Author Topic: Calligraphy to Vector Tutorial  (Read 15375 times)

Offline Linda Y.

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Re: Calligraphy to Vector Tutorial
« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2014, 11:19:06 PM »
Strictly speaking, I don't think you can (someone please correct me if I'm wrong). Most of the time, the main purpose of a vectored calligraphy file is the convenience of resizing, so you can print it any size, from a business card/letterhead to a tee shirt to a 50-ft-tall billboard. Keeping the beautiful subtle shading, colors, etc., in Photoshop is fine if you don't intend to enlarge the piece (if it is going to be scanned at high-res and published in a off-set printed book, for example).

You can re-create the shading and variations digitally by using Illustrator functions, but the original cannot be used in a vector file, as it is bitmap in nature.

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Calligraphy to Vector Tutorial
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2014, 11:51:55 PM »
... but the original cannot be used in a vector file, as it is bitmap in nature.

DOH!  :o Of course - silly me!  :D

Thanks Linda!  :)
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Offline schin

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Re: Calligraphy to Vector Tutorial
« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2014, 08:55:23 PM »
I am new to these skillshare classes but I found some vectorizing tutorials on them.. as anyone taken them? I'm looking at this one http://www.skillshare.com/classes/design/Love-Your-Letters-Communicate-Visually-with-Words/393632797 or this one: http://www.skillshare.com/classes/design/Digitizing-Calligraphy-From-Sketch-to-Vector-Calligraphy-II/227581827/
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Offline ewigginton

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Re: Calligraphy to Vector Tutorial
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2014, 11:14:02 AM »
Schin, did you check out the link I posted above with the tutorial? Did it work for what you needed?

Ellen

Offline Estefa

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Re: Calligraphy to Vector Tutorial
« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2014, 04:16:54 AM »
These skillshare classes are also new to me - it sounds like a great way to expand ones techniques! 10 years earlier you could learn such things only either from direct collegues or from super-expensive workshops!

Her are some of my thoughts regarding illustrator - as I was thinking about taking one of these classes as well - or this one:

http://www.skillshare.com/classes/design/The-Final-Steps-of-Hand-Lettering-Color-Texture-Lettering-II/1795584604/

I think as I understand it in this class and in Molly Suber Thorbes class they will be teaching (among other techniques) how to use auto tracing in Illustrator effectively. If you look at the Illustrator screenshot from Molly's class under "Digitising" you can see tons of bezier points which are formed when auto-tracing is used. She also says "then vectorize it in Illustrator. I’ll teach you some special techniques for making sure your final logotype retains the integrity of the stroke contrast, including the charming imperfections of the fine hairlines, that it had as ink on paper." (I guess auto-tracing must have improved dramatically since I tried it first with illustrations about 15 years ago! It was just ugly back then and (for me) unusable.) 

Also in Mary Kate McDevitt's class she says "You will learn how to digitize your lettering, without compromising the hand-drawn edge."

I guess for me both classes would be quite interesting as I like to keep this handmade look which is why I up until now I mostly used Photoshop to work with my illustrations (and calligraphy, a bit, since some months now). With all the disadvantages this has, mainly the impossibilty to enlarge stuff if it was not scanned high enough in the first place.

The other class looks quite promising too but is not about digitizing calligraphy but about lettering if I understand this correctly. I had a look at some of the student projects, and here

http://www.skillshare.com/classes/design/Love-Your-Letters-Communicate-Visually-with-Words/393632797/projects/5915

in this project you can see directly above "Started tracing in Illustrator" the anchor points. These are quite surely hand drawn. I guess! Maybe I am wrong but that would make me wonder how he could get so few points in auto-tracing. He still uses much more points than I would. The less points, the better the control (yes, I AM a control freak …).

So this is a totally different approach. What I would like to learn here (as I also do logos and stuff) is the other techniques he mentioned about further manipulating the artwork with illustrator tools. Although I know well how to work with simple bezier courves I have never used the more advanced possibilities that illustrator offers.

This is also a good method to create very clean, short calligraphic pieces like monograms, single words or such (or pieces that have to be printed quite big like in the other thread the lettering on the car window that Erica mentioned, because I am not sure if the auto-tracing process still works with extreme enlargement. Considering that Erica had problems with that special piece I guess it doesn't because you had this made redone as I remember?). I also don't think it works well on more complex things because it is really a quite time consuming process. But it gives definitely much more controll over the curves than the auto-tracing method.

I did last spring a workshop with Martina Flor

http://www.martinaflor.com/

and Giuseppe Salerno

http://calligraphyinberlin.com/

and while the work with Giuseppe was for me the starting point to begin learning calligraphy in earnest I found the tips and hints Martina offered to digitize calligraphy / lettering extremely helpful to make this process faster, simpler and easier to control than the way I worked with curves before. If anyone is interested I would be glad to make a fast how-to!

Sorry for this mega-post - I was thinking about the whole Illustrator stuff a lot in the last weeks, but didn't have access to my computer, so I only had a quick look an the mobile regarding these discussions here. If I take one of these classes I will keep you updated!

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Offline Linda Y.

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Re: Calligraphy to Vector Tutorial
« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2014, 12:21:54 PM »
What I would like to learn here (as I also do logos and stuff) is the other techniques he mentioned about further manipulating the artwork with illustrator tools. Although I know well how to work with simple bezier courves I have never used the more advanced possibilities that illustrator offers.


Totally YES to this! I know Illustrator and I'm pretty handy with the Bezier tool (been using Illustrator since 1998), but for the past year or so, I've been stalking following some brilliant digital lettering artists on Tumblr and Instagram (like Martina, Neil Tasker, Ryan Hamrick, Neil Secretario, etc. etc.) and would really love to take that extra step to combine my Illustrator knowledge with my calligraphy knowledge. It would be so great to take a class on this.

The jagged edges maybe be "charming," but they kind of drive me crazy too. Maybe I'm OCD about it, but I try to challenge myself to use the least number of points while working in Illustrator too!

Please keep us updated if you take one of these classes! Thank you for sharing.

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Calligraphy to Vector Tutorial
« Reply #21 on: January 09, 2014, 02:52:17 PM »
As I mentioned, I've been taking Laura Coyle's course which is awesome! But unfortunately no longer available through reneepearson. So I am hoping she will offer her courses through another venue because the instruction is top notch. She has her own webite which is great:

Illustratoring

I took Sean McCabe's Illustrator class on skillshare. Sean is a very generous, skilled instructor. However, I didn't feel like I really learned how to do Illustrator! I basically got to the live trace part and felt like, 'been here, done this, not what I need.' Not a reflection of Sean's class - just not what I was looking for.

Live Trace may have improved but I need to learn how to do it manually. And unlike some of the other calligraphers who like the charm of the imperfect lines, I am all about perfect lines! So if there are any, I don't want the imperfections after I've gone through vectorizing. However, I also still want it to look like calligraphy, not a font.

I am not discouraging anyone from taking a skillshare class. In fact, just the opposite. We are all at different places, need different things, etc. And the instructors are all top notch, the price is great, and the feedback from peers and instructors is a great piece of the learning. I'm looking forwarding to hearing further feedback about the newer courses.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2014, 02:55:24 PM by Erica McPhee »
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Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Calligraphy to Vector Tutorial
« Reply #22 on: January 09, 2014, 03:04:01 PM »
One other thing, I was wondering... I saw Alan Ariail vectorize his lettering using a pencil sketch! And his final was AMAZING! I wish I could find it to share. His blog is a gold mine: The Art of Hand Lettering

Anyway, my point -- his process seems to be equal parts skill in hand lettering and Illustrator. His sketches (which reflect his masterful lettering) are not finished by any means. However, he can work magic with his skill in Illustrator. Is this different from starting from calligraphy?

It seems like it is but doesn't have to be. Meaning, the original is more important if your goal is only to vectorize the calligraphy you have done v. using Illustrator to continue the lettering and/or refinement process of your calligraphy. Do you know what I mean?

I want to be able to do both which I think is a very different skill set than just learning to vectorize your calligraphy.
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Offline Estefa

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Re: Calligraphy to Vector Tutorial
« Reply #23 on: January 09, 2014, 06:06:18 PM »
The jagged edges maybe be "charming," but they kind of drive me crazy too. Maybe I'm OCD about it, but I try to challenge myself to use the least number of points while working in Illustrator too!

Please keep us updated if you take one of these classes! Thank you for sharing.

Hi Linda, haha, me too! And I will definitely keep you updatet if I take this class! Also thanks for posting the names of these other lettering artists, I will look at their work too! – And what is OCD ;)?

As I mentioned, I've been taking Laura Coyle's course which is awesome! But unfortunately no longer available through reneepearson. So I am hoping she will offer her courses through another venue because the instruction is top notch. She has her own webite which is great:

Illustratoring

So is one problem that you didn't learn how to manage the path / drawing tools in the class you mentioned? I checked Laura's website and found this tutorial

http://www.illustratoring.com/pen-tool-illustrator-tutorial/

where Laura explaines the use of anchor points, curves etc. quite in detail. Have you seen this or something similar?

I took Sean McCabe's Illustrator class on skillshare. Sean is a very generous, skilled instructor. However, I didn't feel like I really learned how to do Illustrator! I basically got to the live trace part and felt like, 'been here, done this, not what I need.' Not a reflection of Sean's class - just not what I was looking for.

Live Trace may have improved but I need to learn how to do it manually. And unlike some of the other calligraphers who like the charm of the imperfect lines, I am all about perfect lines! So if there are any, I don't want the imperfections after I've gone through vectorizing. However, I also still want it to look like calligraphy, not a font.

I am not discouraging anyone from taking a skillshare class. In fact, just the opposite. We are all at different places, need different things, etc. And the instructors are all top notch, the price is great, and the feedback from peers and instructors is a great piece of the learning. I'm looking forwarding to hearing further feedback about the newer courses.

I hope I understand correctly what you mean by that you "still would want it to look like calligraphy and not like a font"! I guess what you would have to do then is manually trace the letters, like I described above (maybe not very good, sorry my english isn't that great when it comes to talking about these technical things), but this will result in something, well maybe not exactly like a font, but something with super clean lines - like for example in the "Love Your Letters" class.

One other thing, I was wondering... I saw Alan Ariail vectorize his lettering using a pencil sketch! And his final was AMAZING! I wish I could find it to share. His blog is a gold mine: The Art of Hand Lettering

Anyway, my point -- his process seems to be equal parts skill in hand lettering and Illustrator. His sketches (which reflect his masterful lettering) are not finished by any means. However, he can work magic with his skill in Illustrator. Is this different from starting from calligraphy?

It seems like it is but doesn't have to be. Meaning, the original is more important if your goal is only to vectorize the calligraphy you have done v. using Illustrator to continue the lettering and/or refinement process of your calligraphy. Do you know what I mean?

I want to be able to do both which I think is a very different skill set than just learning to vectorize your calligraphy.

I had a look at Alan Ariails Blog (amazing!). I did a quick search and found this:

http://custom-lettering.blogspot.de/2013/06/my-lettering-entry-for-typism-book.html

Did you mean something like that what you want to achieve as a look? (This is more or less also how Martina Flor works, although her work is very different.) Here you can see this lettering process quite good. He uses the underlying pencil sketch to draw the vectors with the path-tools (if you enlarge the second picture, you can see he has selected the little arrow). You cannot see single points, because he hasn't selected any, but the lines are smooth (not made by tons of corner points like you get from auto-tracing).

But also although he uses a seemingly rough sketch to vectorize, he already has a very good concept about the overall look and the composition of the piece. He is not "layouting" in Illustrator, like he says "I basically use vector lines to draw what I see in the preliminary rough and remain true to the sketch."

What I am trying to say: yes, auto-tracing can be done by anyone with the software and a good digital bitmap or greyscale file. The better the file, the better the auto-tracing, and you need obviously to know some tricks about the exact adjustments, but the skill here lies in the creation of the original drawing / calligraphy / whatever, not in the vectorization. If the picture or calligraphy is not so great, no auto-tracing will make it better aesthetically. I think it is very very valuable for me at least to know this process better in cases where I want to keep the hand-made look of an artwork.

And no, I think this is not different if you do it with calligraphy. Just keep in mind that to create such complex lettering like this from Alan takes a lot of practice, and when I remember how I learned Freehand (also back in 1998) and then later Illustrator this can be a long and complex learning process … I don't want to sound like a know-it-all, I just mean that there is no magic button in illustrator that makes everything beautiful and smooth - it means also really a lot of work and experience. But it is definitely worth it!!

Correct me if I am wrong with any of this! Maybe vector lettering is much easier and faster with a tablet ( I am one of these old-fashioned mouse users).

So, sorry again for the long post … I am curious to hear your thoughts on this!
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Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Calligraphy to Vector Tutorial
« Reply #24 on: January 09, 2014, 09:25:52 PM »
Thank you Stefani, you did a great job of describing exactly what I am talking about. I don't want the "quick fix" of an auto-trace. I want to learn the "art" of lettering in Illustrator. As you describe, there is a difference in terms of the depth necessary. I haven't found the skillshare classes to approach this depth. And that is no fault of theirs, it isn't what they are intended to do.

Actually, Laura's classes are exactly what I need. She offered a full Illustrator I & II class. I just meant for others because it isn't available anymore to other learners unless you've already signed up because the website it is through is being closed.

In terms of calligraphy v. lettering, I was wondering the difference in terms of the initial scan because Linda mentioned the importance of a good, black & white scan but yet Alan's expertise allows a rougher sketch as a starting point.

Essentially, the "gap" in classes available is between learning Illustrator just to get your calligraphy into a vector format and learning Illustrator to use as a tool for lettering.
Truly, Erica
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Offline Estefa

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Re: Calligraphy to Vector Tutorial
« Reply #25 on: January 11, 2014, 03:55:33 PM »
Thanks Erica, I am glad I got this right. I'd also love to be able to do both (well, I mean).

About Linda's post, I thought she was refering to auto-tracing? Because as far as my knowledge goes this gives terrible results with pencil scetches.

I think the one class is really about manually tracing / lettering – I'll let you know in case I take it!
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Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Calligraphy to Vector Tutorial
« Reply #26 on: January 12, 2014, 12:36:13 AM »
Yes, she was talking about vectorizing and then specifically mentioned tracing. Good catch!

OK, great. I look forward to hearing your feedback if you do.  :D
Truly, Erica
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Offline Mljohnson805

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Re: Calligraphy to Vector Tutorial
« Reply #27 on: January 30, 2014, 11:37:01 PM »
Thanks so much. Thinking that video will have a thousand starts and stops before I get it right. Great tutorial.
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Offline laurab

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Re: Calligraphy to Vector Tutorial
« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2014, 12:44:13 AM »
Just a few thoughts here because it is late and I need to get to sleep... :-)

I've been scanning hand lettering and line work for years and vectorizing in Illustrator. The Image Trace has been improved very much over the years, especially from Streamline, which I used eons ago. Experimenting with settings you can achieve various looks—to keep subtle edge irregularity or smooth it completely. Once "expanded" the image can be sized up as big as any other vector image. I can share some of my settings if you'd like. I begin scanning lettering done in black ink or with a black marker even, on white paper. This is done at a very high resolution (1200 dpi) in black and white. Then I place the scan in AI and run Image Trace.

I have also on occasion taken a sketch, scanned it, placed in AI and then used it as a template to draw the lettering using the pen tool. It is a very slow process.

I've enrolled for, but not had the time to take both Mary Kate McDevitt's classes and Molly Jacques' class on Skillshare. Mary Kate's second class does go into scanning lettering and vectorizing. I can't remember if Molly's does, but I'll check in the morning.

I hope this helps some. Night all!
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Offline Elizabeth Dianne

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Re: Calligraphy to Vector Tutorial
« Reply #29 on: February 23, 2014, 10:07:59 PM »
Yes, would love it if you would share shome of your settings.  Thank you.