Tracing in illustrator

Is there a way for better autotracing in illustrator > convert to path (or other option) ? Somewhere on the web i saw that there are settings for that. Does somone have a setting preset when is tracing diferent raster work?
Any personal preferences?

You can explore the “tracing options” settings. In my experience, any time you see a demo of Illustrator tracing a bitmap file, the bitmap file is specifically chosen for its trace-ability. In the real world, traced images need some work to clean them up.


My personal preference is to use autotrace as little as possible (like nearly never.) The result is usually more work cleaning up the crap, than hand-recreating the art. Illustrator has added new tools over the last couple years that make hand work easier.

I agree with this, to the point that my usual advice to anyone who asks is forget you know it exists.

Unless you have a specific need to convert (scans or snapshots of) your own hand-drawn art to vectors for additional treatment, there is no place for automatic tracing in a professional workflow.

imo photoshop does a much better job at creating paths from selections of raster images than illustrator, though it does require a bit more manual selection of the parts you want to convert to path.

tips for doing it in ps:

  • select>color rage is your friend
  • cmd+clicking on a layer will make a selection of the pixels on a layer (say you are trying to convert raster logo that already has transparent background)
  • increase your images’ dpi/ppi to get a more accurate nodes before converting a selection to path (even on a low res image)

IMO, Illustrator’s Image trace is useful for vectorizing signatures. Ha. At least that’s the only time I’ve used it for any sort of “final” use. That or perhaps vectorizing a texture of some sort. Because it’s not very precise as mentioned, but for things that are rough to start with (such as signatures and textures) it generally does the job.

We use photoshop paths for signatures. :slight_smile:
I think it does a better job than Illustrator’s autotrace.

To each their own. I’ve found by going in and tweaking the image trace settings you can get a good vectorized signature.

It’s probably more called “being lazy.” I already have the sig in Photoshop to adjust the contrast and clean up the edges. A thousand ways to do the same thing in all the software. Whatever works.

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My main concern was digitizing sketches. The better way is to trace them by hand i guess, but wont hurt to play around with other options. After all, the end result have to be very refined.

The only sketches I’ve tried autotracing were inked hand drawings. And again I had better luck with Photoslop.
If converting rough sketches to finished art though, I’d recreate it using more robust tools than autotrace.

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