Vectorize Image in Illustrator

Mind Island Design
25 Aug 201903:10

TLDRIn this tutorial, Bobby from My Island Design demonstrates the process of vectorizing an image in Adobe Illustrator. Starting with a pixelated monkey image, Bobby guides viewers through the image selection and vectorization process using the 'Trace' button with different color options. He advises against using the 'High Fidelity Photo' option due to potential warping and discoloration. Instead, he opts for the 'Low Fidelity' option, which retains the original image's integrity with minor adjustments needed. After expanding the traced image, Bobby shows how to refine the image by adjusting points and removing the background using the 'Direct Selection Tool' and 'Shape Builder Tool'. The video concludes with a clean, vectorized image of the monkey, offering viewers a clear understanding of vectorization in Illustrator.


  • 🖼️ Select the image you wish to vectorize in Illustrator.
  • 🔍 Use the 'Image Trace' button with a drop-down arrow for more options.
  • 🌈 Choose the 'Colors' option to retain the original colors of the image.
  • 🔄 Experiment with different color options to find the best vectorization result.
  • 👀 Avoid the 'High Fidelity Photo' option as it can distort the original image.
  • 🐒 Try the 'Low Fidelity' option for a better balance between detail and simplicity.
  • 🔍 Zoom in to inspect the vectorized image for any imperfections.
  • 🔄 Use the 'Undo' feature if the result is not satisfactory.
  • ➡️ Select the traced image and click 'Expand' to finalize the vectorization.
  • 📐 Adjust any imperfections by selecting and tweaking points.
  • 🗑 Remove the background by using the 'Direct Selection Tool' and deleting unwanted areas.
  • 🧩 Use the 'Shape Builder Tool' with the 'Option' key to remove unwanted paths.
  • 🎨 Finalize the vectorized image by ensuring all unwanted background elements are removed.

Q & A

  • What is the first step in vectorizing an image in Illustrator?

    -The first step is to select the image you want to vectorize and use the 'Image Trace' button with the appropriate options for your image.

  • Why might the 'High Fidelity Photo' option not be the best choice for vectorizing an image?

    -The 'High Fidelity Photo' option may warp and discolor the original image, losing the original details and look.

  • How can you adjust the vectorized image to fix small imperfections?

    -You can select the points you want to adjust and manually tweak them to match the original image more closely.

  • What is the 'Expand' function used for in Illustrator after tracing an image?

    -The 'Expand' function is used to finalize the vectorized image, converting it into a set of vector paths that can be further edited.

  • How do you remove the background from a vectorized image in Illustrator?

    -You can use the 'Direct Selection Tool' to select the background and delete it. If that doesn't work, use the 'Shape Builder Tool' with the option key to remove unwanted paths.

  • What is the benefit of using the 'Low Fidelity' option when vectorizing an image?

    -The 'Low Fidelity' option preserves the original image's appearance better than the 'High Fidelity' option, with fewer distortions and colors.

  • Why is it important to zoom in when vectorizing an image?

    -Zooming in allows you to see the details more clearly and assess whether the vectorization process has accurately captured the original image's features.

  • What is the purpose of the 'Show Transparency Grid' option in Illustrator?

    -The 'Show Transparency Grid' option helps you visualize the background and any transparent areas in your image, making it easier to remove unwanted backgrounds.

  • How can you ensure that the vectorized image retains all the original colors?

    -You can choose the 'Colors' option in the 'Image Trace' panel and specify the number of colors you want to preserve from the original image.

  • What is the role of the 'Shape Builder Tool' in fixing vectorization issues?

    -The 'Shape Builder Tool' allows you to add or remove areas of a vector shape by clicking and dragging, which can be useful for fixing small imperfections in the vectorized image.

  • What is the final step in vectorizing an image in Illustrator after using the 'Image Trace' feature?

    -The final step is to use the 'Expand' function to convert the traced image into a fully editable vector graphic.

  • How can you tell if an image is vectorized properly in Illustrator?

    -A properly vectorized image should have smooth edges, retain the original colors, and closely resemble the original image's appearance without pixelation.



🖌️ Vectorizing an Image in Illustrator

Bobby introduces the video by explaining that he will demonstrate the process of vectorizing an image using Adobe Illustrator. He starts with a pixelated image of a monkey and guides viewers through selecting the image and using the 'Trace' button's options to vectorize it. Bobby tries different color options and settles on 'Low Fidelity' for a better result, which preserves the monkey's features better than the 'High Fidelity' option. He then shows how to expand the traced image, adjust any imperfections by selecting and tweaking points, and remove the background using the Direct Selection Tool and Shape Builder Tool. The video concludes with Bobby presenting the final vectorized image of the monkey.




The process of converting a raster or pixel-based image into a vector format. Vector images are made up of paths, which are defined by a start and end point, along with other points, curves, and angles along the way. In the video, the term is central as it describes the transformation of a pixelated monkey image into a smooth, scalable vector graphic, which is the main objective of the tutorial.


Adobe Illustrator is a vector graphics editor used for creating illustrations, logos, icons, typography, and other vector art. It is a key software mentioned in the video where the process of vectorization is being demonstrated. It is the platform on which the image of the monkey is being vectorized.


Refers to an image that is composed of pixels, which are small, discrete squares that form the final image when viewed from a distance. In the context of the video, the term is used to describe the original state of the monkey image before vectorization, highlighting the need for a smoother, more refined look that vector images provide.


In the context of Illustrator, tracing is the process of converting a raster image into a vector format. The video demonstrates the use of the 'Image Trace' feature to convert the pixelated monkey image into a vector format, which is a crucial step in achieving the desired outcome.

💡High Fidelity

High fidelity in the context of image editing refers to maintaining a high level of detail and accuracy from the original image during the editing or conversion process. The video discusses the 'High Fidelity Photo' option in Illustrator, which aims to preserve the most detail from the original image, although it may sometimes result in unwanted distortions.

💡Low Fidelity

Low fidelity, on the other hand, refers to a simplified representation of the original image, which may not contain as much detail but can result in a cleaner, more stylized vector image. The video suggests that the 'Low Fidelity' option might be a better choice for the monkey image, as it provides a good balance between detail and simplicity.


In Illustrator, the 'Expand' function is used to convert the traced image into a set of editable vector paths. After the image has been vectorized, the 'Expand' option is applied to allow further editing and manipulation of the vector image, as demonstrated in the video.

💡Direct Selection Tool

This tool in Illustrator is used to select individual anchor points and path segments of a vector object. In the video, the Direct Selection Tool is employed to remove the background of the vectorized monkey image by selecting and deleting unwanted paths.

💡Shape Builder Tool

The Shape Builder Tool in Illustrator allows users to merge, subtract, and divide shapes by simply dragging across the artboard. It is used in the video to remove unwanted parts of the vector image by selecting the surrounding area and the area to be removed, and then deleting it while holding the option key.

💡Background Removal

Background removal is the process of eliminating the background of an image to isolate the subject. In the video, the background of the vectorized monkey image is removed to prepare it for use in various applications where a transparent background might be desired.

💡Transparency Grid

The Transparency Grid in Illustrator is a visual overlay that helps users see areas of transparency in their artwork. In the video, the Transparency Grid is enabled to make the background of the monkey image visible for removal, which is an important step in the vectorization process.


Bobby demonstrates how to vectorize an image in Illustrator.

The original image of a monkey is pixelized and not a vector image.

Select the image you want to vectorize and use the 'Image Trace' button.

Choose the 'Colors' option to preserve the original colors of the image.

Experiment with the 'Six Colors' option for vectorization.

The vectorized image has smooth edges but the eyes appear warped.

Undo the previous step and explore the 'High Fidelity Photo' option.

The 'High Fidelity Photo' option provides the most detail but may distort the image.

Try the 'Low Fidelity' option for a better balance between detail and originality.

Adjustments may be needed to fix minor disfigurations around the image.

Use the 'Expand' function to finalize the vectorized image.

Select points for adjustment to refine the vectorized image.

Remove the background using the 'Direct Selection Tool' and 'Delete'.

Sometimes the background may not be removed properly; use the 'Shape Builder Tool' as an alternative.

Hold the 'Option' key and delete to remove unwanted paths.

The final vectorized image of the monkey is clean and detailed.

Bobby provides a step-by-step guide to vectorize images in Illustrator.

Viewers are encouraged to try different options to achieve the desired vectorization effect.

The tutorial concludes with a successfully vectorized image ready for use.