and gray scale versions of your lettering but for right now, we're working in a black and white version. Okay. When you get to the point where you feel like your lettering looks great, you're happy with it, what you want to do is you want to expand your tracing results. Everything you see here, we are going to expand the lettering and you can see how it's now selected in blue, if I hover over. That's not the one we want to use. You can see that, it is blue and selected and every line has a number of points. I'll go ahead and minimize my tracing window. I'll scroll out a little bit. Now, what we want to do is we want to make sure that we ungroup everything because everything you see on your art board here, is selected, it is image traced and points have been created from it. What I want you to do is click away from your art board and click back, so you know exactly where your cursor is and what you've selected. I want you to right click on your mouse and I want you to select "Ungroup". Because when we do an image trace, the image trace tool will select everything. After you hit "Ungroup", I want you again to click away, so that you can unselect everything. If I click on my white background and move it down, you can see that that is a piece onto its own and look at that cool outline of what it's selected. You can delete that and you can see that our fills are still white because that was the color of our background. A little trick, so you don't have to go and delete, select, delete, select, delete, that's monotonous and it is time consuming. What you want to do is go ahead and pick a white fill and I want you to go to "Select" at the top of your toolbar here. You're going to go down to "Same" and down to "Fill color". When you select that, your program knows that everything that is white on this page is selected. You don't have to do it yourself and go ahead and hit "Delete". Now, the reason why this is white here is because that is the parameter of my art board, which you can control here. It is white because that is my working art board and that's the way I've setup my Illustrator program, so that my background is always white. Now, that we've created vectors of all of our bits of lettering, I will show you what to do in the next video. 6. How to clean up your vector fina: Now that we've used our image trace tool to create vectors of our lettering, I'll go ahead and command plus sign to zoom in for you a little bit. You can see when I select one of the lines or vectors. This is an entire path because it's all joined together. I go ahead and zoom in tight and select. You can see it's just disappeared there, but there are multiple points, I'll use this. This is a direct select tool. What it allows you to do is select an actual point in the path here. When I select the word patients because it's all attached, it considers this to be one entire group. So you can't unselect a certain point because it is all attached. There are different tools that you can use to cut your points, but for now, I just want you to take notice of all of these different paths. That's when I talk to in the last video about the more paths you have, the larger the file is. These points are each a single path, so you can control how many of these you have. But if you have less paths, your line work becomes less smooth. I hope you got that. Now what I'm going to do is go ahead and maybe what I'll do first actually, is let's go ahead and pick what we'd like out of all the different versions of lettering. We know that this version is incorrect. I'll go back to my selection tool. The spelling is incorrect, so I'll go ahead and delete it so it's completely gone. Make sure I get [inaudible] gone too. I'm not crazy about this because it is very jagged. I don't like that. There's pieces missing. This part of, do it with, not crazy about, so go ahead and delete it. I know that I like this the best, however, I want you to see if I wanted to select this version of, do it with. I'll go ahead and move it around together. When I have lettered a quote or working on a job, I literally pick little bits and pieces of different versions of the quote that I like, and that I want to maybe use and play around with. Again, I don't love this. I'll go ahead and delete it; making sure it's delete everything. But when I get to a point where I think this is really what I want to work with, I go ahead and select everything. On my keyboard, it's just command C to copy. Or you can go to Edit, Copy, and what I've done is holding down my left mouse button. I'm creating a box around everything that I want to bring with me. I'm going to select Edit, Copy and we'll do File, New. So if I'm working on uploading to print on-demand site, I like to create a very large file that it is out of pixels. I usually start with around 6,500 pixels by 6,500 pixels and I work in CMYK or RGB, depending on which site you're uploading to. RGB is an acronym for red, green, blue, and that is for anything that's online, website-related, that's your color profile. CMYK is an acronym for cyan, magenta, yellow, and K is for black, and that is to create printer files. So RGB is fine for what we'll be using this quote for. Let's say we want to upload it to print on-demand sites, you'll go ahead and hit "Create". It gives us a new art board. Everything that you see is white as our art board. If I select it, it shows you up here that our width is 6,500 pixels by 6,500 pixels, which is what we stipulated when we created this new file. So I'll go back to my selection tool or just hit V to get back to your selection tool. Now we want to make sure that we can paste. So go ahead and hit Command V to paste what we've selected into our art box, or you can always do edit, paste. Now you can see how small the lettering is on our 65 by 65. Remember, I talked to you about the file size and making sure that you're able to adjust your files, your lettering. If I were to expand, so go ahead and select my lettering, and I want to hit Shift as I am dragging so you can see how much bigger I'm making my lettering. Because if I hit Shift while I'm dragging and then release both, you can see that my lettering hasn't been distorted. If I were to select this entire quote and then just click and start dragging with my mouse, my left mouse button as what I've chosen to select, you can see that my lettering is becoming a little bit distorted. If I let it go, that looks odd and bizarre, and I would never use that. It's very important when you're selecting, I'll just go ahead and hit "Undo", which is Command Z. It's very important to know that when you select your lettering that you want to use, you want to make sure that you select shift and drag your lettering as big as you want so that it maintains the width and the height of your lettering, and it doesn't distort it. Very important. So with vectors, again, you can make your lettering as large as you like. If I go ahead and zoom in, you can see that it's still very clean and hasn't become distorted or fuzzy at all. Now that our do it with patience is a vector, you can see that I can move around bits and pieces. Now if I move around it, you can see that the dot of the i isn't grouped with it, because they're not connected, but the rest of the word is completely connected. So this is a vector onto its own. What I'll do is just hit "Undo" in order to group them. I can see that my i needs to be moved over a little bit. I'll go ahead and left-click, zoom in a bit more, and I'll move it over so that it sits directly on top of the eye. That's much better. Now, what I want to do is select it all. Again, using my left mouse button and my direct select tool or my selection tool, go ahead and group them together by creating that bounding box. What I want to do is hit Command G to group them. You can also select your right-most button. I'll go ahead and ungroup. If I want to group them again and don't remember the shortcut, I select everything, right mouse button and group. Now if I move the word it, that dotted i comes with it because I've grouped the dot and the joined letter forms, which is our INT together. We'll just go ahead and close my outlook so it doesn't. Again. There we go. This is now a vectored quote that I can manipulate and move around if I wanted to make "with do it" larger, I just create my bounding box around "do it." Remember to hit "Shift" so that I can create a larger version of "do it" and it doesn't become distorted. If I want "with" to be smaller, go ahead again, zoom in. I will hit "shift" and create a smaller version of "with" by moving one of the corners. If I decide to move the "H" on its own without having selected the entire word, you can see what happens there. It disconnects. That looks pretty good to me. I'll go ahead and again, select all four letters and we'll right-click "create group." Now if I wanted to just move the word, I know that I won't leave any letter behind. It's really important to group your lettering together when you're working on large quotes, because you don't want to leave pieces of the word behind. I, myself tend to do that quite a bit when I'm working on large projects. If I don't group something together, I often missed "I's". You can see how I've moved "patience" around and that "I" is not connected. I'm going to lose that "I" and sometimes the entire docket is lost just as you're working. Really, with every path being a vector on its own, you're able to control so much. If I select the word "do" and just go over to my color palette here, I'll select this "pink." You can change the colors of your lettering quite easily. Let's do another pink version here and patience. I've selected the entire thing hopefully with the "I" if I go ahead and recolor, so it didn't select the "I's." That's a good indication for you to go ahead and select both. What I did was, I do that again. I clicked on the dot, I hit "shift," and I clicked on another point in the word "patience." Now everything is selected together. Go ahead and command "G" or right-click "group." Now if I go to recolor, it will select everything in that word. Vectors are great for flexibility in size. We can go ahead and resize your lettering to as large or as small as you like. Perhaps I want to use this version of "do it with" because it is entirely selected. I can move this to the left and that's why I tend to do. I move things back and forth, in and out of my art board and play around with how it'll look. That's pretty neat and it has a little bit of personality with "do it." I find this is maybe a little bit hard to read. I could, because these are individual points. I could drop the "I" if I choose. That's fun because it has movement and flow. I would actually turn the "O" here. What I did was selected the,"O", I'll go ahead and move in. Selected the "O" and I just grab my little side point here. You can do it again at the top, but see how I've got that little navigation arrow shows me what direction I'm going. I can adjust and tweak my lettering so that it is nice and straight. I can see my "t" is leaning a little bit. Once you adjust that lane, you can see the other letters need to follow. That is how you can manipulate a color, size, etc. One last thing I want you to see in Adobe Illustrator is how we can fix little imperfections like this bump here. The way we do that is we select with our select tool, that portion of the words and we're going to see that it is all selected. I'm going to zoom in because I want to smooth out this bump. If we go over to, here we go, to the shaper tool. What I've done was if I hover over, it'll tell me the name of the tool. If I left click and hold on that tool, there's a dropbox. You can see that there are other tools within the shaper tool. What I want to do is go to my smooth tool, and now you can see that the smooth tool is my option here on the shaper tool selection. I'll go back to my selection tool so I can select. Again, you want to make sure that "do it with patience" is selected. Always remember you have to tell the program what it is that you're working on, what piece in your art board are you wanting to work on. After I've made sure to select my "patience" word, I'll go ahead with the smooth tool. You can see that we can see the dots and the paths now within the word. I am going to hold the left button and literally smooth out my little bumps there. I'm clicking and dragging, then release, click, drag, then release, click, drag, then release. This bump is a little bit larger than most of my imperfections. But if you go back and forth a little bit, your points will automatically smooth out. If I scroll out, you can see that that looks much better. I am going a little too far there. I'll go ahead and hit "FI." Again, you can smooth out too much. But this is the easiest way without getting into more of an advanced version of Adobe Illustrator. It's the easiest way to smooth out any of your points. Again, with my selection tool, I'm going to select the word "patience." Go ahead and zoom in, and I really want to make sure that this part of "P" is a little bit smoother. I'll go back to my smooth tool and I will smooth out my points, so that it becomes a little bit rounder and cleaner looking. If your hand lettering to begin with isn't perfectly smooth or rounded, that's okay. A little bit of editing and touch-up work in Illustrator will get rid of any jaggedness. That's how you use this smooth tool. I think those are the biggest things with digitizing your lettering in Illustrator that you would want to work on. We'll wrap up Illustrator in the next video so that you get how to save, and how to create a workable file that you can send to clients or to upload. 7. How to save your vector file: Okay. So the last thing I wanted to show you with the Adobe Illustrator in digitizing your artwork. Actually I'm going to get rid of this part here, I don't love it, so I just selected and deleted it. Remember, if I go back to my original file that we created a vector from, you want to make sure that you save your changes. Go ahead to select, file, save, and I'll just save it on my desktop as an AI file. To make sure that I have my vectors, I go ahead and just hit, okay, with the selection that it offers you. I just want to make sure that I keep my vectors, and anytime I make changes on my working file, if I mess something up I know that I can go back to my working file and pick it up again. If I need that do, because I've played around with it too much and I need to start from scratch then I go ahead and select just the word do. Again, you can right-click sorry, you can command C to copy, go back to my working board and command V to paste. I'm going to go ahead and zoom in, see how tidy that word is. So that's the size that we started with and look how much larger we've made it. Okay, just to show you again how worth working with vectors, really, the sky is the limit. So go ahead, and I've selected it, shift the left mouse button to make it larger. That's how you can go back to your original working vectors to make sure that you still have access to all of the pieces that you've created. When you're digitizing you know that you still have that flexibility of creating any custom sizes, shapes, etc. Go ahead and select everything again, it's just left mouse button, creating a bounding box, I'm going to go ahead and make them all black. So if I wanted to upload this file to give to a client, I want to make sure that everything is pretty much centered. I'm just eyeballing it, there we go, to make sure it's all clean, I'll go ahead and group everything together so that I can move it in the center of my box. Maybe a client is wanting this to use on their social media or a website and they want an Illustrator file, you can just go ahead and click, file, save. Again I'll save it to my desktop and I will call it, do it with patience, spell correctly and save it as an AI file. Okay. The last thing I want to show you is how you can save it as a JPEG or a PNG, which gives you a transparent background. If you go, file, export, save for Web, will allow you to save your vector as a JPEG or a PNG, just give it a second to load. PNG will give you a transparent background, that's what the checker box is, so that you can overlay it on top of images if you like and if I go over here to my selection, so instead of a PNG file, you can create a GIF or a PNG-8, which is a lower resolution. If I go ahead and select JPEG, give it a second to optimize or scroll out a bit. You can see that now it's saved as a JPEG with a white background. Now, all you have to do is hit, save or if you want it saved as a PNG again, select PNG, make sure it's art optimized. You can create any custom settings here if you like in terms of sizing, but we'll leave it large. I'll go ahead and hit, save, and it's automatically naming it for me, PNG. This is what I would upload to print on demand sites. Okay? That file exactly. So that is basics, the very basics of creating a vector digitized version of your quote or your lettering. There will be an advanced class coming in these next few months, but this is the basics to creating a vector version of digitized file of your lettering. Okay? Up next we'll work in Photoshop. 8. Benefits of using Photoshop & scanning: Let's get started with using Photoshop to digitize our artwork. I tend to reach for Photoshop again when I've looked for something that is lettered using watercolor and has a bit of texture and I really want to maintain that beautiful hand drawn quality to it. When I create a scanned version of that lettering and I bring it into Photoshop, I'm still able to play around with the hue and change the color. But again, I'll still have that texture maintained and that beautiful quality of a hand lettered item. Now the only drawback is really how large I can get with my file. What I've chosen to do with this class is showing you hand lettering that is relative in size to one another. You can see how limited you can become with using Photoshop. I want you to keep in mind when you're working with clients especially, and you need to deliver a really good quality, high and digital version of your lettering. Using Photoshop to digitize your lettering, you'll need a few things. Go ahead and grab your hand lettered version that you're using with Photoshop. You're going to scan that image so you'll need a scanner. I don't recommend taking a photo. I used to do that and realized the photo size is so small and it really limits you even more, so getting a good quality scanner is an investment, but you can get smaller, portable, handheld ones. Search the Internet Amazon is always a great source for me when I'm looking to upgrade my technology. But scanning really is the way to go. Let's get started using Photoshop to create a digital version of our lettering. Let's work on scanning our watercolor version of our quote. I'll go ahead to image capture, which is my icon for my Canon and I'll select my scanner, again, my scanners is a Canon scan LIDE 700 F. You can see that here and what I've done is I've put my water colored quote or version of my quote and my scanner and it's just creating an overview so I can preview what the scan will look like to make sure that I get the entire page. Sometimes with watercolors or paint a larger piece so it doesn't capture the whole, entire page. But here I just wrote the quote very similarly to the size in the digital version that we used for Adobe Illustrator, so that we can have reference, so I can show you how limiting it is sometimes with sizes and working in Photoshop. There's my quote. If I go up here to the type of scan that I want, you can choose text, black and white. You can see how it changes and color. We want color and whatever your options are, millions is fine unless you're doing something that's highly detailed, millions of colors will be perfect. Here you can choose the size of your resolution, 600 is the highest my scanner goes and is perfect for working on quotes to use in Photoshop. Size, you can adjust it, I'm fine with the size that it's scanning at. I don't mind to put a white space so that when we digitize, I can show you how to control that white space. I'm going to scan it to my desktop, so go ahead and select that it is called do it with patients, I'm going to create a JPEG version. I like working in JPEGs. They're just easy again, so I can control the color contrast when we're working in Photoshop. I don't want to do any image correcting now because I'll do that in Photoshop. However, if you wanted to, you can select manual and you can go ahead and work on brightness here, tint, etc. I don't recommend it. I go ahead and select none so that we can control all of those options in Photoshop. Then go ahead and select scan. Try to make sure that your table is nice and still your scanner is supported so that it captures the best quality photo image as it's scanning. So we'll just give it a second here to finish up. Perfect. So it tells us what the scan results are in this bounding box. You can hear it resetting, so I go ahead and close it and then if I go to Photoshop and go file open, go to my desktop and look for the file called do it with patients. There it is. Double-click. I open it and now we are in Photoshop. In the next video, I'll show you how to digitize. 9. How to use photoshop to digitize: Here we are in Photoshop now, you'll notice that your functions are very similar to Illustrator, where we have a very oftenly used functions here on the left, and we'll be using some of our layers on the right that's not something that I've showed you in illustrator, but you'll see that on the right-hand side will begin to work with layers in Photoshop. Go ahead and go to file, open. I'm going to open my recently used files. I wanted to make sure I had it handy so that you can open your JPEG, of your scan, of your lettering. I'll go to image rotation because I want to make sure that we work with our quote, while it's upright, so it's easier to work with. Command Plus helps you to zoom in so that you have a good close up view of your lettering. There are different ways that you can actually digitize your lettering in Photoshop. The way that I'll show you in this class is for me a very simple and basic way with the least amount of steps that will help just introduce to you the idea of digitizing and Photoshop. There are multiple ways, but this one I feel like is the most basic and easiest. Hitting our select tool, what I want to show you is that all this texture here, I'll zoom in a little bit more, the textures from our watercolor paper, and we want to make sure that we create a very white, crisp background so that the lines, the outlines of our lettering is very defined. The reason why we want to make sure the background is white and a deeper contrast to our lettering, is so that when we begin to start deleting our background, to cut out our lettering, we maintain as much as the outline of our lettering as possible. I'll zoom out a little bit. The first thing I like to do is double-click so it's background here, this is our lettering layer. I'm going to double-click on that background, and the settings that Photoshop automatically has it set to is fine. What we're going to do is hit okay, that allows us to edit this layer. We're going to edit this JPEG so that we can start pulling apart pieces of our lettering that we want to pull apart, it just allows us to edit and allows us access. The very first thing we're going to do is go up here to our adjustments panel, and this is where you can actually adjust photographs, illustrations, paintings, you can change your hue saturation, as well as your color balance. But we're going to go over here to levels. You're going to select levels and it'll pop up so that you can start working on your image. What we want to do is we want to boost up the whites in our scan that's using this right slider here, which helps to boost so you can see that right away it's starting to take away all of the light gray and the textures. We want to make sure we don't blow it out completely because then you're going to lose a lot of your fine strokes. Use your judgment, play around with it. This tool is one that you'll have to get used to a little bit, but I feel like that's a really nice contrast. There is still nice definition in the lighter strokes of our lettering and I still have a nice white back balance. What I'll do now is I will select the black, which is just our darkest part of our illustration here, and I'm going to bump it up a slight bit, and that just brings in a little bit more contrast here in the darkest parts of our lettering. Then we'll go ahead and use our mid tone, slide it around to see if you can keep some of the mid tone colors in our lettering. I'm going to bump it up a little bit more. I can see that I'm losing a little bit of contrast here, but that's okay. We'll see how it goes. Once you've done that, you can go ahead and close this panel, if you need to open up your brightness and contrast adjustment tool and see if you want to adjust anymore of your brightness so that you can play around with contrast. I'm actually going to turn my brightness down a slight bit so really like how that definition looks within some of the darker tones of our paint. I'm going to move this over a bit so I can make sure I still get the tail of the patients. I am working towards this version of our quote, I want to make sure that I adjust everything based on that version. That looks good to me we'll go ahead and close that. Now what I like to do is I'd like to merge everything together, so that way it saves the changes that we make to our original JPEG. If I go ahead and hide those layers, which is just the eyeball, you can see that I still have my original JPEG and access to it, but I also have it as a saved file. If anything's doesn't work out here, it's okay because I do have it in my saved folder as a JPEG, so I can always go back and start from the beginning. I'll go ahead and right-click on our background layer, and I want to select merge visible. What that will do, it will condense all of our visible layers, so it's preserved. Our changes, we no longer have access to that original JPEG, but that's okay because we can go ahead and access it again we've saved it in our folder in case there's something that goes wrong that we're not happy with. The next thing I'd like to do is create a bounding box around the parts of the lettering that I'd like to work with. Go ahead and select the entire quote, and I will go to edit, cut, or you can do copy, we're going to go to file, new, because I want to work in a new document. Photoshop is intuitive it knows that we're working with the size of the cut that we've created with our bounding box, so it automatically creates the perfect width, and height, and a 600 resolution. What I want you to do is take note of your width number. It's 3813, we are going to manipulate the size of our cut out because we are limited in Photoshop to how large we can create our lettering, based on the size of the original lettering, and how we've scanned it. This is a workaround for actually increasing the file without losing resolution and creating that blurry fuzziness. What I want you to do is hit okay, I'm going to go back to that in a second, and then edit, paste. You see that it's pasted pretty perfectly in that size that is already determined. Next thing I want you to do is go back to your image size. Its image, image size, remember that number I asked you to take note of it, I want you to double it so for me it's 7626. If I were to double 3813, I'm going to drop the resolution down to 300, which you see will drop the size of my file. But that's okay. It's again a workaround. I'll put it in 76 26, which is double the size of my original file. So by dropping our resolution down in Photoshop and increasing our file size by two, we've increased how large we can create that quote when we go ahead and use it for a final digital file, but we're not losing any resolution. We're going to hit OK. Again, just a little trick that I learned along the way. Now we're ready to go ahead and remove the background because we want it to be transparent so that we can lay it over top of any colors that we need to, and it'll give us the most flexibility for how we use the file. Again, the most basic way that I do that will make sure that our file is unlocked so there isn't a lock right here, which means it's a workable file, and we'll go to the magic wand tool. Going to the magic wand tool, I want to click on my white background. Go ahead and click, make sure that your tolerance is set it to, your anti areas is checked. Contiguous means that it will remove all of the white that it detects. As we hit delete and sample layers, we don't have to worry about it because we're just working on one layer. Now we know that it's selected because you can see that you've got a little bit of movement there. I do see that I have some dots that we'll have to clean up afterwards. You can see those right there, which means that it wasn't perfectly white. That's okay, and we'll go ahead and hit delete. When you see the checkerboard background, that's an indication that you have deleted your background. Now the only thing with this format of deleting your background is that we have to go ahead and delete all of our fills here. Again, it's just selecting, I've had to click twice so that is able to select that entire center of my D and delete. It's select, delete, double click, to delete all of our fills. In this quote, it's not bad because we don't have very many, and there you go. Now we have an almost ready to go file that we can save as a PNG. However, we want to make sure that we've deleted all of the white or as much as the white as we want. I go ahead and add a new layer. I'll make sure that new layer, layer number two is below our first layer, and we are going to make sure we create a dark box. Going to my box tool right here, I'm working in my second layer. You can see it now it's called rectangle. I'm going to go to my fill and I will select black to fill that box. What I'm doing basically, is I am verifying that I have cleaned up all of my white spots. That's pretty messy, so I want to make sure that I delete the white spots. Our background rectangle, if I hide it, you can see that it disappears, we'll delete it later, but it's a really great way to see if I need to clean up any spots. I'll go to my first layer, which is our lettering, and I'll go over here to my eraser tool. I've selected the Eraser tool, you can adjust the size of your eraser and the hard or softness of it in this little drop down here once you're in your eraser tool. It looks like just a school eraser and you can adjust the size. Maybe I'll make mine a little bit larger, so that we can go ahead and delete our little spots. Making sure you're on your lettering layer. Sometimes with the eraser tool, what you need to do is create a bounding box here on the layer that we have our lettering on, and you can see that my bounding box is active. Then select your eraser tool, and you can go in and erase any little spots. I'll go ahead and make my eraser a little bit larger. I can create. If you click and drag, you can go ahead and clean up your little spots here. I'm not going to worry too much about the outer area, I'll go ahead and cut the lettering a little bit, then choose zoom in to make sure that we clean up. I'm just clicking and dragging. I don't mind a bit of texture when I'm working on a watercolor quote, only because I feel like it adds to a hand-drawn quality. I'm all about maintaining a little bit of imperfection, so that again, it doesn't look like you've used a font type, and it still remains authentic and clean. So I'll just go ahead and clean up the rest of this. You can see I'm just tidying up the edges where it was a little messy. Again, this isn't the most perfect way of digitizing, but I feel like it's probably the most simplest in terms of the amount of steps that it requires so that you can start to learn Photoshop and become a little bit more comfortable with the program. That looks good to me. Go ahead and zoom out, and we can unselect. What we'll do here actually is let's turn off our background layer and yeah, the file looks good. What we can do at this point with it unselected, let's go ahead and delete it because we don't need that background anymore. I just went down to the trashcan here after I've selected the layer to go ahead and delete that layer, what I want to do at this point is I can see that do it with patience isn't exactly centered. What I want to do is use my lasso tool here. We have to release that. To release, I just hit command D, and it released me from the bounding box tool. so using my lasso tool, we'll go ahead and create a little box around do. Then now that I've defined it, I use my select tool and I can move it over. I'm going to move it closer to do it with, go ahead and hit my lasso tool again, and select to it. Move that over a slight bit more, one more time my lasso tool and I'll move with over, and I feel like I need to straighten it out a slight bit, bring it in closer, that looks good. Hit apply, and then again Command D to release. That looks pretty good to me, I feel like it's a nice and clean digitized version of the lettering. At this point, you can play around with the hue and saturation. If you choose by selecting in the adjustments panel hue saturation, you can even change the color drastically by using your hue slider. Let's go ahead and maybe make it blue, that's a pretty color. You can even change how deep you want the tones in your lettering to be or how light. That's a pretty color, actually too, that would be nice overlaid on top of a photo. Let's go ahead and work with that version there. We'll close this box and it's ready to be saved. 10. Saving Photoshop file and using it in Illustrator: Let's go ahead and save our Photoshop image and we're going to bring it into Adobe Illustrator so that I can show you difference in size and how to work with in Illustrator to create layouts. First, we want to go to File, Save As, and we'll save it to our desktop. We need to change it from a Photoshop file to a PNG file. The reason why we save as a PNG is so that it can preserve the transparent background and smallest Compressions fine, Interlace none. Go ahead and hit "Okay" and what you can do is, save it as a Photoshop file as well. It's still saving it as a PNG, go ahead and save it as a Photoshop files so that we can still edit things like hue and saturation. But we can also take pieces of our image by cutting them out and moving them around. It's good to have a Photoshop version of your files, so your PSD file. Go ahead and save it as do it with patience. Save, and I just realized that and rename it when I saved it as a PNG. Maximize compatibility that's fine, hit "Okay." I'll go ahead and bring it into our Illustrator file, so coming back to Illustrator, here's the original quote that we digitized earlier. I'll go ahead and place our PNG file that we just saved. So it's File, Place and going to our desktop, I didn't rename it here, it is do with patience, that's our PSD file. Here we go, I saved as untitled, go ahead and place, here it is. That's how large our PNG file is, even after we doubled the size. I want you to see that in comparison, we're working on a 65 by 65 artboard, which is great for anything that you're printing fairly large. You'll see that you are limited with the Photoshop file that's the size of the file. I'll go ahead and zoom in, you can see the color and the quality of our PNG file that we created in Photoshop. If I were to enlarge it, what I'll do here, I'll show you how to work with multiple layers in an Illustrator. This is my layers panel here, I'll go ahead to the bottom where it says create a new layer. If you hover over and your programs will tell you what the function is. Hovering over, create new layer, going to select our do it with patience PNG file. I can see that the blue square right there matches my blue square here. I'm going go ahead and move that selection to the second layer, which is indicated in red, that box's red, this box is red, you know what you're working with in each layer. I'll turn off this layer, so, go ahead and turn off clicking on the eye. Now, I know that I'm in my second layer which has this artwork in it. Remember, Shift and click to drag to enlarge anything that you're working on. I'm going to make it a little bit larger, you can see when we zoom in, how it maintains some of the quality of our digitizing. But I worry when you're printing and after you've enlarged it this way that it will be blurry. It's not too bad, you'll have to use your best judgment if you're delivering the file to a client, you want to make sure that it prints at the best resolution if they are looking to print using your artwork. Just to show you how you can layer a PNG on top of color, I'll go to my rectangle tool, I'll hit "Select," I'm going to click and drag, release your mouse so that we can create a box that we will layer underneath our lettering. Going to my select tool, I know that my box is selected because it is red and I'm on my layer that shows our red feature there. I'll right click and I am actually going to arrange the box so that it is underneath my lettering so we have a bit of a contrast, don't love that color, so let's go ahead and maybe make it something bright. No, that's not good. Let's make it black, it doesn't look like a true black. That should be good, so again, I'll click away so that I unselect the box and I'll just move my do it with patience over a slight bit but you can see when you create a PNG file of your lettering that you can lay it over top of anything, even photographs, if you choose. Go ahead and zoom out, actually that zoom backends. You can see that we cleaned up a little bit of the spots that we had from our digitizing. I would go ahead and clean it up a little bit more if you're layering it over top of something as dark as this black. If I were to change the color to something a little bit later, obviously, it doesn't show as much and that's not pretty and that's very bright. I am just using the basic swatches here. But you can see the lighter you go, the less you'll notice those spots and tones, and again, depending on how large your printing, it may not even be an issue for you. I like to do all of my layouts in Illustrator, it's a program that I've used so much more often and I enjoy using. I am going ahead and see if I can change this a little bit. I've selected my box, adding a little bit of warmth to that background color. Go ahead and zoom in again, you can see what the do it with patience quote, will look like. Digitize using Photoshop, go ahead and save this file if you choose to play around with each, make sure that you save your files as you're working. In case something goes wrong, you can always go back to your original, but making sure that you're not losing any of the files as you're working with them and that's it. See you in the closing section of this class. 11. Closing & final remarks: I hope you enjoyed this class, a digitizing your lettering. It really is the next step to your calligraphy and lettering journey, it will open up a so many opportunities for you in terms of how you can use your lettering. Even if it's just to use on social media and you want to overlay onto an image that's something that I loved to do as well. But if you're looking to grow an income from your passion of calligraphy and your new skills than digitizing really is the way to go. I would love to see what you're working on, so go ahead and share in the project section of this class. You can e-mail me, message me, and show me what it is that you're working on. If you have any questions at all, please message me and let me know what they are. I'm happy to help. I'd love to support you on this digital journey of yours. It can be a little challenging with technology. Technology is not my strong suit, but I've learned to use it the way I need to, based on the projects that I'm working on. Good luck with digitizing your hand lettering. I'm excited to see what you're working on. As always, it's at life I design. If you want to connect with me on social media and stay tuned for upcoming classes that I have planned, and in the process, that'll be coming up in the next few weeks or so. Good luck with your digitizing. Try to do it as often as you can so that you can remember the steps that you need. Again, let me know if you have any questions or comments. Good luck.