Exercise 05.05: Image Trace


Explore tools and tech­niques for con­vert­ing images to vectors.


Use Adobe Illus­tra­tor (or sim­i­lar) to con­vert a raster image into a vec­tor file format.



Down­load the accom­pa­ny­ing files, and con­vert each to the appro­pri­ate for­mat using the directed software. 

Part One

Open Adobe Illus­tra­tor and cre­ate a new size, but a let­ter at print set­tings is pre­ferred. Place the required image on the first layer, arrange and then reduce opac­ity as war­ranted. Lock the layer. Cre­ate a new layer and begin using the pen tool to trace the image. The stroke tool in a con­trast­ing color is valu­able as a tem­po­rary guide. Care­ful atten­tion to con­nect anchor points to cre­ate a com­plete path, and feel free to cre­ate sep­a­rate paths for fur­ther adjust­ment and com­bi­na­tion in a later step. 

Make dupli­cates of the new forms on the side by using the shift and option key­board short­cuts. Adjust each as nec­es­sary. Leave all work on the art­board or mar­gins for fur­ther review.

The pathfinder tool is avail­able to explore new shapes and forms, again by using the shift and option key­board short­cuts. The Shape Builder tool is sim­i­lar, but works quicker.

Part Two

Start another new file and import the test image. Place the image and, while selected, click the Image Trace but­ton at the top of the screen. Use the Win­dow > Image Trace to adjust the vari­ables to get a sat­is­fac­tory result. The Expand but­ton at the top of the screen is also use­ful to con­vert the Trac­ing Results to editable vec­tors. Use the Objects> Path> Sim­plify or Smooth for fur­ther adjustments.

Cre­ate a PDF from the files and deliver it to the appro­pri­ate D2L Dropbox.


  • The fol­low­ing rubric posted on D2L will deter­mine exer­cise score: Exer­cise Grading


Adobe illus­tra­tor or other vec­tor draw­ing pro­gram, Acro­bat Professional


As defined by cor­re­spond­ing cal­en­dar item, drop­box, dis­cus­sion or con­tent topic description.