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Vectorize an Image in Photoshop

Although Photoshop is a raster graphics software, it has many tools and techniques to support vector images. One of the best tricks is the ability to vectorize raster images.

This is a very useful technique that every artist and designer should learn to use. For example, if you have a low-resolution logo or an image that you want to scale without blurring it, you can vectorize the image to freely resize it in Photoshop.

In this quick guide, we’ll show you how to vectorize an image in Photoshop. This is a very simple method, as you will see.


Why vectorize images?


The main difference between vector and raster formats is that vector images consist of paths, which makes them easier to scale and edit. Raster images are made up of pixels.

When you resize or scale a raster image, it will affect the quality of the image and make it appear blurry or pixelated. With vector images, you can scale them without affecting the quality.

By vectorizing a raster image, you’ll be able to easily resize an image without losing too much quality.

How to Vectorize an Image in Photoshop


A common obstacle editors encounter when editing photos is losing the quality of work when resizing it, but it can be solved with a simple solution: learning how to vectorize an image in Photoshop. Vectoring in Photoshop will give you a perfect opportunity to transform your image into any size you want and proceed to edit it.

What we are used to working with every day are called raster images. Raster images or bitmaps are basically made up of pixels arranged in a certain manner with an array of different colors. Bitmap depends on the image resolution; Hence, images appear jagged and grainy when enlarged or resized.

In stark contrast to raster images, vectors are made up of pixels and different color ranges. And since images are not composed of pixels, a vector image will always retain its quality and sharpness despite resizing. Vector graphics are best used for industrial purposes such as billboards or advertisements because they require images of different sizes.

Although editing artwork in Adobe Illustrator is better because it has more creative freedom, in this case, converting or creating vectors in Photoshop is much more preferable because of its tools.

How to Convert Images to Vector Art in Photoshop


If you came here looking for a way to create vector art from an image like clip art, you can check out this YouTube tutorial. This is a more complicated process that we cannot cover here.

There is another option. You can use Photoshop Actions to convert or cartoony your images into vectors. Here are a few options you can try.

Vector Art Photoshop Action


A very useful Photoshop action that not only creates vector art from images but also converts them to a scalable vector file format. Turning off image vectoring in Photoshop is not an easy task.

The process is very delicate, and you must pay attention to avoid mistakes because mistakes are very common when you vectorize an image in Photoshop and can make or break the final product.

Below is a detailed step-by-step list to explain how to create vectorizing in Photoshop so you can learn how to create vectors in Photoshop.

Step 1: Selecting an HD image

The first requirement for vectorizing in Photoshop is to have high-quality or high-resolution images. Also, the image resolution should be at least 300 pixels and for landscape images, the height resolution should be at least 2000 pixels.

However, it is not always possible to have extremely high-quality images. Therefore, in this case, you need to increase the image resolution by going to ‘Image’ and then ‘Image Size’ and making the necessary changes.

You can enhance the image for better results using the ‘Save Details 2.0’ option in Photoshop CC19 and higher versions.

Step 2: Remove the background and focus on the subject

Before starting the process, the subject of the image must be isolated from the background. After that, you can use any tool in Photoshop that you think will best suit the image; For example, the pen tool is an excellent choice when working with artwork with sharp edges.
You are also provided with tools

that will allow you to make very precise selections. For example, selecting ‘Select and Mask’ is a great option that’s also very easy to work with. Next, click OK after selecting the output option ‘New Layer’ from the drop-down menu.

Step 3: Filter the oil paint

After the above step, the image subject is moved to a new layer. Now, go to ‘Filters’ and add ‘Oil Paint Filter’, then under that select ‘Stylize’ and finally select the ‘Oil Paint’ option. You can find it by simply going to ‘Filters’, then ‘Oil Paint’. ,’ depending on your version of Photoshop.

Step 4: Values for filters

Now that you’ve selected your oil paint filter, it’s time to set the filter value. The preferences you set will control unique changes to the image subject

As such, the gloss value you select is the metric used to control oil detail in this case. You can get your desired effect by selecting value options and changing them as per your wish.

Step 5: Desaturation the Image

To vectorize an image in Photoshop, the content of the image must be stripped of its color, or in more general terms, desaturated. This can be done by simply going to the ‘Image’ option, then proceeding to ‘Adjustments’ and finally clicking on ‘Desaturate’. Another way to do this is to use the keyboard shortcut ‘CTRL/COMMAND’+’SHIFT’+’U’ for both Windows and Mac.

Step 6: Altering Layers and Posturizing

Now, after desaturating the subject of the image we need to change the ‘levels and posterizing’. First, the black and white percentages are adjusted using the layer adjustment layer. Posterizing is the determination of black and white tones that are used as level adjustments in the image. For example, if you use the number ‘2’, you will only get black and white. However, if you use ‘4’ you will add more white to the subject visual.

This can be done under the ‘Adjustment Layer’ option by masking them with the top layer and naming it ‘Base’.

Step 7: Use the oil filter again

To vectorize in Photoshop, you need to add the oil paint filter again. Make sure you merge all the layers before adding the effect by pressing the ‘SHIFT’ key, which will move the Pasteurize layer to the base layer, and then right-clicking on the selection and choosing ‘Merge Layers’. Next, reapply the oil paint filter. Then finally click OK.

Step 8: Highlight vectorizing in Photoshop

To create vectors in Photoshop, you also need to have vectorized highlights which is a long process. You can start doing this by double-clicking on the base layer and selecting ‘Blending Options.

To hide the dark areas, you now need to move the black area slider to the right and proceed to click ‘OK’. To make a copy of the base layer, press CTRL/COMMAND + ‘J’ (applies to both Windows and MAC) after selecting it.

Then right-click and select the ‘Convert to Smart Object’ option to convert it to a Smart Object. Now, press CTRL/COMMAND for both Windows and MAC to select one by clicking on the thumbnail.

Next, right-click on the selection with any selection tool and select the ‘Make Work Path’ option, leave the tolerance at 1.5 and click ‘OK’. To proceed, add a color adjustment layer with solid white and finally click ‘OK’ to get the highlights.

Before moving on to the next step, remove the duplicate base layer and rename the solid color layer to ‘Highlights’ and hide the highlights layer.

Step 9: Working on Shadows and Midtowns

To get different points when vectorizing an image in Photoshop, follow the previous step of vectorizing highlights. Only this time, you need to move the blend slider to your liking. For example, moving it to the left will give you Midtown 1, a light gray color.

Step 10: Grouping

We can create a group with the four independent vector layers we have. Hide any extra layers you have and hide all vector layers. To select layers, hold down Ctrl/Command for Windows/Mac and click on each one individually.

You can also select the top layer while holding down the Shift key and then selecting all layers in the fourth layer. So, for Win/Mac, use Ctrl/Command+G to select the first vector layer from the fourth. You can select them and drag them to the folder icon at the bottom of the Layers panel

You can select ‘Group from Layers’ by right-clicking after choosing the layers. All processes work the same way. You now have a vector group that is complete. You can either stop now or continue. So let’s take a few more steps.

Step 11: Change the color of the vector layer

To change the color of a vector layer you must double-click on the tiny icon on the layer thumbnail. The color panel will now be visible. To continue, select any color and press OK. Brightness and shadow, however, should be left alone. As a result, any changes to the mid-tones can be made.

Step 12: Change the color of a specific area

If you want to change the color of a specific area, first choose the vector layer. For example, applying color to ‘Midtones 2’. Check out the picture below. First, make a new layer Clipping Mask above the mid-tones layer. For Win/Mac, press and hold Alt/Option while clicking between these layers.

You can add a clipping mask to a blank layer by right-clicking on it and selecting ‘Add Clipping Mask’. Then, using the Brush Tool, choose a color of your choice. If you brush over a specific area, you’ll notice that the color is limited to that vector layer.

We only used vivid colors as a reference. So you have complete freedom when it comes to color selection.

Step 13: Adding Strokes to Create Vectorizing in Photoshop

We’re done vectorizing in Photoshop now it’s time to add a stroke. After double clicking on the ‘Shadow’ layer select Stroke. Next, position outside and use a size of 8 pixels. To proceed, select OK.

With vector lines and colors, the subject is now ready. Ctrl/Command+T for Win/Mac to use the Transform tool. Resize the subject to your liking and check if it works. Don’t worry; It will work flawlessly if you follow each step precisely. Last but not least, save the image as a PSD.

So, here is your vectorized image. The artwork will never pixelate, no matter how big or small it is. To create a vector with an artistic style, simply follow the procedures shown. Less time is spent if you use one color. Color enhances the detail and art of an image.

This article shows you how to convert a raster image to create a vector one in Photoshop. However, this method is quick and easy to use. Below is a video on how to do it easily.

Watch the video for the simple process

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