In other words, is quality lost when transferring assets from Photoshop to Illustrator, and back and forth?

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    Hi. Welcome to GDSE. The answer to your question is yes, but there's no need to do that. You can place an Illustrator vector in Photohsop as a Smart Object.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Oct 13, 2018 at 16:25
  • That depends on how you define quality. But yes almost definitely youll just get everything horribly broken.
    – joojaa
    Commented Oct 13, 2018 at 17:50

3 Answers 3


Yes, there will be quality loss generally.

However, there is typically little need to double-convert artwork for use between AI and PS.

  • Photoshop can place (linked or embed) Illustrator vectors, as vector.
  • Illustrator can place (linked or embeded) Photoshop raster, as raster.

Yes But Predictive AI Helps

A vector is a mathematical formula that is resolution independent. No matter what scale it is, it always has infinite quality.

A raster, however, is resolution dependent and is made up of pixels and pixels aren't infinite.

So by its very definition, a raster image is always less quality than a vector. Whether or not that is noticeable or not is a different matter.

A good quality raster will look identical to a vector if the raster perfectly matches the pixel definition of the screen it's displayed on, but if it is resized or displayed on a screen with a higher pixel definition, it will have less quality than it's vector counterpart.

If you try to make it a vector again (tracing), the vector will only match the raster pixels, therefore it will be less quality than the original.

Predictive AI

However, new algorithms are emerging that use predictive AI to make images higher quality when vectorising and resing as rasters.

This means that you can make your image higher quality than it was when it was a raster, but probably not as good as it was when it was its original vector.

enter image description here

Two artificial intelligence systems built by Google are able to transform a heavily pixellated, low quality, image into a clear photo or a person or object.

Computer scientists from Google Brain, the central Google AI team, have shown it's not only possible to enhance a picture's resolution, they can fill in missing details in the process. In a paper – Pixel Recursive Super Resolution – three researchers from the Silicon Valley firm trained their system on small 8x8 pixel images of celebrity faces and photos of bedrooms.

Further reading: Deep Learning/AI

Magenta Machine Learning

Magenta is a research project exploring the role of machine learning in the process of creating art and music. Primarily this involves developing new deep learning and reinforcement learning algorithms for generating songs, images, drawings, and other materials.

Machine Learning to Enhance Your Low-Res Photos

We’ve recently seen a number of interesting approaches to improving low-resolution images using machine learning, including ones from researchers at Google, and at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems. Now, you can try an AI-powered enhancing tool for yourself with just a couple of clicks.

enter image description here

  • I really do not like your section on what vectors are versus what raster images are. It somehow tries to justify discrete versus continious in terms fo something as weakly defined as "resolution". Not only is continious more than infinitely more denser, it is also differentiable etc. Also i dont like use of word mathematical in definition one but omission in definition 2 since both are in fact mathematical objects.
    – joojaa
    Commented Oct 17, 2018 at 6:09
  • Well, this is what they taught us at uni. I'm now 42 and have been a graphic professional working with Blue Chip companies including ICI for over 20 years. I would have hoped I knew a thing or two about graphics. Maybe you mean, you don't like the fact that my answer was more likeable than yours? #Gamification
    – Electron
    Commented Oct 17, 2018 at 6:19
  • Didn't write an answer. Anyway i have no doubt that something to this effect was the explanation you were given, you see it often. But just because its often repeated does not make it a good explanation. I have no doubt that the original explanation was not good enough, its just that it has mutated over time. There are two factors to this being bad. 1. it deals with infinite resolution. Well vectors don't have infinite resolution as such they have a continuous curve but that is not the same thing. 2. It does not define how raster images work. This is a huge problem since people don't know.
    – joojaa
    Commented Oct 17, 2018 at 8:04

If you want to change the illustrator file back and forward i think the best solution is embed it was a smart object in Photoshop. That way, everytime you change it on Illustrator, the changes are apllied on Photoshop.

You can read more about it at Photoshop's documentation: https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/using/create-smart-objects.html

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