The live trace effect has become increasingly popular for use in designing backgrounds. By using the live trace effect, you can take any stock image and transform it into an outline that can be placed behind your main subject. The technique works in Illustrator and can be used in Photoshop as well. Experiment with blend modes and remember that you can save the outline as a symbol or a custom shape to use in other designs. See how to create interesting backgrounds with live trace in Illustrator CS3 and Photoshop CS3 in this software tutorial.
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