Practise session: Tracing a photograph in Adobe Illustrator

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Today I practised tracing a photographic image into Adobe Illustrator. I took an image of myself, then started using the pen tool, with the fill option turned off, to trace around the outline of the image. After that, I created a new layer beneath the outline and added colour. This technique was exhaustive and extremely imprecise, as I could not trace the shape exactly the way I wanted it to. It created an interesting effect, but was not as clean or as accurate as I would have liked it to have been.

I also never finished tracing the entire image, as it would have taken quite a bit of time at the rate I was going. I think that I might have to look for tutorials of some more practical ways that I can trace photographs, without having to resort to this messy technique. However, I cannot quite tell if it’s because I am doing it wrong, or because of the technique itself why it doesn’t look so good. I think I’m going to ask somebody about this soon.


Development and Realisation Intro

For the introduction to the Development and Realisation unit, we were given our first task, which involves creating a poster that visually communicates text and data. The list of subjects to base our posters on were:

–       Where have you been and when?

–       What is your social network?

–       How many documented meteor impacts have there been?

–       Who lives the longest?

–       What is the fattest country?

–       Where do different genders shop online?

–       Who knows each other and how in Star Wars?

–       What type of music is most popular?

–       Who has the largest carbon footprint?

–       How does the hydrological cycle work?

Out of all of the briefs on the list, the one that most interested me was the ‘Who knows each other and how in Star Wars?’ task. This appealed to me because I am a big fan of the franchise and would find it an interesting challenge to try and find a way represent such a complex universe in a way that was easy to read and aesthetically pleasing.

Research Task – Star Wars Poster Research

“How Star Wars changed the world”

I chose this poster because it is relevant to my chosen subject. It also presents a complex web of information clearly and in a  way that is visually appealing. If I was to create a more complex poster design, this is the kind of style I would hope to achieve.

“Star Wars Family Tree”

I chose the above poster because it clearly communicates the relationships between different Star Wars character, which is extremely relevant to my brief. This kind of poster would be ideal because it is quite simplistic in it’s design and effectively demonstrates the use of vector graphics to convey information.

“Meant for you, which occupation is?’

The above poster is the simplest design of the ones I have seen. It mostly uses text and line to convey information, but also uses basic silhouette images and a minimalistic colour palette.

Found Typography Ideas

For my first assignment, I have been asked to create an alphabet of found typography. This will involve taking photographs of objects in my environment that look like letters and creating a kind of font out of them. I have been coming up with different ideas for themes and styles that I can incorporate into my work, and so far I have come up with 3 main themes that I think I might be able to use.

The first theme that I came up with was ‘autumn’. This would be a seasonal font that consists only of objects and colours related to the season. Examples of things that could be used are fallen leaves, scarves (and other items of clothing) that can be folded into the shapes of letters, and also plants and trees.

The second theme I came up with was ‘grunge and decay’. This theme would consist only of things that look old and decayed, like rusted metal or bits of old wood. It would focus mostly on the shape, colour, and texture of objects that are found in the environment. The kind of objects I can use are old gates/fences, old cars and scrap metals, and ruined-looking buildings and architecture.

The final idea I came up with was a ‘Horror/Gothic’ style. This would involve utilising black and white effects, sepia tones, and different light settings, in order to create the effect of an eerie, gothic atmosphere. I could photograph old churches or ask for permission to look in graveyards and abandoned buildings to find suitable images.