Use Adobe Illustrator to Live Trace a Graphic

Open Adobe Illustrator (start > All Programs > Adobe Design Premium CS5:

Adobe Illustrator

Create a New Document (File > New) and choose a document size for print shown below:


Go to File>Place to place the bg_flag.gif file.

After clicking on the placed file with a Selection tool, click on the down arrow next to Live Trace up on the Control palette to pull down the options. Click on Tracing Options.

Live Trace

Change the settings to the ones shown here; pretty much a basic black and white trace. Click Trace to apply the trace.

Trace Option Settings

Press Expand on the Control palette at the top of the document window.


Next, deselect the image. Then, using the Direct Selection tool Direct Selection Tool, click on the white areas of the placed image. Press delete to remove the white areas. Be sure you are using the Direct Selection tool, the white arrow, and not the Selection tool, the black arrow, which would select then entire object instead of the clicked object (the white area) of the greater expanded object. You will need to select all the white areas. To delete all the white at one time, using the direct selection tool click one white area then while holding down the Shift key click the remaining white areas. Once they are all selection press the Delete key on your keyboard. Notice that a blue box surrounds the selected area. As you can see below all the white areas are selected.

Areas Selected

With the Direct Selection tool, click on the black object and click on the black and white gradient in the Swatches palette (Windows>Swatches). To get to the gradient swatches, click on the select more swatches button at the bottom of the swatches palette, choose gradients, and then neutrals. Select neutral 4 in the gradient swatch box.

Linear Gradient

Change the direction of the gradient to a diagonal slant by selecting the Gradient tool Gradient Tool and then clicking-and-dragging form the upper left the bottom right of the object.

Gradient Drag

Now you will give it some color. At the gradient palette (If the gradient palette is not open click Window > Gradient) double click on the swatch at one end of the color swatch and select a color from the Swatches palette. Click at the other opposite side of the gradient slider and select another color. I changed my colors to blue and white to keep the theme similar to the IBO logo colors.

Double Click

Here are the colors I chose for my gradient.


For the publication, you want more white area, so use the Gradient palette slider to have more white show:


The object should look something like this.


Save the Adobe Illustrator with a unique name like gradient background.

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