How to Harness the Power of Illustrator’s Image Trace Feature

Adobe Illustrator’s Image Trace is a simple, yet powerful feature that can help you get clean and scalable vector graphics from all sorts of original source files (jpeg, png, gif).

Say goodbye to all those pixelated logos!

As I mention in the video, the Image Trace (formerly Live Trace) feature has come through for me when all others have failed to improve upon a lo-res file.

Have you ever been responsible for pulling a logo from a Word file only to be told that you need to ‘make it look good’…

Those of you that know feel my pain. It’s not pretty and going and asking the company will net you a 5% chance that someone either knows what an Illustrator file (.ai) or .eps actually is or where they’d get it even if they did know. Sigh…


Often times I don’t even bother asking and take the file in question straight into Illustrator and apply Image Trace until it’s to my liking. Even if it’s not 100% accurate I can generally massage the file and tweak it into submission until I’m satisfied. It makes life soooo much easier.

Warning #1: Image Trace will not handle highly detailed logos or images well. The processor on your machine will chew on the file and spit something out that’s pretty hideous.

Warning #2: You must hit ‘expand’ after you perform the Image Trace. If you don’t hit expand you won’t be able to manipulate the individual aspects of the file. That’s a small, but important step to remember so you don’t abandon the feature because you can’t seem to ‘grab’ anything other than the entire image.

How often have you used Image Trace inside Illustrator? Has it saved you countless headaches or do you prefer another program that handles this process in a similar fashion?

By | 2016-10-17T14:41:19+00:00 July 10th, 2014|Design Time Thursday|0 Comments