What is Rasterize in Illustrator? 4 steps How to Do it

What is Rasterize in Illustrator? Converting a vector to a raster image is referred to as rasterization. But what is a vector and what is a raster image? Also, when do you need to rasterize in Illustrator?

What is a Vector Image?

A vector image is a file format made of points and lines to create complex shapes and images. They can be stretched to any size without losing image quality. To know whether an image is a vector, just select it and you will notice points selected.


What is a Raster Image?

On the other hand, a raster image is made of dots, pixels, and lines. The dots, pixels, and lines will be displayed at the same time to create an image.

If you blow up the size of the image, it will continuously lose resolution quality. To increase the resolution of an image, you will have to increase the number of dots or lines per inch.

How to Rasterize in Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator will allow you to create different types of files including vector files. Additionally, Illustrator will allow you to convert vector files into raster images if needed.

Step 1: After opening Illustrator, go to File>Open and navigate to your vector file

Step 2: Once you open the file, select it then go to Object>Rasterize a new window pops up that will allow you to adjust raster image settings.

Step 3: From this Menu, you can set the color mode, you can choose CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black) or RGB (Red, Blue, and Green). RGB is ideal for graphics intended to be displayed on a screen while CMYK is for graphics intended for printing.

rasterize in illustrator

Step 4: Choose the resolution, I recommend 300  and whether you want to have a transparent background or not. You can choose between a white and transparent background.

You will also choose whether you want anti-aliasing or not. For this choose the raster option instead of anti-aliasing. It will be more clear and crisp compared to anti-aliasing.

Step 5: Click OK to accept the settings and your image will be rasterized.

How to Unrasterize in Illustrator

The easiest way to reverse this action is to undo it by clicking Control+Z. If you have gone too far and can not reverse the action, it will be impossible to go back. 

To avoid this, always save the backup vector file. Alternatively, you can try vectorizing the image in Illustrator’s image trace option. However, it may not be the best if you are not conversant with it. We recommend you consult us on our illustrator gig for advice on your specific project.

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Once you have rasterized an image it is difficult to go back to your vector file, especially for complex artwork. The new raster image is made of pixels and may lose clarity if blown up. To avoid problems, make sure to save a backup vector file.

How to Vectorize an Image in Illustrator

In this article, I will show you How to Vectorize an Image in Illustrator. One of the most important things you can do in Adobe Illustrator is to convert images to vectors. An image can either be a raster image or a vector file. In our last article, we explained the difference between the 2 and what each is best for.

Before we get into the process of vectorizing a raster image, let us go through some important terms. There are 2 digital file types that you can have in Illustrator. You can either have a vector file or a raster file.

The main difference between the 2 is that if you blow up a vector file in too large a size, the quality remains the same. When you expand a raster image too much, the image continually loses quality and is pixelated.

Because of its simplistic nature, it is easy to change colors on a vector file. On the other hand, it is complex and almost impossible to change colors on a raster image.

Simply put a raster file is made of pixels while a vector is made of simple shapes and strokes with fill colors or gradients. A vector image is often preferred over a raster image.

Sometimes the raster image is too small that you have to convert it to a vector file for final use. This process is called vectorization.


How to Vectorize an Image in Illustrator Automatically

  1. Go to File>New and set your artboard size
  2. Import your image to Illustrator. Go to File>Place and select where you have saved your image
  3. We recommend an image with a transparent background for the best results.
  4. There are a number of tracing options you have on Illustrator to choose from
  5. Select the image, go to the top bar, and click the down arrow next to the image trace to view the options. Different image trace options will have different kinds of results depending on the image.
  6. After that expand and edit as you want

For a simple art kind of style, we recommend 3,6, or 16 colors. We will use this image to see how it comes out. You can test out some other available options.

Vectorize an Image in Illustrator

How to Vectorize an Image in Illustrator Manually

If you are an artist, you will notice that you will have little control of the auto vectorize tool in Illustrator. The professional way to do it is to draw the shapes that make up the raster image and choose the colors you want or are used on the raster file.

Although you will have to use many different tools in Illustrator, the simplest way to do it is to use the Pen tool. You can apply these methods to restore low-resolution logos to vector source files.

The best way you can use this knowledge is to create vector-based art from images. In this video, Joe impressions show how to do it in this speed art video.

If you need to hire a freelancer to do it for you, just contact me on Fiverr. Here is my Gig.

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Written by: Denis Maina

I am an experienced and skilled graphic designer with a strong focus on Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. He specializes in creating a wide range of design materials, such as digital art, business cards, stationery, logos, flyers, posters, banner ads, brochures, PSD templates, and other graphics.

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