Turn a Photo or Image into a Vector Graphic in Illustrator CS6

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Added by January 30, 2013

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How to Turn a Photo or Image into a
Vector Graphic in Illustrator CS6

The header image of this website was made using image trace to trace photos in Illustrator CS6 and turned into illustrations. Depending on which options you choose, you can create illustrations or even almost photo quality vector graphics.

A photo or image is made up of pixels. When you re-size photos, typically in a .jpeg format, in photo editing software, you tend to get distortion and little squares show up in the photo. Those squares are pixels.

If you want a photo or image to re-size without distortion, you need to turn it into a vector graphic.

The only way I know how to explain vectors, is they are mathematical formulas instead of pixels. You can shrink a vector graphic to the size of a penny or stretch it to fit on a blimp and the quality will remain the same as the original.

This video shows how to turn photos or images into a vector graphic using Adobe Illustrator CS 6.

Changes Between Adobe Illustrator CS5 and Adobe Illustrator CS6

Please note this method is the CS 6 version of Adobe Illustrator specific. Adobe made sweeping changes between Adobe Illustrator CS 5 and CS 6. If you are using Adobe Illustrator CS 5, you won’t be able to follow along.

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  1. Subangi
    Subangi 7 August, 2014, 22:59

    I found it useful! Thank you! When creating brochures using multiple photos in an illustrator file , how to optimize that file size for emailing purpose without losing photographs’ quality? Please clear me on this!

      Reply this comment
  2. Lise James
    Lise James 9 May, 2014, 23:50

    How do I isolate the item, I am getting a white background with the vector. Do I then have to use Magic wand? I have tried to do this but I am not getting rid of the white background.

      Reply this comment
    • Skeeter
      Skeeter 10 May, 2014, 10:26

      Once you have created the vector, your image should be diced up where you can select the pieces of white and delete.

        Reply this comment
  3. iftekhar004
    iftekhar004 16 February, 2014, 04:12

    This really very useful tutorial boss Don’t miss to watch .

      Reply this comment
  4. Chris
    Chris 3 February, 2014, 13:01

    Cheers my man, very useful

      Reply this comment
  5. Shay Webster
    Shay Webster 28 January, 2014, 21:33

    Yes very informative and easy to follow! Thank you!

      Reply this comment
  6. Andrew
    Andrew 12 November, 2013, 10:56

    Saved me a lot of time… Thanks!

      Reply this comment
  7. Hannah
    Hannah 5 November, 2013, 17:31

    Easy to follow! Thanks!

      Reply this comment
  8. Edward
    Edward 17 June, 2013, 20:25

    Really useful… Thx buddy!

      Reply this comment
  9. Tabb Patz
    Tabb Patz 7 June, 2013, 13:35

    It did help. Thanks!

      Reply this comment

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