Converting JPG to Vector in Illustrator

Video 2 of 3



I hope you enjoyed video one in this three part series, where we go from scratch to a completed hand illustrated logo in vector format. If you want to get access video 3 and haven't subscribed yet, subscribe now and you'll also get some free textures too!

In this video we convert the logo to the industry standard vector format.


Here are the scan settings I used for this example (not shown in the video):

  • Most scanners offer a slew of options. Each scanner will vary, but you basically want to use a scan preset that allows you to scan in bitmap black and white for the easiest possible selection in the next step. For logos, I typically like to scan using the “Text” setting on my scanner. This setting may seem counter-intuitive, but it makes the conversion to vector format even easier as it scans in only black and white, no shades of gray.
  • The general rule of thumb is the higher the resolution, the better. If you have a scanned logo somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,000px - 5,000px wide or so, you should be in great shape for the following step. A scan that is too low a resolution is too be avoided.
  • File format: I recommend an uncompressed TIFF format. This delivers a high-quality file and avoids undesired artifacts that result from a high compression and low-quality JPG, for example.
  • Note: If you find the scanned logo has some issues you want to tweak, I recommend doing so on the original tracing paper and repeating the scan process.

Can this be done in Photoshop?

Kind of, but it isn't ideal because Photoshop simply lacks the powerful vector editing capabilities of Illustrator to refine the logo. However, if you don’t have Illustrator you could open you scanned image in Photoshop, and select the black part of the image (with the "Magic Wand Tool" or “Select > Color Range”). With the selection active go to your “Paths" palette and select “Make Work Path” from the palette menu. After your path is created then access “File > Export > Paths to Illustrator”. That will export a vector Illustrator .AI file.


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If you want to get access video 3 and haven't subscribed yet, subscribe now and you'll also get some free textures too!