DIGITIZING YOUR work
So now that you've become a lettering pro - you're probably wondering how to take your beautiful artwork and turn it into prints or use for graphic design purposes, right? Well, I've outlined below the step by step process using Photoshop and Illustrator to isolate your type and digitize your lettering!
In this demonstration, I'm using Adobe Creative Cloud - you're welcome to download free trials of this software and I've included links below so you can easily do that. I've also included keyboard shortcuts for Mac, but if you're using a PC, the shortcuts are the same you just use CTRL instead of COMMAND.
STEP ONE - TRANSFER TO YOUR COMPUTER
The first step is to get your artwork on your computer.
SCAN - The best way to do this is to scan your image - (300dpi, full color, image in your settings). Before scanning, make sure that your artwork is flat on the glass. Sometimes it's helpful to lay a book or something heavy on top to make sure there aren't any gaps between the paper and the glass of your scanner.
HIGH RES PHOTO - If you don't have a scanner, the second best option is to take a photo in natural lighting with a DSLR camera and upload it to your computer. You'll need to make sure that you take your photo during the day, in indirect lighting, and as steady as possible. Also be sure to line up your image straight on - in other words, not at a weird angle that will distort your artwork.
STEP TWO - BRING INTO PHOTOSHOP
Pretty simple - after transferring to your computer, open your file into Photoshop.
STEP THREE - ADJUST THE LEVELS
After opening up your image in Photoshop, select Command+L (or in the menu, select IMAGE > ADJUSTMENTS >LEVELS) to bring up your levels palette. Then, play with the slider to get the best effect. Your goal here is to create more contrast between your background and your actual artwork.
Step four - select your lettering
In your Layers Panel on the right, right-click your Background Layer and select Layer From Background and hit OK. Then, in the menu, choose SELECT > SIMILAR. It will automatically select your entire background. After that, just hit your DELETE key and go to FILE > SAVE AS > PNG.
STEP FIVE - BRING INTO ILLUSTRATOR
Next, open Illustrator and select NEW DOCUMENT. You can make your document either PRINT, WEB, DEVICES, VIDEO, or OTHER. I selected PRINT for this demonstration and set my document size to 8.5x11 since that is the size paper I want to print on. In the menu, select FILE > PLACE and find your PNG file you saved from Photoshop. Select the file you just placed in Illustrator and, while holding down the SHIFT key, drag the corner so that your drawing fits within your document size. Then, select the Black and White Logo option under Image Trace.
STEP SIX - PERFECT IT
If you're really familiar with Illustrator, you can perfect your work with this next step. If you're a newbie, I'd skip this one and maybe come back later after you've had some more experience. :) Click on the Expand button and then right-click while everything is still highlighted and select Ungroup. This makes your individual letters adjustable. At this point, you can make further adjustments as needed with nodes and anchors. With this, you can adjust the smoothness or your curves and the shape of your lettering. You can also use the Smooth tool to trace over your lettering and it will automatically smooth out your letters and remove extra anchor points.
STEP SEVEN - SAVE IT
Depending on what you want to do next, you'll need to save your document in these different ways:
OVERLAY or WEB - If you want to use your lettering as an overlay on photos or as a graphic on your website, you'll want to save for web and devices as a PNG file. To do this, in the menu, select FILE > SAVE FOR WEB and then select the Preset "PNG-24" and SAVE. This will allow you to place the file over an image or upload it to your website for best results.
FOR PRINT - If you want to print your lettering, you'll need to adjust your canvas size to whatever size paper you'll be printing on and then save. To do this, keep your white background (or whatever background and colors you prefer), then select the ARTBOARD TOOL (SHIFT + O) and adjust your document to your desired paper size (example: 8.5x11 for normal paper). After that, you may need to resize your lettering to fit your canvas. To do this, select your artwork layer and hit COMMAND + T on your keyboard. While holding down the SHIFT key, use your mouse to drag the corner or your artwork in or out to resize. You'll want to be sure to hold the SHIFT key the entire time because it keeps your artwork from being distorted. Once you've resized it, lift your hand off the mouse before letting go of the SHIFT key. After your artwork is the correct size, select from the menu FILE > SAVE AS > and save as ADOBE PDF.
I hope this helps you take your artwork to a new level!! Below, I've listed out some commonly used print dimensions and some examples of art prints and graphic design work from our shop.
PRINT SIZES THAT ARE COMMONLY USED
Wanting to turn your lettering artwork into prints to sell? Check out some of these commonly used print sizes as a reference!
8" x 10"
11" x 14"
18" x 24"
24" x 36"
CHECK OUT THESE ITEMS FROM MY SHOP!!!
To see some of the prints from my shop, click around on the photos below!