Saturday, October 27, 2012

DIY Framed Silhouettes in 5 Minutes Tops!!

Love doing funky silhouettes of the kids? I sure do. I recently did a more advanced version of it in Adobe Illustrator. This powerful software allows you to do traces of photos that are then turned into vector art as shown above...I will explain all the photos shown by detail. This takes about 5 minutes tops. I promise. 

Open Adobe Illustrator (I'm using the CS5 Version). Go to the window tab and select tools. You should then see the long tool box on the left (below). Click on the arrow on the left (black arrow) and click the image with it. 

See my little RED arrows throughout the tutorial. Take notice that the frame selection around the image looks different with the white arrow and the black arrow.
Once the image is selected with the black arrow, go to the >Object tab as shown below-then select >Live Trace then >Tracing Options.
This window should pop right up. Click the Preview box...

Without doing anything at all, this is how your image should look. Pretty cool huh? The default Threshold is 128 (see red arrow).

Change the Threshold and play around with the numbers. As long as you have Preview selected, you should be able to see the drastic changes in your image.

Depending on the shadows and highlights in your image-every photo will be different with different settings needed. Once you get the hang of the Threshold selection and the other 3 buttons (red arrows below), this is a piece of cake. It really is that simple to achieve...

See these boxes highlighted below. Mess around with it. Find the look you want to achieve for your image. When you get the look you want, hit Trace

Tip: Dark areas or shadows in your image will be black and the highlights or lighter areas will be white. See below for a close up of the image.
For the next step, go to > Object > Live Paint > Make
This alert box will pop up, just hit OK.
By hitting the black arrow, you will select the entire image...

By hitting the white arrow, you are able to select only parts of the image. Take advantage of this by selecting and deleting any sections that you do no want or need (like unnecessary background particles etc.).
This is what it looked like after I deleted all my unwanted parts...
I wanted to print  and frame this in a 6x4 inch frame so I had to make sure my settings where  correct. 

Go to the menu bar and click on > File > New. A New Document window box will pop up (see below). 

Note all SIX red arrows below. 
  1. Name your file
  2. Print should be custom
  3. Width should be 6
  4. Height should be 4
  5. Units should be inches not Points
  6. Orientation should be horizontal
When done with these selections, hit OK.
As shown...then select OK.

What I have done: I created a new 6x4 inch file. Select your entire image in the other file and copy and paste it into this new file. Resize if necessary. Note that parts of the below image are out of the rectangular area (6x4). That will not print. There you have it. This was a lot of explanation for something that is really very simple to do. You will see...

Here is the other image I used. I just wanted to show what the image looked like before it was turned into cool art...
It is so cool to see a different kind of silhouette with the kids photos. I hope you enjoyed it. Please leave me a comment or ask away if you have any questions.  
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  1. I'm 24 i don't have kids, and dont plan to yet, but this was a really cool idea, and I plan to use it. Your instructions are very simple, and easy to understand. Thanks. definitely bookmarking your site!

    1. Thanks CC! It's great for any age not only kids. It can be done for adults as presents.


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