Photo Hut–Photo and Illustrator modification

Illustrator Realism

The technique I use in my painting I've come to call "Illustrator Realism". It is similar to Photorealism but differs in that I manipulate the images in Adobe Illustrator. The effect I apply is called "Live Trace" ("Image Trace" in more recent versions) and modifies the image in several interesting ways. The tracing effect converts pixel areas to paths (the basis of the vector program) and, depending on the settings and size of the image, these can range from a handful to more than twenty thousand. On the higher end the effect can be very realistic but by reducing the number of paths the image becomes increasingly abstract. The color can also be modified, usually by limiting the number of hues. The tracing process will often add a number of arbitrary colors creating interesting variations—a pale violet may suddenly appear in a red brick wall. Color may be controlled by creating predetermined color schemes and even full ranges of color palettes. Once the image has been traced it can be edited. The shapes of individual paths can be modified and color can be adjusted at will. The  finished Illustrator document is printed and used as a template for the painting. I do, however, remain flexible and adjust color and form as I work.

On the left are the original photo and the Illustrator template for "Photo Hut". The differences are subtle so you may have to zoom in. The image of the painting can be found in my gallery (under recent works) and was exhibited at Shippensburg University as part of a student-curated show.





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