I'm trying to perform an image-trace on a bitmap artwork. The vector result will then be cut into glass, and I need to have exactly 60 colors, since we only have 60 colors of glass.

Is there a way to set up Illustrator to image-trace a limited palette of 60 colors? I've found the slider in CS6 that ranges from 2-30, but is there a way to force it to go over that?


2 Answers 2


You can simply create a Color Group in the Swatches Panel containing your 60 colors.

Then in Image Trace Panel set the Palette to Document Library then pick your 60-color color group from the Colors drop down list.

color groups

The screenshot above shows the Color Groups from the Swatches Panel - e.g. "Grays", "Brights" - in the Color drop down on the Image Trace panel.

You can always use Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork after tracing to reduce colors if needed. Recolor Artwork is often a better option than trying to limit the tracing.

  • This is what I am looking for, however, how do you add custom palette to the Document library? Feb 20, 2022 at 6:11
  • @kidfrom Just create a Color Group in the Swatches Panel. The screenshot above shows the Color Groups from the Swatches Panel - e.g. "Greys", "Brights"
    – Scott
    Feb 20, 2022 at 6:15
  • I've edited my answer for more clarity.
    – Scott
    Feb 20, 2022 at 6:27
  • I have tried to add Color Group with only 2 colors (Black and White) and I tried to use Recolor Artwork. However, the AI always choose 3 colors (Black, gray and white) instead of using the colors from the Color Group. Feb 20, 2022 at 15:48
  • Black and white aren't really "colors", they are values. If you merely what a one color trace (back&white) then use the default values for Image Trace - they are black and white. Black and white (and greys) are kind of "special" values. If you use actual colors, I.e. Red and Blue.. it should work.
    – Scott
    Feb 20, 2022 at 15:50

I'm not sure if you want to manually choose the colours yourself or just set AI to use a specific amount of colours when using Live Trace, I'm mostly confused by the term Image Trace, but I'm assuming you mean Live Trace.

To set the amount of colours you will allow Illustrator to use with Live Trace, either click on the Live Trace button and choose Tracing Options, or Object > Live Trace > Tracing Options.

You will see a dialog box like so:

enter image description here

In the Max Colors option you can choose from 2 to 254 colours for your Live Trace.

If you wish to use one of the preset options for the Live Trace, you can do so first and then go to Object > Live Trace > Tracing Options to adjust the number of colours used afterwards.

Please leave a comment if this has nothing to do with what you're trying to do.

  • 1
    Live trace = CS5 or older. Image Trace = CS6 or newer. While they both perform the same basic function, they are two completely different features. Image Trace was rewritten from the ground up and replaced Live Trace for CS6.
    – Scott
    Sep 28, 2013 at 19:26

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