what is the difference between image tracing on adobe illustrator or adobe photoshop? I wanted to trace some of my friends photos for a gift, so I was watching some tutorials and realized some people trace on ps or ai. can someone tell me the difference?

  • Many who utilize Photoshop to trace an image simply don't have or know Illustrator. Or, the end goal is ultimately still a raster image, so using a raster editor doesn't really matter.
    – Scott
    Commented May 18, 2022 at 8:26
  • thank you for the your answer, i see it is mostly related based on preferences or knowledge.
    – yyolandi
    Commented May 18, 2022 at 10:21
  • What's your goal? To remove the background, perhaps? Or to convert a photo to a vector drawing? Could you show an example which shows the original and the expected result?
    – user82991
    Commented May 18, 2022 at 14:01
  • yeah my goal is convert a photo to vector drawing as a gift. to hang on so i was trying some youtube videos and try to choose similar pictures as they did use. they use oil paint filter mostly in the video. it was on photoshop.
    – yyolandi
    Commented May 18, 2022 at 18:45
  • What evidence you have that Illustrator could make the result (which is still 100% unknown for us) ? Show an example, then someone might tell the lowest effort tool to get it. Show the original AND the result. Your term "trace" seems to contain quite a different set of effects than what long time Illustrator users have used to mean with the same word.
    – user82991
    Commented May 18, 2022 at 21:43

2 Answers 2


Both are mostly the same, but the only thing is Photoshop is usually used in Raster(Pixels) Images and Illustrator is widely used for Vector-based images.

Like for example

In photoshop your image will get distorted, or lose its quality when you zoom it on a large scale.

But on the other hand, Illustrator works on vector-based images mostly used in print media.

Its absolutely your call to choose one. In both you can achieve the same output.

  • 1
    yeah I see, then its mostly based on preferences and what outcome you want. thanks a lot.
    – yyolandi
    Commented May 18, 2022 at 10:20

I would like to add a differing oppinion. There are huge differences between choosing the two.

You would use illustrators tool if you really want a vector image and you have a reasonably clean image to begin with.

You would essentially be forced to use photoshop as tracing software if you need to heavily modify the image before/during the operation for signal shaping, or cusrom channel picking. You probably want to then move to illustrator for final cleanup.

But its probably safe to say that if you must ask then both are probably interchangeable to you.

  • i followed a video on youtube, they did a png logo to vector image on photoshop. I followed the tutorial and as a result i still had pixels showing when i zoom in. And after exporting it as a svg file, I could not work on it on illustrator. I thought maybe expanding would work but it was greyed out. so how can it be possible to work on illustrator afterwards?
    – yyolandi
    Commented May 18, 2022 at 18:50
  • @yyolandi howwould i know what the video did? But anyway try pdf, or copy paste
    – joojaa
    Commented May 19, 2022 at 6:57
  • I agree with this answer. I would say that the final result should almost always end with Illustrator. Photoshop can be very useful in clearing up noise and cleaning up the image before moving to Illustrator.
    – Sam Sabin
    Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 18:04

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