How to Live Trace in Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator’s Live Trace tool (also known as Image Trace) is great for designers who want to turn a raster image into a vector-based image.

Any bitmap image is made up of pixels so, the further you zoom in on a bitmap image, the more you will notice its pixelation. A similar problem may happen when you try to scale it down. 

That is where vector pictures come into play because you can resize vector images without affecting the quality of the artwork and you won’t see any pixels.

My name is Aly, I have been using Adobe Illustrator for over five years. In this article, I’m going to show you how to use Image Trace/Live Trace in Adobe Illustrator. 

How to Live Trace in Adobe Illustrator using Image Trace

Below are the steps to help you learn how you can live trace through Illustrator.  

Step 1: Open Adobe Illustrator and open the image that you would like to live trace. You can do this by going to File > Open or File > Place. Or you can directly copy and paste an image into Adobe Illustrator.

Step 2: Go up to the overhead menu and choose Window > Image Trace to open the Image Trace panel.

Step 3: From the Image Trace panel, you can choose the preset tracing result, color mode, number of colors on your image, and other advanced settings.

Once you are finished with the settings, click Trace in the bottom right-hand corner. 

You can check the Preview box to see what the tracing result will look like before you live trace the image. 

Once you click Trace, your image will now be transformed into an editable vector.

Tip: To convert your traced image to paths, you need to expand it. Select it, and then click Object > Image Trace > Expand. Click Expand under the Properties panel.

Final Thoughts

And that’s it! You have now successfully created a vector image! You can also revert to a raster image if need be or trace again if you were unhappy with the results.

Overall, live tracing is a really good option to turn artwork into vectors. Although there is a manual way to live trace images, this is the easiest and most effective way I have found to do so.

Any questions about live trace in Adobe Illustrator? Leave a comment and let me know.

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