Countless time's I've needed to transfer vectors from Illustrator to Photoshop. It's not that hard for one or two vectors. However when you start needing to transfer a few hundred it's almost impossible unless you do it by hand one by one.


I have a layer in illustrator with hundreds of individual path shapes. I want to export them to be used as shape layers in Photoshop. I need them to to be individual shape layers.


Here is a similar question asked many years ago but a real solution was never found. The closest work around was importing the .ai file into adobe fireworks then exporting to .psd but since fireworks is no longer supported that's no longer possible.

Exporting to a psd from illustrator simply flattens the layers and rasterizes them which is completely unhelpful.

We now have Illustrator CC and Photoshop CC. There has got to be a way to transfer lots of vector shapes from one to the other...

  • Do you need every shape "separate"?
    – Welz
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 16:22
  • @WELZ yes, each shape from illustrator needs to then be a separate shape layer in photoshop
    – CTOverton
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 16:24
  • You can copy the layers over. Also you can script this. I mean if you really need this it can be done. Personally im not that interested in making it happen. But it can be done not really all that hard. Also BTW photoshop does not rasterize them if you place the illustrator file, its just nonactionable for photoshop.
    – joojaa
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 16:43
  • 2
    No it does not, you use file > place and it stays vector (provided that you have a new enough PS version) its just not workable inside Photoshop, but once exported to PDF i is vectors again. But consider maybe photoshop is not the right tool for what your doing.
    – joojaa
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 16:53
  • 2
    @CTOverton i didn't claim any other way. But its still vector.
    – joojaa
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 18:38

2 Answers 2


You can export the Illustrator file to PSD.

Remember to check: Write Layers.

All layers will be opened separated in Photoshop.

See the image below:

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enter image description here


Going from Illustrator to Photoshop can be fairly easy. I no longer use Illustrator, but I did use it frequently to create and share and create .eps files with PS.

If you want to save it as an art file you can open to work with in both Illustrator and PS, save it as an .EPS file. You should be able to open and modify it in AI as needed to re-export to PS.

I am very curious though, why do you need to export or use so many layers in PS? One is for the Vector portions and the other for the user/print ready version. You may be over extending the export / save capabilities unnecessarily.


This states; You need to save your Illustrator file by Exporting it to a .PSD format. She also suggested removing all extraneous items from the outer areas of the Illustrator art board first.

  • Thanks Norman, I’m doing low-poly design work. Basically what I do is take an image, and create a lot of triangles on top of it using the pen tool. Sure I could do this in photoshop but it’s nearly impossible to align the anchor points unless you use snap to grid. And then you can’t get them exactly where you want them unless you reduce he grid size. All in all it’s just a hassle. It’s 1000x easier to do it with illustrator. The last step though is to take each triangle and find the average color within in, which illustrator doesn’t have. Hence why I need to transfer them back to Photoshop.
    – CTOverton
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 23:46
  • Here is an example: instagram.com/p/BhpLISlAjsy
    – CTOverton
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 23:47
  • 1
    I love it! Okay, you create the shape reduction to triangular meshes first, as it's own layer? With a gridded base, you can select each triangular portion separately in PS to fine tune the colors. There are two tools in PS that could help you with color selection; 1) under Image - is Posterization. That gives you options on limiting color pallet - from 4 colors up to 255 (I suggest starting with 15) and, 2) Filter Gallery - Cutout - which is limited from 2 - 8 colors. Your adjustments I think would be less tedious in PS than AI. Just a suggestion. Commented Apr 17, 2018 at 2:00
  • thanks! For color I actually would select the triangle and do “filter > blur > average” then I can mess with the final colors later. But again, snapping the anchor points to a gridded base is very annoying. It’s so much easier to do in AI because everything snaps so well and you can select multiple shapes and redrag multiple points to adjust them. But then getting the avg color of the selection doesn’t exists. So transferring them into PS is key. Because as individual shape layers I can select each and get the average color. Now this is 1 ex. I can see other uses for this issue.
    – CTOverton
    Commented Apr 17, 2018 at 2:06
  • 1
    I used both for so long I usually consider AI vector better for curves and multi contoured shapes and PS for angular shapes and color selections (dependent on reproduction method.) This is part of a series I did for Xmas cards in 2011. flickr.com/gp/joxxsx/32qDkT It is a private image. Commented Apr 17, 2018 at 2:26

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