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Automated Actions in Illustrator CS6

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Charles van der Poel
Automated Actions in Illustrator CS6
on Aug 28, 2012 at 12:21:16 am

I don't know how versed people here are with Actions in Illustrator CS6, but I'm trying to sort out a batch operation that involves Image Trace, and I can't figure it out.

The short of it is: I've exported clips through AE that I intend to break down into sequential still frames, so I can use Illustrator's "Actions" functionality to batch the "Image Trace" function. (I intend to re-combine the finished stills and re-composite into a sort of poor man's rotoscope effect.)

Everything is working as it should, except "Image Trace" when I attempt to program it as an Action. I've created a preset that uses my desired settings, but the programmed Action invariably uses the default behavior (a B+W color reduction) instead of the custom preset I wanted to apply.

I can't seem to find a way to force Illustrator to use my custom preset in my Actions set. Applying it manually just isn't an option, since there are several thousand frames. Has anyone dealt more with Actions and scripting in AI? Thanks to anyone who can help.

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Charles van der Poel
Re: Automated Actions in Illustrator CS6
on Aug 29, 2012 at 7:06:52 pm

For anyone curious, I found a kind of workaround for this. AI CS6 has a set of pre-installed Scripts in Applications > Illustrator > Presets > eng_US > Scripts (this is in OSX, obviously.)

One of them is an automated batch Image Trace function. In that script, you can numerically identify which preset you want in


An empty value uses the default, but your saved custom settings are numbered. It's not ideally how I'd do this, but it works.

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