Tag: photoshop

How to Convert Your Pen/Pencil Drawings into Vectors Using Illustrator

The first step of course is to make loads and loads of drawings. Get into the habit of drawing daily, and then once you’ve found that perfect sketch. Take it and scan it (preferable) or take a photo of it. I always go for the highest res scan available, which on my scanner is 600dps.

Open the image in Photoshop first.

Image —> Adjustments —–> Levels

Play with the shadows as well as the highlights and make the background as white as possible, the lines as dark as possible. This is done by adjusting the black and the white cursors. Make sure preview is enabled and basically just look at your drawing change as you adjust the levels.

Image —-> Adjustments ——–> Contrast

Turn up the contrast and make your lines black. Take down the brightness a bit if you can, to make the lines even darker.

Cool, so now we have a decent black and white image ready for Illustrator. Copy and paste the image from Photoshop, and paste it into Illustrator.

Once in illustrator. Find the button “Live Trace” (as indicated in the image below in the top let corner) and click on the the dropdown. You can alternatively select Object —-> Live Trace —> Tracing Options


Make sure both Strokes as well as Fills are checked under Trace Settings. Then click Trace.

This step can be a bit subjective, so play around with the settings until the desired effect is achieved. This may vary greatly with different images so practice, and use Ctrl-Z frequently to undo any mistakes.

Now that you’ve got your image vectorized. You want to go to Object —–> Expand . This turns all of your stroked, and anchor points into editable vectors.

By Pushing “K” you will activate the Live Paint Bucket tool in Illustrator. Use the paint bucket to fill certain areas just as you would do in photoshop.

I also used the pencil tool to draw in an extra arm, and close off areas as the paint bucket tool will only work in areas which are completely closed off on all sides.

You can now scale the image up, since most websites which print tshirts and other items want to have an image that is at least 3100px wide (This is for sites like Society6 and RedBubble) . Download the template from these sites to ensure you are creating your image for the right size template.  You can change the scale by going to Object —-> Transform —-> Scale

Now copy and paste the image back into photoshop, just as pixels. Make the background layer transparent.

Select the white background with the magic wand tool and delete it. You don’t want to have a big white square around your image if it is going to be printed on a shirt.

Now upload the image to the website of your choice for printing tshirts according to the specifications and size which is required. For Society6 it is currently 3300px s 5100px, it is important not to resize your image at this point, unless you are making the image smaller to fit. Never resize an image to be larger in photoshop as it will become pixelated.

Now your image is ready, and available with a variety of background colors on both tshirts, hoodies, tote bags, and pillows.



Personal Experimental Studies Class:Lesson 5, and 6:Photoshop Animation Tutorial

Finalizing your Frames and a Photoshop Animation Tutorial

1st Class: Krystof: Studio time working on your animated short. You should now begin to start photographing your frames in preperation for the finalization and post production process involving your work.

If you are using a small set for a photo based stop motion using real objects it will be important to figure out how you will use lighting to achieve the mood you are attempting. In the video below we can see a creative solution to light brick films (Stop motions made with legos) by using two adjustable desk lamps.

How you light a subject also will drastically change a characters image and can give a viewer a clear vision as to what mood is being portrayed.

If you are doing all of your sequences on paper then you will have the option of either scanning, or photographing them one by one. It is also important to keep the resolution of your pictures relatively low as they will be easier to manage in Photoshop later.

You should have all of your sequences finished and ready for animating for next class.


2nd Class: Final Class of studio time.You will now be shown how to use Photoshop’s animation toolbar to begin to animate the individual frames which you have created.

Photoshop Animation Tutorial

The reason why we use photoshop to animate our sequences is because it is a simple way to begin onion skinning your image. In the past onion skinning was commonly done on a light box, with the intent of being able to see a previous sequence could be seen and small adjustments could be made in order to achieve the illusion of movement. Now the reason why you will be onion skinning your sequences is because we want to eliminate any sort of bounce or shakiness that can happen from not correctly lining up your photos. In photoshop after you have imported all of your individual photos/scans onto layers, you can then see the previous layer quite simply by adjusting the opacity of the layer on top (or the selected layer). This is a necessary step because when you first play your animation you will see that there may be large jumps between frames. The easiest way to reconcile this is to pick a certain element (perhaps the eyes, or something else which would stay in the same position) and then onion skin each layer until one element is always in the same place.

Drawing Class Lesson 3: Animating with Photoshop

Once you’ve finished your sequences I will begin to start showing you how to animate them in Photoshop. Now, you may be thinking, “Animating stuff in photoshop sucks!” and you’re kind of right. It can be a pain in the ass. There’s a lot of different ways to animate your hand drawn sequences and I don’t care if you use Adobe Premiere, Flash, or Imovie. But, and this is a big but, you’ve also have to be able to do some “Onion Skinning” which is a process where you can manipulate the opacity of each layer so certain elements stay in alignment.

So what’s onion skinning? According to Wikipedia “Onion skinning is a 2D computer graphics term for a technique used in creating animated cartoons and editing movies to see several frames at once. This way, the animator or editor can make decisions on how to create or change an image based on the previous image in the sequence.”

Back in the day this was done by drawing on semi transparent paper, or on a light box.

Now it’s done by taking down the opacity on layers which can be manipulated individually in Photoshop.

Take a look at this tutorial to see how to start using the animation window in Photoshop.

Now that you’ve got all of your frames imported into Photoshop I want you to manipulate each frame and start lining them up one by one. If you skip this step your animation will look bouncy and you won’t achieve a proper flow.

If you are still having trouble figuring out how to onion skin and animate in photoshop check out this great tutorial here.

The drawings can be scanned at school, however be aware that with 12 students, each of which will be scanning multiple drawings that this will take quite some time. If you’ve got access to a scanner then scan them at home.