Centre for Fine Print Research University of the West of England Centre for Fine Print Research

How to create an Autographic image-based input

Download the full Auto graphic How to guide as a PDF


The autographic approach in making an image-based input ensures that the user can retain as much control as possible over the creation of an output. Through this method the user can adjust variables such as solid colour, texture and line though image layering.

Throughout the How To guide document you will be guided through two methods of creating an appropriate image, one solely digital and the other incorporating hand-drawn aspects into the digital creation of the image.* Please download the guide above and refer to the images and instructions before reading these instructions:

Method One - The user can adopt many different pieces of software, however, for continuity and accessibility this guide will use Adobe Illustrator CC and Photoshop CC to carry out all image editing.

Step 1 - Image
Find your image. This can be any digital image of your choosing, however, keep in mind the complexity of image. This image contains several different elements of texture and flat colour. The main challenges within this image will be achieving a subtle colour change within the jug and obtaining accurate texture qualities within the blankets and bottles.

Step 2 - Illustrator
Open the image in Adobe Illustrator Familiarise yourself with the pen tool, curve tool and pencil tool, which will enable you to draw paths around each object within the image. Using a graphics tablet will enable the user to draw a more natural line whilst using the pencil tool. The following screenshot demonstrates where each of the tools can be found in the sidebar. Fig 2. Layout of Illustrator and relevant tools

Step 3 – Creating the Paths

Using these tools, start to draw paths around each of the objects within the image. This will allow for solid colour to be allocated to each of the areas. Whilst carrying out this task it would be best to ensure that the paths are correctly organised in different layers. This will make it easier for the user to navigate when carrying out any alterations to each path. The use of colour is only used to help distinguish between layers. See figs 3 - 4, Fig 3.

The image is segmented into colours and corresponds to 6 different named layers in Illustrator. Fig. 4 The completed image is divided into the fields of colour The image to the bottom right of figure 4 is the complete where the main aspects of the image captured through paths. After carrying out this task the user now has the maximum amount of control over each of the layers created. This can be exported, printed as is, or can be further manipulated through the addition of texture.

Step 4. 1 Creating Texture, Image Trace and Expand Tool The next step in this method is the addition of texture. This can be performed using a range of methods, tools, and can vary depending on what outcome the user requires.

  • image creation and capture
  • image processing
  • image and object rendering

Besides contributing innovation to technical aspects of fine print, the CFPR also reflects on print related practice and its aesthetics through a series of research programmes spanning photography through to book arts. “There is nothing new except what has been forgotten”- Marie Antoinette

A unique aspect of research undertaken is generated by the CFPR using a keenly informed knowledge of past fine art and industrial print collaborations to assess, reassess and develop aspects of current digitally assisted practice. This approach has gained financial support and collaborative links with HP, generated
Knowlege Transfer Partnership schemes and facilitated research links with major institutions such as the Tate Gallery

Besides disseminating findings through conferences, publications, workshops and seminars the Centre puts its developments into practice through working collaboratively with artists to create highly innovative works of art.