Answered By: MRU Library
Last Updated: Oct 01, 2020     Views: 200

Image Trace Tutorial in Adobe Illustrator: Create a Cutout

Select your image: 
  • Click on the Selection Tool . 
  • Click on the image. (The blue rectangle around the image indicates it is selected).
  • Click on Image Trace. 
Your photo will Image Trace, but the settings will default to black and white. 

This creates an image trace in the default settings: Black and White.
To change the settings

Click on the Image Trace Panel to open the settings.

The Image Trace panel opens. 

  • We need to look at the Advanced settings.
  • Click the arrow to open the Advanced tab.
Image Trace Tutorial: Create a Cutout

The Image Trace panel advanced settings open.


This is the default. You will want to change the mode for color, black/white or grayscale.
Adjust Threshold to find the best Light to Dark Ratio:
Paths: Maximum
Corners: Maximum
Noise: Minimum
Try to find settings that create the best results.
The settings in this slide are suggested, and results will vary. Change as needed for your design. 
Also, click Ignore White. This will leave only the graphic.
Changing Document Color Mode
Our document is now in Grayscale mode. This is because, during Image Trace, we used the Black & White mode, which changes the document color mode to Grayscale. 
To change that:

Select the Color bin on the right hand side. It looks like a little paint pallet.

Click this button.  

  • Change these settings from Grayscale to RGB.
  • A check mark will move to the one that is selected.

Notice how different these two images are. 
They are the same photo, but using different settings to create an image trace. 
We could edit these two images together, to get the perfect trace for our cut-out.
When a perfect trace can not be created from one Image Trace, it is usually due to too many light shades being too close together. 
Try dark images on a light background, or vise versa.
An engraving can be made on the Laser Cutter with this image. 
Engraving is done with RGB Black, or (0,0,0).
Check your setting by double clicking the fill color. 

Engraving ONLY files for the Laser Cutter are:
  • in only one color: RGB Black (0,0,0)
  • saved as .AI files.
To save your file, click Fille > Save As
Save it as an .AI file.
*If you want to make more than one tone in your engravings or use a raster image for dithering, please see Maker Studio staff for assistance. 

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