Please welcome guest blogger, Melinda Martin, whom some of you know as Musings of a Minister’s Wife. Some of you know her as The Helpy Helper. Some of you don’t know her, but we should work on that.
Like me, many of you are self-taught. We are all learning as we go. I learn at least one new thing every day. Coupled with that “one new thing” is usually the forehead smack of, “Boy, I have been doing this the hard way! This is going to help me out so much!” Today’s “this” is a great bit of insight as to how to get the most of your vector stock photography vector downloads.
This article is going to focus on the vector images that you are able to purchase (the computer-drawn objects, not the photos). You will need Adobe Illustrator or its rival, Corel.
As my indie publishing and design business has grown over the last two years, my clients have presented me with many different projects. Together, we have taken their visions for journals, fiction novels, memoirs, devotionals, and curriculum and made them a reality—a beautiful and rewarding reality. All with the help of stock photography.
When you are deciding which images to purchase, it will show you the file type that the image download is available in. To make the most of your vector stock photography downloads, you want to make sure that the vector design file is included. This will show up as an eps or .AI file. WMF is also an acceptable file format. You will be able to open the files from within Adobe Illustrator and make adjustments to ensure that your graphic is just right for your project.
I have several hours of my life invested in Adobe Photoshop and Adobe InDesign. And, while I know my way around Illustrator and use it on a regular basis, I haven’t had an opportunity to delve into it like I would like. There’s just so many hours in a day, you know? If any of you happen to be Illustrator gurus and have some additional pointers/techniques, please leave them in the comments below.
Export Image onto a Transparent Background
Hands down, the thing that most of y’all need to know is that you can easily (and I mean easily!) get your downloaded vector image to export out onto a transparent background. It’s as simple as opening the file and then going to File, Export, select PNG file type from the export as field, and make sure that “transparent background” is selected. The only other thing that may stand in your way is a background layer that is easily turned off from the layers panel.
The next part is easy, too, but requires a little bit more “doing”.
Adjust the Color of an Object
Like Photoshop (and PicMonkey), Illustrator is a layer-based program. To adjust the color of an item within the graphic, you need to select it directly. You can use the direct selection arrow provided for you in the toolbar, or you can locate it in the layers panel. Once you have it selected, you can adjust the fill color by selecting the new color from the “fill color” square. If you want to make the same color adjustment to several items at once, then you can use the ctrl+click method to make your various selections.
Extract Specific Items
Say the designer was trying to give you a good deal by providing you with multiple images in one file. But you just want to extract out one of those images. You can use your selection arrow to draw a box around the object that you want. This will automatically select everything within that range. (Another way is to find what you want in the layers panel and click on it there.)
Once your object is selected, you want to hide the other objects that you aren’t interested in, shrink your artboard down to just that one object, and then export it out as its own image file with a transparent background, if desired.
Change Full Color Objects to Black and White Line Art
I recently completed a curriculum project for IntoxicatedOnLife.com. We needed coloring page objects (black and white line art). I searched everywhere, trying to find just the right images for a pre-k/k curriculum. Everything was in color or the line art I found was not the right style or quality.
It then dawned on me that there had to be a way to easily adjust the image from within Illustrator to make it line-art ready. It’s such a powerful program—surely it could do this task! I was not disappointed. I was able to find all of the vector images that I needed on dollarstockphoto.com, change it to a black and white line art object in Illustrator, and export it out at the correct dimension and resolution for a print project.
Most of the images that I found were one of several images included in the graphic. For instance, the designer included 10 animals and I just needed to adjust and extract one of them.
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