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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
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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

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