Illustrator – Live Trace Tutorial

We are using Live Trace in Adobe Illustrator to make a raster image ready for the shop bot, vinyl cutter, and laser cutting machine.

Step 1:

Open Adobe Illustrator, and exit the welcome screen.

In this tutorial, an example file will be used. On the menu bar, click File then Open. The example file is in the folder “Example Image” under “My Documents”.

Double-click Kanji Character luck.
Note: If your image is too big, resize it with the selection tool by clicking on the
image first, then moving your cursor to the corner of the image. A double-headed
arrow cursor will then appear. Click and hold down “Shift”, as well as your
mouse, and drag.

Step 2:

When the image is selected, the Live Trace controls will appear on the options bar, which is right under the menu bar.

Next to the Live Trace button, there is an arrow, click it. These are additional settings you may use if your image does not come out the way you want after using Live Trace.

Click Tracing Options.

Step 3:

A dialog box may appear if you have a large image. Click OK to continue.
In the Tracing Options dialog box, check the box for Ignore White. This will make the file suitable for the laser cutting machine, vinyl cutter, and shop bot by taking out the box that the image would have if you didn’t check “Ignore White”. Click Trace.

Step 4:

From here, you can adjust the Threshold, on the options bar, to your preference. Click Expand. This will give your image anchor points, thus making it a vector path.
Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + y to see the outline of the file. This will help you find any overlapping lines, which needs to be fixed to be a ready file.

Note: For the laser machine, you can give your vector image a black fill or black stroke. The stroke must be .001 inches to be cut out. To etch your image, the stroke has to be over the cutting stroke. Also, you must save it as a .pdf file. For the vinyl machine, you must have a black fill. For the shop bot you must have a stroke.

Save it as Kanji Character or Kanji Character luck.pdf