Converting Live Paint to Vector Art

March 14, 2016

Converting Live Paint to Vector Art

Using Live Paint groups can be an incredibly expressive and intuitive way to create your artwork, but because intersecting elements act as if they are on the same flat surface your final art will not be ready for screen printing without a few quick tweaks.

Live Paint in Illustrator (Object => Live Paint => Make) is an alternate mode of creating and editing objects which some people find more accessible because it disguises the underlying vectors being generated. With Live Paint, intersecting path form regions that can be converted to groups and edited and filled in a way that mimics natural media paintings or image editing programs... almost like filling in a pencil sketch with watercolors.

So now we have a gorgeous illustration, but it looks like a hot mess when we start digging into the layers!

What's a designer to do?

Luckily, converting to a print-ready file is actually pretty straightforward. First, just select-all and click Object => Expand. This converts every stroke or fill into a discrete element. Then, using the Select => By Appearance command you can drag each unique Pantone color into a separate layer so that it can easily be prepped for screen printing.

Converting from live paint often creates interesting 'trapping' challenges, so be sure to reach our with questions early in the process so we can identify any issue.

Read more about the behavioral therapy folders from Potomac Pathways here. Or, create your owncustom folders here.

Happy Painting!


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