Digitize Your Hand Lettering Easily Using Image Trace in Illustrator

Digitize Your Hand Lettering Easily Using Image Trace in Illustrator


Hey guys, it’s Jenn from Hello Brio Studio. Today I’m going to show you how to vectorize
your hand lettering from paper to digital using Image Trace in Illustrator So now I’m just going to use my Tombow Dual Brush
Pen to write some letters. I’ve gone ahead and texted myself this
photo. I’m going to take it from Messages and drag it into Photoshop. From here we need to adjust the levels
of the picture so the blackest part of the text is black and then the background is really
white. If you hit CMD+L you’re going to
bring up the levels palette. The quickest way to do this is to hit the white eye dropper
and click somewhere until the white gets whiter. And then click the black eye dropper and do
the same thing for the black part of your text. Hit the lasso tool (L) and select the
most important part of the picture which is the center. You can see towards the outside because this is from
a photo there is some darkness going on that you don’t want to bring into your drawing
in Illustrator. So just do a quick crop around everything with the lasso tool, which is going to select it. Hit CMD+C to copy Open Illustrator and hit CMD+N for a new document Hit CMD+V to paste. Because the artboard is actually smaller
than the file, what I’m going to do is hit CMD+Shift+H to hide the artboard. Open your Image Trace Palette. If it’s
not already open, go to Window, Image Trace. You want to start with a preset that’s
going to give you black and white because that’s what you’re working with. Go ahead
and select Black and White Logo. That’s a really great place to start. It’s going to do some calculations and do some digitizing based on the edges of your artwork where the contrast is the highest. So this did a pretty good job. You want to make sure that your Advanced
section is expanded so you can see all of your options. Because there’s some weirdness going on with the T and the I I’m actually going to reduce the Threshold so these become separate pieces. Hit CMD+0 to see the entire piece. I’m going to reduce the Threshold a little bit That’s looking pretty good. What the Paths does: the lower the number
of paths, the smoother your drawing is going to be. Same with Corners. I generally like
to not have a ton of corners, but sometimes you lose some detail if you get rid of too
many corners. You can always go back and smooth later. Now that everything is done, I’m going
to hit the Expand button. This is going to convert all of these into different paths.
Then I need to ungroup this twice, do this by hitting CMD+Shift+G twice. Don’t ask me why it’s twice, Everyone says “I don’t know why you have to do it twice” but you do. So then take your Selection Tool (V)
and then select the outer part of your drawing and hit delete. Do the same for all of these
pieces within your drawing that you don’t want to be colorized. What I’m going to do now is go in and
smooth some of these out. Some things look kind of funky; they digitized weird. Zoom
in and select the path that you want to edit. Go to the smooth tool, which I’ve changed
the shortcut to be Shift+S. You can do that in Edit, Keyboard Shortcuts. I use the smooth
tool so often that I feel like it’s something that’s good to have on your shortcuts easily. Now that I have the smooth tool selected,
I’m going to go ahead and trace around this edge. It doesn’t have to be perfect; I’m just
doing this with my trackpad on my laptop. Whenever you need to switch from path to path,
you need to make sure to hit the (V) tool and then hit Shift+S again for the Smooth
Tool. I’m going to go through and hit (V) and Shift+S wherever I need to adjust the smoothness of some of these. Generally the less points along a path
the better, because then the smoother your work is going to be. But because this is digitized
hand lettering, you also want to keep some of its character. So, it doesn’t have to be
perfect. If you ever need to really need to go
in here and adjust an anchor or you want to get rid of an anchor point, you can hit the
(P) tool and hover over an anchor, and when the minus comes up you can subtract it that
way. You can also go in with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and click on an anchor, drag the
handles out, whatever you need to do. Generally I’m going to trust the Image Trace tool to do what it does best. Zoom out: Hit CMD+0 to view all your artwork.
You can plop this on top of photos, you can use it as your blog logo, et cetera, whatever
you need to do. If you like this video, please subscribe
and share with your friends and let me know if there are any other Illustrator or Photoshop
tutorials that you’d like to see in the future. Thanks!

85 thoughts on “Digitize Your Hand Lettering Easily Using Image Trace in Illustrator”

  1. Thank you SO MUCH for this tutorial Jenn! It has helped me so so immensely! I wanted to ask a question. the digitized hand-lettering is black. I wish to change the color to match the color scheme of my blog theme. How do I do that? When I try adding color, it only changes to gray. Could you help me with this? Thanks in advance! x

  2. Not sure if someone mentioned this or if you covered this (you probably already know), but if you check "Ignore White" in the ADVANCED drop-down, it eliminates anything white so there would be no need to go back and click on each white piece to then delete. Saves a ton of time.

  3. How did you learn how to use illustrator in depth? I am looking into digitizing my lettering but it seems overwhelming!

  4. Hi Jenn, that was great! thanks so much! this is probably a dumb question, but once you're all done is there anything you need to do before supplying the file to a printer or do you just save as an .ai file and it's ready to go? I'm hoping to create prints out of my lettering work. Thanks

  5. This was one of the most helpful tutorials I've ever watched. Straightforward, easy to follow, and to the point. Excellent job! Exactly what I needed help with.

  6. Hey Jenn, awesome tutorial! Congrats! Now, I've done everything and now I need to change the fill colour. But everything I do turns the thing into grey. How do I do colours? Thanks a lot!

  7. You can select "ignore white" in advance section, then you don't have to cut white parts. Great tutorial though!

  8. Hi Jenn, this is great video! I like to make my own font, do you have a video on how to create font using hand lettering using Illustrator?

  9. Pls remember to say Zero not O. Cmd+zero is zoom out to view all. Cmd+o is to 'open' a file – common mistake but confusing to learners looking for guidance.

  10. Also I have been using SkillShare for 6 months and decided to put in your name in the search box, and was pleased and excited to find your classes, now I will follow you as well as subscribing to your channel here, thank you for providing wonderful classes!

  11. This was SO helpful. I've been struggling with image trace, trying to figure out how the heck it works. (Wasn't one of the things I learned well enough in college).
    However… I'm still a little confused about how the ungrouping works with the letters. And I'm also a little unclear as to why you use V when smoothing the lettering. Is V something other than copy for you?

  12. How do you do that without the smooth tool? I'm trying to use pen tool, but it's not the same as in photoshop. Shift, alt and ctrl doesn't work the same. Can't see any handles.

  13. Bravo!!!!! Wonderful tutorial, congratulations on such an amazing work!
    Can I do the same technique (take a picture) to digitize watercolor lettering? It’s just I have no scanner at the moment.

  14. Excellent tutorial. Actually it can be used to digitize any kind of line art drawing. My favourite part is how to set the levels of the white and black colors. Thank you very much.

  15. Loved it. Thanks so much! Only thing I had to look up after is exporting it to save as a PSD (being a learner on illustrator)

  16. i was happy that u r explaining at your best …. butttttt
    u haven't told in which format we have to save and this shittt took my whole work…. this ruined ur video…. these small things matter a lot for beginners without them your whole efforts are meaningless

  17. This is an amazing video. You did an excellent and thorough job teaching. I am a newbie and I feel like I can actually digitalize my own hand lettering. Thanks so much.

  18. oh my – you just uncovered the mystery behind something I have ALWAYS wondered how to do! you ROCK!

  19. I really loved this video. I've been trying in Inkscape but recently upgraded my Adobe package (previously used just LR and PS) so now I hope I have room for Illustrator. I'm working with samples of handwriting from deceased people to be engraved onto memorial jewellery for my main business, Tree of Opals. Thank you again
    Nikki x

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