I need this big letter a to separate from the image and vectorize it. How do I do that in Illustrator? When I try trace image, everything disappears except few random lines. I guess I am doing something wrong, but don't know why. If anyone could advise what to do, I would really appreciate it! Thank you in advance,

Katarinaenter image description here

  • 4
    Grab the Pen tool and manually trace the letter. – Scott Jul 24 '15 at 6:23
  • If that is indeed your source then its both faster amd less fuss to manualy trace. its just 20-30 points to place. – joojaa Jul 24 '15 at 6:56
  • @Scott For novice, it will take more time than image tracing (I hope the topic starter will follow the small tute I've created for her) %) – Ilan Jul 24 '15 at 7:13
  • @joojaa I can trace that shape in...15 points! (anyone remember Name That Tune?) – DA01 Jul 24 '15 at 7:34
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    I can do it in 14 (Yup I remember). @Ilan nothing beats practice and the results of manually tracing will almost always be better than any automated method. – Scott Jul 24 '15 at 7:58

If you use ILLUSTRATOR ONLY It takes 1 minute:

After you "Place" the image, press on fall-down menu triangle and choose 3 colors option -

enter image description here

You get this -

enter image description here

Now, ungroup (select the layer and choose Object->Ungroup) and delete all the objects leaving only the ugly "a" - you select this ugly compound "a" and choose Select->Inverse and press Delete:

enter image description here

Results in -

enter image description here

Now, you select the ugly "a", press "-" -

enter image description here

And now you click on all the points which make you "a" ugly - this will delete them and smooth the path. As a final step you press "a" and adjust the remaining anchor points:

enter image description here

the same result without selection:

enter image description here

You should be able to finish this tute in less than 5 minutes (if not - exercise until you do).

  • 1
    She can simply trace the final "a" you provided :) – go-junta Jul 24 '15 at 7:09
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    @go-me I hope she will learn something as well %) – Ilan Jul 24 '15 at 7:11
  • @llann I'm sure she will; I did! – go-junta Jul 24 '15 at 7:15
  • @llian Here, done, thanks! i.imgur.com/GgILQ1t.jpg – go-junta Jul 24 '15 at 7:47
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    This is a good walkthrough, but my point was.. spend 5 minutes tracing and fixing.... or 2 minutes just manually recreating. And you generally get better results manually for simple things like this. – Scott Jul 24 '15 at 8:13

Try to copy the image into Photoshop and adjust brightness -150. Then copy this image to Illustrator and live trace it with Simple trace. You might need to tweek the curve a little bit to get the right shape, but it's 90% of work done. Regards,Goran


Delete the text outside the "a" letter. It goes very fast with the selection tool like the polygonal lasso.

Erase sides with polygonal lasso

Then go in the menu "image", then "Adjustment" and then select "levels".

Select the black color picker on the right, and go pick the light gray color of your "a". All the graphic will turn black.

Then import this in Illustrator and use the automatic image trace. Adjust the settings as you prefer.

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