Convert raster images to vector art

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Learn how to convert raster images to vector art.

  Vectorize (Technology Preview)

We would like you to try out the Vectorize feature and provide feedback. Please note that the feature is in Technology Preview and hence some of the capabilities would evolve, including performance and streamlined workflows across iPad and desktop. 

Illustrator on the iPad lets you convert raster images, or sketches (JPEG, PNG, PSD, and more) to vector art with the Vectorize   tool. You can place an image from your iPad on the artboard, or capture an image from the built-in camera and convert them to vector artwork.

Vectorize an image

Follow the steps below to place and vectorize an image within Illustrator:

  1. Place an image within your Illustrator document.
  2. Select the image using the Selection tool  .
  3. Tap the Object panel   and select Vectorize   to convert the raster image to a vector image.
  4. Select the image and tap the Properties panel   on the taskbar to use Vectorize options.

Vectorize a raster image

Customize vectorize options

Use the following vectorize options to modify the properties of vector art:

Visibility, Source, and Color mode

A) Visibility   : Hides or shows the vectorized image on the canvas.

B) Source: Auto-detects the source file when vectorizing the image. You can modify the source to Sketch, Line Art, Logo, Painting, or Photograph

C) Color mode:

  • Color: Creates a posterized image of a photo or artwork.
  • Grayscale: Converts the artwork to shades of gray.
  • Black and white: Simplifies the image to black-and-white artwork.

The Color mode option is disabled when the Source image is Sketch.

Color, Grayscale, Threshold, Path, Corners, and Noise
Color, Grayscale, Threshold, Path, Corners, and Noise

D) Colors: Specifies the number of colors to use in a color vectorized image. The Color slider is available only when the Color mode is set to Colors.

D) Grayscale: Specifies the number of grays to use in a grayscale vectorized image. The Greyscale slider is available only when the Color mode is set to Greyscale.

D) Threshold: Specifies a value for generating a black and white vectorized image. The Threshold slider is available when the Color mode is set to Black and white or when the Source file is a Sketch.

E) Path: Controls the distance between the vectorized shape and the original pixel shape. Lower values create a looser path fitting.

F) Corners: Specifies the emphasis on corners and the likeliness of sharp bend turning into a corner point. A higher value results in more corners.

G) Noise: Specifies an area in pixels that is ignored when vectorizing. A higher value results in less noise.

Output, Abutting, Overlapping, and Expand vectorization
Output, Abutting, Overlapping, and Expand vectorization

H) Output: Select the drop-down and choose one of the below options:

  • Fills: Creates filled regions in the vectorized image.
  • Strokes: Creates stroked paths in the vectorized image.

I) Abutting  : Creates cutout paths. The edge of one path is the same as the edge of its neighboring path.

J) Overlapping  : Creates stacked paths. Each path slightly overlaps its neighbor.

K) Ignore white: Replaces white fills area with no fills.

L) Expand vectorization  : Converts the vectorized image to paths, see expand vectorization.

 Once you tap Expand Vectorization, you can no longer adjust the properties of the vectorized image. However, you can tap   to undo Expand vectorization.

Expand vectorization

After making the required changes to the properties of the vectorized image, you can expand the vectorization. Expand vectorization converts the object into vector art with fills, strokes, and paths that can be edited.

Follow the steps below to expand the vectorization of the artwork:

  1. Select the image and tap the Properties panel   on the taskbar.
  2. Tap Expand vectorization  .
  3. Select the object and use the widget controls to ungroup the object.
  4. Edit the object using the shape tools, colors, and more.

Expand vectorization

Tips and tricks

  • Tap the Undo   button to discard the changes you have made to the artwork at any point.
  • When you select an object, widgets with controls display on the canvas. Use the controls to Vectorize   or Expand vectorization  .
  • The Expand vectorization option can be also applied from the Object panel   .

See also: Image trace in Illustrator on the desktop.

What's next

See the following articles to do more in Illustrator on the iPad:

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