Vinyl cutters often reduce photos to pure black and pure white for rendering in one color of vinyl against another color background. Popular tools for this are apps like Adobe Capture, the threshold command in Photoshop, etc. This is often referred to as "stencil" style, but that seems inadequate because these images are not usually valid stencils because of trapped white space. "Vectorized" also seems inadequate because that can also refer to multi-color images. I am wondering what the technical term for this type of processed image would be.

example image more examples

  • 1
    "Woodcut" comes to mind, although that typically would have sharper edges.
    – Jongware
    Feb 20, 2018 at 0:16
  • 3
    "Crappy one-color image trace of a color photograph" :)
    – Scott
    Feb 20, 2018 at 0:24

2 Answers 2


While vectorized, woodcut and posterizing are also accurate descriptions, I believe the technical term for this is a two tone silhouette.

There are many free tutorials online if you search this term and, of course, there's always the Image Trace function in Illustrator if you're looking for a quick fix.


Based on a quick google search using the terms "posterizing black and white image," I was returned with a number of links nearly identical to the images you've provided.

Curiously, the top return was an SE page:

How to create an artistically posterized monotone portrait?

I recognized the posterized aspect of the image and added the black and white aspect to restrict the results. Some of the results appear in greyscale, but that's a minor consideration.

enter image description here

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.