I'm working with some vector text in Illustrator and have been playing around with the Pixelate effects in the effects panel (which are under the "Photoshop effects" category). I'd like to vectorize this now-pixelated text, however, rasterizing the effects and then using "image trace" doesn't really work.

Example image

Is there an easy way to turn the pixelated preview into paths?

Thank you!

  • befire image trace, you should flatten the effect by rasterize it .. goto effects > rasterize.
    – hsawires
    Apr 27, 2022 at 16:05
  • That doesn't work unfortunately—that only rasterizes Illustrator effects, and this is technically a Photoshop effect. Plus, using image trace tries to interpret the pixelated text as curves and I wind up with a completely different set of paths. Thank you for the suggestion! Apr 27, 2022 at 19:03
  • could you please feed us with the steps you did so we can follow and detect where the problem exists?
    – hsawires
    Apr 27, 2022 at 19:07

1 Answer 1


A different approach, not using an Effect.

Type some text, say around 70pt

Then do Object > Rasterize. In the resolution select "Other", and set the ppi to something like 30ppi, and anti-aliasing set to "None". This will give you a nice pixelated text image, but the raster image itself will be a tiny low resolution image, and so it won't trace very well.

enter image description here

To fix the low resolution problem, do Object > Rasterize for a second time, but this time set the resolution to 300ppi. This will resample the image to make it much larger in pixels.

Hit the Image Trace button, open up the Image trace settings, leave everything as default, but under Advanced set the "Ignore White" option. Hit the Expand button.

The result has no wonky lines/curves.

enter image description here

  • +1 Same trick works for printers too. One could also use object mosaic
    – joojaa
    Apr 28, 2022 at 8:26
  • This is exactly it! Thank you so much Billy! Apr 28, 2022 at 16:01

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