How to Convert JPEG to Vector in Adobe Illustrator

How to Convert JPEG to Vector in Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is the desktop-publishing application of choice for many professionals. Since the release of its original version on Apple Macintosh in 1986 it has firmly established its foothold as the premier solution of its type on both OS X and Windows platforms. Using Illustrator, and the right level of skill, it is possible to create logos and branding concepts for just about any medium – internet, printed or video.

Like many desktop publishing applications, Illustrator uses vectors, shapes made from plotted points, lines, curves and polygons, which enable them to be resized without any loss of quality (compared to static images which become distorted when scaled up).

If you have a static JPEG image that you want to convert to vectors for resizing, all you need is Adobe Illustrator. Read on!

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • 1

    Launch Adobe Illustrator CS5 by double-clicking the desktop shortcut or locating it in your Start menu (Windows) or Applications folder (OS X). The program takes varying lengths of time to initiate its renderers and libraries, based on the operating system and system specifications. When it is ready, the main interface is displayed.

  • 2

    lick File and select Open and locate the image file on your computer for converting to vector. Double-click the file, or click once and choose Open. The image is loaded into Adobe Illustrator.

  • 3

    Click Object from the main menu toolbar and locate Live Trace. This feature, as its name implies, creates a vector mapping of the source image, so that it can then be rescaled cleanly.

  • 4

    Select the desired settings for the Live Trace. For a regular monochromevector tracing, leave the default options in place, or for images with a higher level of detail, select Photo – High Fidelity.

    Note that different images will produce different results, depending on the quality of the source file and the settings that you specify. You may need to run through the process more than once to achieve optimal results. As you make changes to the settings, the Live Trace vector changes accordingly. When you are happy with the results, close the Settings window.

  • 5

    Save the new vector file as a new file on your hard drive, to ensure the original image is preserved.

Tips & Advice

  • Experiment with the different Live Trace settings for different results, and vary according to the nature of the source document you are vectorising. There are presets for the Technical Drawing, Comic Art, Detailed Illustration, Inked Drawing, Photo Low/High Fidelity, Hand Drawn Sketch, and many more. Selecting the correct preset will greatly improve the quality of the final vector image.
  • Once the process is completed, you can rescale the vector without any loss of quality. This is useful if you are customising the same image for different mediums, such as the web or printed media.

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