Incorporating textures into your vector artwork is a great way to add visual interest. Manually drawing a detailed vector texture in Illustrator can be labor intensive and time consuming. But creating custom dynamic textures using the Live Trace tool makes Illustrator textures quick and easy.In Part One of Easy Vector Textures, we’ll walk through the simple steps of creating a texture. Part Two, will be an exercise in using some of textures in a design.Let’s start by selecting a photo that shows the type of texture you want to create. I am going to use the weave texture shown below.Once you have selected a texture, place the photo into your Illustrator document (File > Place). With the photo selected, create an expanded trace of the image by selecting Live Trace in the Object menu (Object > Live Trace > Make and Expand), which can be seen on the left. The trace will be a simplified black and white vector version of the texture image. In order to use the texture to modify a larger design, we want to separate out the black and get rid of the white – to leave negative space through which the objects behind the texture will show through. Select all of the white portions of the traced texture by, first clicking on a portion of the white using your Direct Selection Tool, and then choose Select Same > Fill Color for the Select menu. (For for information on using the Select Same option, see QUICK TIP – Easy Way to Select Multiple Objects.)With all of the white portions of the texture selected, hit Delete on your keyboard.Now you are left with only the black portions of the texture.To see how the texture can be used to modify a flat object, draw a rectangle and fill it with the color of your choice, as seem below.Now select your texture object, fill it with a slightly different shade of the chosen color, and place it on top of the rectangle. Now we have an object with a detailed texture – that only took us a matter of seconds!Here are a few more simple samples of quick and easy textures creating using the Live Trace Tool:
Stay tuned next week for Part Two of Easy Vector Textures, where we will incorporate some vector textures into a larger design!