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How to vectorize hand painted watercolours

Hello, MabLab community!

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to vectorize hand painted watercolours in Illustrator. Learning how to convert a raster texture into a vector texture is quite useful. As an example, in all those situations when you need to scale your jpeg or png texture preserving resolution.

The process is simple and easy and the result is as realistic as you had painted it.

Here below a brief excerpt of the main things to know.

Make a compound path of the picture / text we want to apply our watercolour texture to

In the first place, we need to transform the pixel based picture we’ve got, into a path. We can easily do this using the Image Trace tool that automatically appears when clicking on the picture. Depending on the image we are working with we can choose among different presets. To make things simpler, I would suggest you work with black and white pictures for this step. Once you are happy with the result of the image tracing, you need to make a compound path. This is particularly important especially if you ended up having different shapes grouped together after the image tracing step. If this is your case, you need to ungroup the group and make a compound path of all the elements that you want to apply your watercolour texture.

Once you are happy with the result of the image tracing, you need to make a compound path. This is particularly important especially if you ended up having different shapes grouped together after the image tracing step. If this is your case, you need to ungroup the group and make a compound path of all the elements that you want to apply your watercolour texture to. Making a compound path is the only way for Illustrator to apply a texture on an object by using the clipping mask tool.

(Note that the only way for Illustrator to apply a texture on an object by using the clipping mask tool is this object being a compound path).

 

Transform the raster texture into a vector texture

In order to do this, we need to use the image trace tool again. An important aspect to consider, during this phase, is cleaning all the white marks all over the texture that you got after image tracing it. Make your judgment here, as it could not be necessary if you are working on a project which is supposed to be printed or shown in a small size.

If you are working on big size project and you don’t have time or patience to clean all these white marks, put yourself at ease. Someone (me :P) has done the job already.

 

Download my vector watercolours collection HERE.

 

Apply the clipping mask

Now it’s time to put our two elements together and apply the clipping mask. It’s as simple as that!!

For more info on the clipping mask tool, check out these two links.

https://helpx.adobe.com/illustrator/using/clipping-masks.html

https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop-elements/using/clipping-masks.html

 

Add the inner glow effect to make the final result more realistic

If you want to add an extra level of realism you can darken the edges of your object by using the inner glow effect.

My personal opinion is to work with two different layers, as it’s easier to adjust them depending on how dark we want our edge to be.

First, pick two colours from your texture. One needs to be one of darkest and the other need to be amongst the lightest.

We will create our first inner glow layer by using the darker colour. In this layer, the edge needs to be dark (opacity 90%) and thin.

The second layer will be lighter (opacity 50%) and thicker.

 

The same effect can be also applied to texts. More on this toward to end of the video.

 

Hope you found this post useful! I would be thrilled to hear your technique, so if you have any suggestion just type it in the comments here below!

 

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Posted on 16/07/2018

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1 Comment

  1. Vector watercolours collection - MabLab
    1 year ago

    […] If you want to learn how to transform a raster texture into a vector scalable image, check-out this tutorial! […]

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