How To Trace A Logo In Illustrator | How To Create A Vector Logo In Adobe Illustrator With Image Trace

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How To Create A Vector Logo In Adobe Illustrator With Image Trace


Hi everybody, Evan from here with a tutorial for vectorizing your logo in Adobe Illustrator. Why would you want to vectorize your logo? Well, most images are called “Raster” images and they’re made of pixels. This means that when you expand them, they can become blurry or fuzzy. And vector images are made of paths which means that no matter how large or small you create your vector image it will always be the same quality and it will be printed at the highest quality possible. So, when you want to create custom printed artwork you will use vector images to create your designs and this will allow you to use the same logo file on something small or something large and have the best quality in every scenario. So today we’re going to be vectorizing a PureButtons logo and it’s important that you start with a black and white version of your logo and at the largest size possible. So I’ve created a large version of the logo here that we’re going to be running through the Image Trace program and I’ll show you how accurate you can get with these automatic tools. Now I’m going to go ahead and Embed this for better quality. And I’m going to zoom in on a detail portion of the logo which, even though the PureButtons logo is very simple, we’ll look here at the registered trademark symbol and some of the details in these letter forms and up here to make sure that the rest of our tracing goes well. So to start with we’ll go into the Image Trace menu. That can be found by going to Window > Image Trace. You’ll want to make sure that your Advanced portion is open and you’ll want to click Preview and you’ll want to click Ignore White. Ignore White will make sure that you’re only tracing the black portions of your logo. Whereas if it wasn’t clicked it would also trace a duplicate white portion of the logo and you would have twice as many paths to work with when you were making edits. So now we’re looking at a preview of the tracing which looks pretty accurate, but I’m still seeing a few things that are wrong. We’re seeing a little rounding on the E here, a little wobbly shape here, and there’s some straight lines that are kind of off to the side here. But overall the default settings look very good and we’re going to go ahead and run through these settings and see if we can’t make it slightly better, but also explain what they do. So first, the Threshold setting seems to affect the distance of the vector path from the actual pixel line. So that kind of gives a thickening or thinning effect on your image. We’re going to go ahead and crank up the Threshold and see what that does and you’ll notice that everything looks a little thicker here, especially the Registered Trademark lines. The letters on “buttons” they look much thinner and there’s less accuracy compared to the original. So let’s go ahead and bring the Threshold down and see what happens there. And now you’ll see- everything thicker here, meaning the white space has enlarged, and this is almost as thin as can be and looks terrible. So the default of 128 is usually a pretty good place to start. I will sometimes tweak it up or down slightly depending on the effects I get, or the size that I need but that’s a good place to start, and we’ll go ahead and start there. Now the Paths menu will add or remove paths from the final tracing. A higher value means that it’s trying to get closer to the actual image, but it can also complicate and sometimes make strange shapes that aren’t actually there because the machine is trying to fill in the gaps where it doesn’t know what to do, or something like that. Now, if we have too few paths it will also make more crude shapes. So let’s start with a low path count and see what happens. See that looks terrible. We’ve got obvious misshapen here, this has points now, clearly need more paths. There’s also a giant rounding here happening, and also here. Go ahead and crank the paths all the way up and see what happens. And, as you’re going through this process, the PureButtons logo is one case scenario whereas your logo will be completely different and you’ll want to go through each setting one by one and make sure it looks as good as possible and then move on to the next. If you go through these steps from top to bottom in this order, and just make sure you get the best results for each step, you should end up with the best possible tracing. Now, this isn’t a perfect tool. This isn’t a genius, one-click-fits-all thing, and you’ll have to adjust it and see what works best for you. Okay, so this is too many paths clearly. It’s creating a corner, basically for each pixel that it assumes is here. So we want to drop the paths back to closer to where it was. I’ll try 60 and see what happens, and up to midway point and see what happens, back down. And it’s important to do the paths as low as possible while still maintaining accuracy. As we adjust the paths you’ll notice that some of the lines are becoming straighter or more bowed. If I go up to 75 take a look at the top of this N here. And you’ll want to keep your eyes on the same places. Now that’s a very marginal change but if you can notice, this is now slightly rounded and I want to have my paths as low as possible while still being as accurate as possible. Let’s go down to 40 and see what happens… and now I see very straight lines here. Very straight lines here in the T area, I was noticing some issues. I’ve noticed that my registered trademark symbol looks very nice. So I’m going to go ahead and keep it at 40 and we’ll go down to the Corners menu and see what happens. Now the Corners menu will either round off or make straight the edges of your design, the corners. Sometimes you need sharp corners and sometimes you need them rounded, so we will take a look at what the low corners setting gives us. We’ll probably be cranking it up much higher because there’s a lot of sharp edges and corners in our design. Now this rounds off everything. You’ll see it doesn’t look terrible, but it’s not what we’re going for. We’re going for accuracy. So let’s go ahead and crank corners all the way up to 100 and see what happens. And now we’re back to something that looks about like we’d expect. I have sharp corners here, here. I have a sharp-looking Registered mark, I have a sharp inner-cut here and my letters look great. And now we’re going to go ahead and go down to Noise. Now, on this image there’s no noise, and this menu barely does anything. But, if your design is more complicated, or you’re trying to trace something with maybe some gray values mixed in, Black and White tracing, the noise menu will add or remove detail basically. So, if you drag it down or you drag it up, it will say “okay, include everything down to one pixel or up to 100 pixels” and it will create a more or less detailed image based on your settings. The PureButtons logo presented here has no noise, so we’re going to skip over this option. And I believe that my tracing looks pretty good. I’m going to go ahead and go to Expand to finish. Now I see by selecting this Direct Selection tool I have a logo that’s created in paths. When you have a path logo you can click it and you can drag it, you can change the shape. You can also change the color, and we’ll go up here to our Color menu and select anything you want. So this is what the benefits of a vector logo are. Not only can you scale things to be any size and shape you want, you can also change colors or make edits to the paths and creation of the logo. So I wanted to run over a few final touch techniques to help you finish up your logo and make it as professional as possible. Now I’ve noticed some issues here on this tracing. We’ve got a bit of a rough patch here on this R, Registered Trademark. We’ve got a little point here that needs to be smoothed out. And I also wanted to talk about removing extra points and extra anchors. First we’ll smooth out some rough spots using a tool that I like and that’s called the Smooth Tool. You’ll find that by clicking and holding the Shaper Tool or the Pencil Tool. It looks like a pencil with some lines on it. And we’ll Select > All, and we will run the Smooth Tool over it a few times just in a general direction until it looks good. Now we’ll zoom out, we’ll take a look and make sure that looks natural. Now there are a number of ways to smooth out a corner, but this Smooth Tool is more of a hands-on way to do it. And I’ve found that it gives me pretty natural results. It’s also affected by the direction that you pull, so if you pull down the smoothing will work in one way or if I pull up it starts to work in another way. And I’ve noticed if I go across it, it works in a different way than if I go up and down, so you’ll want to play around and get used to the Smoothing Tool. I always like to go in the general direction of the way I’m trying to smooth, and usually it’s only two or three pulls and it’s pretty good. Now back over here we’ll do one more smooth and we’ll see about removing extra anchor points. So this is a pretty rough bump. And this Image Trace kind of has a life of its own. I’m going to go ahead and delete some anchors here because there’s just a lot of extra mess here. And I’m gonna go ahead and try the Smoother again. Now, usually I would probably just re-draw this circle but for this sake, I’ll show you how to smooth it out. Now that looks pretty good. Now the final touch that I would want to do is removing extra anchor points. Now let’s take a look at this line and by using the Direct Selection tool I can see where all my anchors are around the logo, and now I see, for a professional file, I don’t need a bunch of extra points. As you’ll see from this to this we have one anchor in between dictating this smooth curve around here. But, from about here to here you probably don’t need all these extra anchor points. Now Adobe Illustrator does a really good job of giving you the most efficient path possible and I really like that. Having less anchor points will give a custom die-cutting machine less data to work with and make a cleaner cut, but also editing a path with less anchor points in it is always going to be easier. So, to finish up my life trace I go ahead and remove any extra anchor points. Just to make it nicer for me, for archival purposes. So, if you wanted to go around and look for any place where there’s an extra anchor point where there doesn’t need to be one. Right here I’m noticing between this point at the tip of this U and this point, there doesn’t need to be any anchor points, but I have an anchor point here, and also on this corner I have one right here, where between here and here there really doesn’t need to be anything because there’s no curve. Now between here and here there starts to become a curve so I’ll leave this alone but I’ll go ahead and delete these two because they serve no purpose. And you want to be sure to click those anchor points exactly. Now you can just go around with the Direct Selection tool and Select > All, find your anchor points and then grab that Delete Anchor tool and delete the extra anchor points. And all this does is it gives you a more complete and cleaned up final image. It’s not necessary but it does make everything cleaner, and it doesn’t take long and you have a much more professional looking file, and also it gives you the opportunity if you see any strange wobbly lines from your live tracing you can clean those up as well. And that’s it, our vectorized logo is ready to be saved and printed on a bunch of different merch. Thanks for watching! Visit for custom buttons and more.