How to Vectorize an Image in Adobe Illustrator

Transforming Graphics into Vector Artwork

In the world of digital graphics, it's important for graphic designers to know how to turn an image into a vector in Illustrator. This helps make sure the image can be resized without losing quality, which is crucial for things like logos and typography that need to look clear on different devices and screen resolutions.

Table of Contents

You can get Adobe Illustrator, and the rest of the Adobe Creative Cloud applications for over 60% off (if you’re a student or teacher).

Step-by-Step Guide to Vectorizing an Image

Vectorizing an image in Illustrator involves a series of steps that leverage the software's robust Image Trace tool.

1. Import and Prepare the Image

Start by loading your chosen image into Illustrator.

Ensure it meets the ideal criteria for vectorization: high contrast, simple background, and clear distinct lines or shapes.

2. Import and Prepare the Image

With your image selected, navigate to the “Window” menu and choose “Image Trace” to open the tool.

Choose the preset that best matches your image type (e.g., “High Fidelity Photo” for detailed images or “3 Colors” for simpler, color-block images).

3. Adjust Detailed Settings

After applying the preset, fine-tune the result by adjusting the “Paths”, “Corners”, and “Noise” settings in the Image Trace panel.

This step enhances the precision of your vector image.

4. Expand and Finalize

Once satisfied with the tracing result, click “Trace” to finalize the conversion.

Your image is now a complete vector graphic, comprised of paths and anchor points you can manipulate further if needed.

For a visual guide, this tutorial walks you through the process:

Refining the Vector Image

Post-vectorization, your image may require additional refinement to reach the desired quality.

  • Smoothen Edges: Use the “Smooth” tool to refine jagged edges.

  • Adjust Colors: The “Recolor Artwork” tool allows for comprehensive color editing.

  • Add or Remove Details: Leverage various tools within Illustrator to add intricate details or simplify the vector graphic as needed.

Remember, the goal is a crisp, clear vector that retains the essence of the original image.

Advanced Vectorization with AI in Illustrator

Recent advancements in AI have introduced revolutionary features in Illustrator, enabling more complex vectorization with less manual effort​​.

  • Text to Vector Graphic: Use simple text prompts to generate detailed vector graphics.

  • Automatic Pattern Generation: Create complex, scalable patterns quickly using AI-powered tools.

These features significantly speed up the design process, particularly for intricate vector graphics.

Raster vs. Vector: Knowing the Difference

Understanding the distinction between raster and vector images is crucial before delving into the vectorization process.

What are Raster Images?

  • Composed of pixels, each a different color, arranged to display an image.

  • Lose quality when scaled up due to pixel enlargement.

Understanding Vector Images

  • Constructed using mathematical formulas rather than pixels.

  • Can be scaled infinitely without losing quality.

  • Ideal for detailed illustrations and artwork that require resizing.

Vector images serve a pivotal role in creating scalable graphics, a standard in professional graphic design.

Choosing the Right Image for Vectorization

Selecting an appropriate image is the first step in achieving a high-quality vector graphic.

  • Images should be high in contrast and not overly complex.

  • Simple backgrounds are preferable to ensure a cleaner trace.

  • Logos, icons, and solid drawings yield better results compared to photographs with intricate details.

The image chosen can significantly impact the ease of vectorization and the quality of the final vector image.

Introduction to Image Trace Tool

The Image Trace tool in Illustrator automates the vectorization process, efficiently converting raster images into vector graphics.

Understanding Presets

  • Presets are pre-configured settings tailored for different kinds of images.

  • “Auto-Color,” “High Color,” “Low Color,” “Grayscale,” and “Black and White” are among the presets offered.

Choosing the Right Preset

  • Selecting the appropriate preset is crucial as it dictates the tracing outcome.

  • Consider the image’s color, complexity, and desired appearance when selecting a preset.

The Image Trace tool is fundamental in Illustrator’s ability to convert raster images into editable, high-quality vector graphics.

This website earns money from advertising and links. If you buy something or click on these links, we may get a commission. But don't worry, our content and opinions are still fair and independent. The money we make from these links helps keep the website running.

Join the conversation

or to participate.