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Vectorising lettering.

Hey guys, apologies if this has already been asked.

I was wondering what methods you guys use to make your hand lettering designs vector in illustrator?

So take this image for example:

If I wanted to make something like this a vector whilst keeping the grungey edges and the parts that are a little see through... how would you go about doing it? Or is it even possible to do?
Would it have to be a flat colour and then edited?



Well-Known Member
If you Live Trace it you will get a decent approximation of it, but you will struggle to get that effect
with Illustrator brushes. It's getting a bit squashed up at the end btw. The R looks a bit too much like an S to me.


Staff member
Like Wardy says.

In Live Trace there are a lot of different presets but there's also a little box (to the right on mine) and at the bottom of the list there is "Tracing Options" which will give you your custom setting.
Sometimes you beed to adjust things in PS and then do a live trace so it's a bit of trial and error really.
If it's something you're going to use again you can save the settings and make a custom preset.
You can also select "Ignore White" if you want a transparent background.
You need to make sure the white is pretty clean in PS though.

The higher res the image you have to convert the better but not too big as it can sometimes be really slow.
The problem with live trace is it's still going to be fairly crude especially with something as detailed as the above image. If that were a one off brand marque for a decent client with usage varying from letter heads to huge blown up versions (e.g. billboard or vehicle livery) then I would re-draw it on screen with the pen tool…yes, very time consuming! but it will look a hundred times better.