I have an image. it is an object with a transparent background. how can I make the selection around the object itself and not the square with the object and transparency. I exported this image from gimp and opened it in illustrator. I have tried everything I can think of but I am not very good with adobe illsutrator. I'm currently using the CC version.

  • Can you upload a screenshot? Feb 2, 2016 at 11:52
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    Importing an image into Illustrator imports everything, transparent pixels included. Illustrator doesn't understand that there might be different components in a bitmap image, it just renders the image object as a whole. Please explain what you are trying to achieve and we will be able to suggest a process. Feb 2, 2016 at 11:57
  • i want make the selection around the object in my picture, not the whole picture. the only thing that is not transparent is what i want to select. So i basically want to delete the transparent pixels
    – Robin
    Feb 2, 2016 at 12:01
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    Illustrator does not operate on pixels. Trace it or export a path from gimp.
    – joojaa
    Feb 2, 2016 at 12:14
  • how do i trace it?
    – Robin
    Feb 2, 2016 at 12:16

2 Answers 2


As Joojaa said, you are best with tracing your file, you can do this as follows.

Lock you layer and then create a new layer above it.


Use the pen tool (P), holding shift to draw straight lines and clicking and dragging to create a curve. You can then use the Direct Selection tool to select any point you have created and may need to edit.

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All bitmap images are rectangles. There's no way to import just the opaque pixels. You'll always have a rectangular bounding box around the image.

You might be able to achieve something close to what you want with a clipping mask.

For instance if you have a photo of a basketball on the ground. Import that into illustrator (file-->place). Draw a circle on top of the basketball and make it the precise size of the basketball. Select both photo and circle and select Object-->Clipping Mask--Make.

You now have a round basketball object. The square shape is still there, but hidden by the clipping mask.

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