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    Default Quick and Painless Image Vectoring in Photoshop

    Did you know that you could scale a vector graphic to the moon and back, and it wouldn’t lose any of it’s clarity or ultra smooth edges? Well, they don’t make printers that big… but at least you can create vector graphics from photographs in just a few simple steps! Here’s how!
    I absolutely love finding graffiti. I try to capture and re-use simple tags or stencils in any way I can. Isolating and vectoring a tag like this, though, can often times be tedious and painful.
    Or is it?
    Here’s a quick how-to on vectoring photographs in just a few steps. With this technique, you could cut your work time in half, and the final results typically look great!
    Step 1 – Getting Started

    It’s usually easier to demonstrate these sorts of things with a real world example, so in this tutorial, we’re going to convert part of a photo I took with my phone. If you didn’t already know, phones typically don’t take crystal clear photos, but by the time we’re done converting things into vector format, we’ll have a graphic with great clarity.
    source image - Quick and Painless Image Vectoring in Photoshop
    In this tutorial, we’re going to isolate and vectorize the “Pirate Radio” text from the photograph.
    First, we have to select the color of the object we want to isolate. For this, we’ll use the eyedropper tool and select the black lettering.
    eyedropper tool - Quick and Painless Image Vectoring in Photoshop sample color - Quick and Painless Image Vectoring in Photoshop
    Step 2 -Sampling Colors







    Once you’ve sampled the color, use Select Color Range to select the colors that compose the object you’re looking to vectorize.
    color range - Quick and Painless Image Vectoring in Photoshop
    The selection may look a little rough, but try to clean it up as best you can to select the areas as clearly as possible. If needed, you can add additional colors to your Color Range using the eyedropper tool with a plus symbol next to it (or remove sampled colors with the eyedropper tool with a negative symbol by it). The fuzziness value will allow you to select similar colors to the colors you’ve already sampled.
    color range box - Quick and Painless Image Vectoring in Photoshop
    Step 3 – Clean Up!

    You may notice that the “Select Color Range” picked up some extraneous parts of your image with similar colors. Using the selection tools, go back and get rid of these areas (Hold Ctrl + Minus for negative selections).
    extraneous selection - Quick and Painless Image Vectoring in Photoshop subtract selection - Quick and Painless Image Vectoring in Photoshop
    Disable your photograph’s layer, and create a new one on top of a white background. Using the Fill Tool, fill your selection to make sure you didn’t miss any huge extraneous parts.
    fill selection - Quick and Painless Image Vectoring in Photoshop
    Step 4 – Convert to Work Path

    Okay, so our desired graphic is isolated, and we have a good selection to work with. Time to convert to Vector.
    Go to your Paths Palette (Window > Paths if not already open), and click Make Work Path… This will convert your selection into a vector based work path.
    make work path - Quick and Painless Image Vectoring in Photoshop
    Path Tolerance determines the work path’s fidelity. The lower the number, the closer the path stays to the pixels. It would be best to try this multiple times at different levels until you find a good looking path.
    tolerance - Quick and Painless Image Vectoring in Photoshop
    Here we have our beautiful path!
    vector path - Quick and Painless Image Vectoring in Photoshop
    Select the Pen Tool from the toolbox, and while you have the path selected, right click anywhere inside of the working image area and select Define Custom Shape. After naming your custom shape, it will become visible in your custom shapes option bar.
    To use your shape, select the Custom Shapes Tool, and select your shape from the options bar. Then drag it anywhere in your working image area to make a vector shape (Note: Holding shift will constrain the shape to it’s original proportions).
    final vector - Quick and Painless Image Vectoring in Photoshop
    Here’s finished product, with a couple tweaks:
    final2 - Quick and Painless Image Vectoring in Photoshop
    This is a great technique you can use in many scenarios Here are a few other situations I’ve used it in:
    example1 - Quick and Painless Image Vectoring in Photoshopexample1 vector - Quick and Painless Image Vectoring in Photoshop
    example2 - Quick and Painless Image Vectoring in Photoshop
    Enjoy, folks!


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