ARTD 335 - Computer Illustration

using template layers to manually trace artwork

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Template layers are locked, nonprinting layers that you can use to manually trace images. Template layers are dimmed by 50% so you can easily see any paths you draw in front of the layer. You can create template layers when you place an image.

  1. To place an image as a template layer for tracing, choose File > Place, select the EPS, PDF, or bitmap (JPG, PNG, or TIF) image file you want to trace.
  2. Select Template. If the Link box above the Template box (on the bottom left) is checked, uncheck it. When the Link box is checked, your Illustrator document maintains an external link to the image you are about to place, but does not actually bring the image into the document. When the Link box is unchecked, Illustrator brings the image into the document and embeds it, so that when you hand in your project, your drawing goes with it.
  3. Click Place. A new template layer appears below the current layer in the panel. The eye icon is replaced by the template icon , and the layer is locked.
  4. Trace over the template image using the Pen tool, creating and naming a new layer for each overlapping element of your drawing.
  5. To hide the template layer, choose View > Hide Template. Choose View > Show Template layer to see it again.
  6. To make sure your drawing on the template layer is embeded:
    • Click Window in the top menu and choose Links. The name of your drawing image should be listed in the Links panel. If there is a symbol next to it, it is properly embeded and everything is good.
    • If there is no symbol next to it, then the Link box was probably accidentally checked when you placed your drawing. Unlock the template layer, make the drawing visible, and click on the drawing on the artboard. Then click the Embed button at the top of the main Illustrator window, and the symbol will appear.

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