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Simplifying contour of a non-compound path

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Fabio Dozio
Simplifying contour of a non-compound path
on Dec 11, 2014 at 8:31:48 pm

Hello everyone.

I have to create a vectorialized image of an original raster (subject being a Prehistoric man for whom it may concern).


The client specified that she wants the image to retain details like shades of colour during the process, so I imported the raster in AI and applied Live Trace with custom settings, which I Expanded afterwards.

The resulting vector has a very "harsh" and unpolished contour- it is the sum of Paths so little that it looks like pixeled despites it being vectorial (perhaps because my clipping of the image in Photoshop wasn't the best).


The point is that I don't know how to round the contour without having to Compound Path the image, which would render the image into a mono-colored spot.
I don't know how/whether it is possible for Illustrator to recognize the external contour of several paths grouped together (i.e. the result of LiveTrace) and treat it as a single outline in order to apply "Simplify".

Anyone with a clue?

Thanks in advance, hope to have expressed myself clear enough.


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Vincent Rosati
Re: Simplifying contour of a non-compound path
on Dec 12, 2014 at 12:22:36 am
Last Edited By Vincent Rosati on Dec 12, 2014 at 11:47:51 pm

Sounds like you might be in a garbage-in-garbage-out situation. The client wants a vector, yet one that retains all of the characteristics of the original raster, one that doesn't look like a vector.??
So, in this case, they want an improved redraw.
Could you just upscale the raster with Perfect Resize (Genuine Fractals), mask it, and call it a day. Or, find the original source and rescan it, or purchase it.

Some vectorizing techniques you could try might be to create a few high-contrast variations of the image in Photoshop.
Each variation would accentuate a particular range in the shading.
Channel Mixer: Monochrome.
Then maybe a Curves adjustment layer, try a 2-point S-curve to achieve the contrast control.
Then you could try a similar approach in Illustrator, with each of the variations. So, each different high-con will produce a different density of shading.
So, in the end you might have 2 or 3 different tracing results that you'll layer on top of one another.

The shading that I'm seeing in the art, I might describe as stipple-type shading. Hard to say. But that's drawing and painting.

Wait...
I just read your post again.
Could you just hand draw a clipping mask, to mask the finished tracing?
Or maybe use the Pencil tool to manually smooth the problem areas? Keep your left hand on the keyboard so you can quickly use hotkeys to switch between tools. Looks like it would take less than 5 minutes.

Just some initial thoughts.

Vince

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Fabio Dozio
Re: Simplifying contour of a non-compound path
on Dec 12, 2014 at 11:40:38 am
Last Edited By Fabio Dozio on Dec 12, 2014 at 12:57:36 pm

Hi Vincent,

Thanks for your answer.

The problem is that the original raster has a very small size and the final vector is meant to be 175cm tall so I can't really operate on the raster image with Photoshop adjustments- I *must* LiveTrace it so that it becomes a printable vector file.

Scaling the raster image to that dimension produces terrible results whereas the LiveTrace creates a "portrait" effect that is somewhat acceptable. So I don't think image treatment in Photoshop is doable.

The downside is that in order to do so I am scaling the image so much that minor defects (like the slightly harsh contour from the original raster) are magnified- also because Live Trace can't operate with perfect accuracy, regardless of how detailed were my custom options for it.

I'll go for quick pen adjustments on the contouring and let you know how it works out.

Thanks again
F



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Vincent Rosati
Re: Simplifying contour of a non-compound path
on Dec 12, 2014 at 11:49:06 pm
Last Edited By Vincent Rosati on Dec 12, 2014 at 11:54:22 pm

I mistakenly said 'Pen' tool. I meant the Pencil tool, for speed drawing/correcting.
So, you keep one finger on the A key and another on the N key, at all times. Hit A and click the bad path with the Direct Select tool, then hit N and quickly redraw it with the Pencil tool.

Vince

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