Any Tips & Tricks for digitizing artwork

natalie_F's picture

Hi All

Do you have any tips & tricks for taking a sketch and digitizing it? Specifically, I have some pencil-drawn lettering that I want to make vector. Normally I would scan it and use something like the Live Trace feature in Illustrator. Is that the best/only way? Any suggestions at all - even your thoughts on the the best paper/ink/pencil combo prior to scanning and helpful hints. I would appreciate it SO much!


scannerlicker's picture

Personally, I would redraw it digitally, over the sketch.
Drawing vector isn't much of a deal, and you have control on the number of points.

For most cases, it's quicker to redraw than to raster it and correct it; and it looks way better.

If your searching for something grungy, or distorted, just raster it in Illustrator, that would do the trick. :)

dirtcastle's picture

I've used Illustrator and ScanFont, both of which have a wide range of sensitivity settings. The settings are very particular to the size and quality of your scanned image.

My view is that sometimes drawing a vector over a raster scan is a good idea.

And sometimes it is better to use Live Trace or ScanFont. If your sketch is big and accurate with clean edges, you might be able to get it pretty close. But if it's a small pencil drawing on rough paper... it might be best to non-Live trace.

But it is true that auto-tracing is rarely 100% accurate.

dirtcastle's picture

Man, that book looks great. Can't believe I just learned about it. Gotta pick that one up.

evanbrog's picture

I seem to remember in a magazine, Comm Arts or Computer Arts maybe, a small article about a program that created much more realistic vectors than the LiveTrace in Illustrator. I'm not sure I can track it down...I'll try.

bemerx25's picture

Vector Magic? It's pretty good. It's a web service and Illustrator plug-in. But it does cost money. (That's not a bad thing).

dirtcastle's picture

oooh. that looks promising.

anybody using this?

bemerx25's picture

I used the web service when they were beta testing it. It was fairly remarkable. Again, simplifying what you put in makes a major difference in the quality of the output but regardless Vector Magic was better than the live trace functionality as I recall. I'm sorry I don't have art work to show you the differences. Oh and the URL for folks:

evanbrog's picture

Ah, yes, I believe that was it...I recall it being an Illustrator plug-in.

"...featured in Communcation Arts."

But I myself have not tried it.

Thanks guys! I should prob. get this myself.

evanbrog's picture

Oh I forgot to say I THOUGHT it was a plug-in but it apparently is not.

natalie_F's picture

thanks for all the suggestions - the book looks awesome and so does vector magic.

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