When I place a photo in AI and then I want to separate 2 parts of an object-let's say, a shoe (it is a jpg image). I want to separate the upper part from the out sole. So, I do a path, then select, then Pathfinder -> Divide but then the whole picture moves and I don't manage to separate them properly! Maybe I am doing something wrong when I place the photo in AI and therefore it becomes "mobile"? I see the photo with the a blue anchor square around it. I guess that is the issue? How can I solve this?

  • Just as a note: I can perfectly do this when I do create a shape from scratch (for instance a circle) but I cannot do the same with a jpg document. – Irene Jan 30 '17 at 22:24
  • Is there a reason you're using Illustrator and not Photoshop? – Geoff Ball Jan 30 '17 at 22:25
  • Not really...I am just learning Illustrator at the moment and I wanted to see if I could do that. With Photoshop is quite easy. Thank you Geoff! – Irene Jan 30 '17 at 23:41

You can't use pathfinder on raster images (e.g. JPG, PNG), it only works on paths – it's as simple as that.

If you want to separate parts of an image your best bet is to use clipping masks. Or use a raster image editor such as Photoshop (and import the parts in to Illustrator as distinct images of you need to).

To use clipping masks in Illustrator:

  • Duplicate your image for as many distinct parts as you want.
  • Draw a path over the part you want to mask.
  • Select the image and your path and go to "Object → Clipping Mask → Make" or hit ctrl / cmd + 7.
  • Repeat as desired.

You can read more about clipping masks in Illustrator here:

  • Thank you so much!! :) I was searching in YouTube and I never saw examples of jpg which could be separated in 2 parts! I will do it with the clipping mask. – Irene Jan 30 '17 at 23:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.