How to remove the background in Adobe Illustrator

How to remove the background in Adobe Illustrator
How to remove the background in Adobe Illustrator
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Adobe Illustrator is vector graphics creation software. It is one of the programs of Adobe Creative Cloud, a set of software, applications and services, by subscription, intended for those who do graphic design, video editing, web development … from Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator is not specifically a photo processing software, as Photoshop can be, but it is able to crop an element in a photo. With this program, the stages of cropping depend on the complexity of the starting image.

Steps

Method 1 of 2: Using the clipping mask

Remove Backgrounds in Adobe Illustrator Step 1

Step 1. Run Illustrator

To do this, click on the Adobe Illustrator icon, a black or orange square with "Ai" written on it. Adobe Illustrator is only accessible by subscription: monthly or yearly. Various options are possible: the Creative Cloud subscription (Illustrator + all Adobe creative applications) is € 59.99 / month (as of August 2020) for a single position. You can try this graphical solution for free for a week by going to this address. Special subscriptions are offered to companies and students.

Step 2. Open your image in Adobe Illustrator

To do this, once the program has been executed, you will operate as follows:

  • click on File in the top menu bar;
  • click on To open to open a new image or To place to insert an image into an existing file;
  • select the file by simply clicking on it;
  • click on To open.

Step 3. Enlarge the image

To enlarge the image, click in the toolbar on the magnifying glass icon (Zoom tool), otherwise press Z. Click roughly on the center of the area to be enlarged. The principle of clipping is simple: you must draw the most precise possible outline of what will be kept in order to be able to remove the background. And for this precision work, you will first use the Zoom tool to see what you are doing.

If the object you want to keep has fairly simple outlines, without too much detail, use the Magic Wand tool

Remove Backgrounds in Adobe Illustrator Step 4

Step 4. Select the Pen tool

In the left toolbar, click the icon that shows an ink pen nib or press P. This tool allows you to follow an outline by successive clicks. Each of these clicks creates what is called an "anchor point." The clipping line gets longer with each click of the mouse.

Step 5. Click once on the outline of the foreground object

You thus place a first anchor point. The goal is to divide the outline into straight segments. At any significant angle change, you will click to set a new anchor point.

Step 6. Click another point on the contour

Go in the direction you want, but always keep the same direction. When the contour changes angle, click with the mouse to mark this change: a line is created between the first anchor point and this one, a line which will continue to grow longer with the clicks.

  • Create curved lines:

    to draw such lines with the Pen tool, click on the first anchor point, but you will keep the mouse button pressed throughout. Move the cursor to the next anchor point, wait for the point to appear, then without releasing the mouse button, move the mouse in the direction opposite to the desired curvature. Proceed carefully until the curve under construction fits perfectly with the outline of the object. The clipping line is built as the anchor points are created. If you need to draw a straight segment, release the mouse button, click the last anchor point before clicking the end of the segment you want. If the complete line does not follow the outline perfectly, you will always have the option of rectifying it later.

Step 7. Use the Pen tool to outline the foreground object

Here is ! You know how to do everything. If your outline has straight lines and curves, you will use the techniques explained above. Don't quibble! Some segments are slightly rounded, but treat them as straight segments.

  • You can press the space bar on the keyboard to hide or show hidden panels, including the toolbar and panel Control. This feature is very useful when you have greatly enlarged the image and the whole is no longer visible. The cursor turns into a little hand that you use to move everything in any direction you want, and the nice thing is that the clipping operation with the Pen tool can continue.
  • If you are blocked by areas of color, click on the square and colored icon at the top left, then on the white sample crossed out with a red line, which turns off the color fill.

Step 8. To loop the line, click on the first anchor point

Here is ! The object is now marked with a dotted line.

Step 9. Use the Direct Selection tool to refine the clipping line

In the toolbar, click on the icon which is a white mouse cursor, otherwise for the same result, press the A key on your keyboard. With this same tool, you can also move anchor points that do not exactly follow the outline. When you click on an anchor point, you will see two direction lines appear, each terminated by a handle: these are the "handles of the Bézier curve". Click on the desired handle while holding down the mouse button: move the mouse to adjust the clipping line to the exact contour of the object to be kept.

Remove Backgrounds in Adobe Illustrator Step 10

Step 10. Click the Selection tool

This tool is used, as its name suggests, to select and then move objects. In the left toolbar, click on the icon with a black mouse cursor, otherwise press the V on your keyboard.

Step 11. Select the foreground image and its outline

To select everything, the image and its outline, hold down the shift key, then click first on the image, then on its outline (created with the Pen tool).

Step 12. Right click on the outline

From the context menu, select Create Clipping Mask. The clipping mask will remove everything except what is outside the outline of the foreground object.

Remove Backgrounds in Adobe Illustrator Step 13

Step 13. Save your image

Adobe Illustrator allows you to save the image in different formats: AI, EPS, SVG or PDF. The ancestor of PDF, the EPS format is less used, yet it perfectly preserves vector attributes and is very interesting in word processing files. You can also save the image in PDF format. To save the image, proceed as follows:

  • click on File;
  • select Save as;
  • give your file a meaningful name in the field File name;
  • use the drop-down menu Type to select the image format;
  • click on Save.

Step 14. Export the image to.png" />
  • click on File;
  • click on Export;
  • give your file a meaningful name in the field File name;
  • use the drop-down menu Type to select the image format;
  • click on Save.

Method 2 of 2: Using image vectorization

Remove Backgrounds in Adobe Illustrator Step 15

Step 1. Check that vectorization of the image is possible

This operation is only possible with images composed of solid colors … and still few in number. It works very well, for example, with logos or comic book designs. With photos often using hundreds of pixels of different colors, it gets trickier and in this case you'll go through the clipping mask method to remove the background. Still in this configuration, you can also use Photoshop.

Remove Backgrounds in Adobe Illustrator Step 16

Step 2. Run Illustrator

To do this, click on the Adobe Illustrator icon, a black or orange square with "Ai" written on it. Adobe Illustrator is only accessible by subscription: monthly or yearly. Various options are possible: the Creative Cloud subscription (Illustrator + all Adobe creative applications) is € 59.99 / month (as of August 2020) for a single position. You can try this graphical solution for free for a week by going to this address. Special subscriptions are offered to companies and students.

Step 3. Run your image in Adobe Illustrator

To open an image stored on your hard drive, do the following:

  • click on File in the top menu bar;
  • click on To open to open a new image or To place to insert an image into an existing file;
  • select the image file you want;
  • click on To open.

Step 4. Click the Selection tool, then select the image

The Selection tool is represented in the toolbar by a black mouse cursor. Click on the tool in the bar Selection or press V. Then select the image in the artboard by clicking once on it.

Step 5. Open the vectorization panel

To display it on the screen, do the following:

  • with Illustrator CC (2019):

    • click on Window in the top menu bar;
    • select Image vectorization;
  • with an older version of Illustrator:

    • Press on Object in the top menu bar;
    • click on Dynamic vectorisation;
    • click on Vectorization options.

Step 6. Choose the color from the Mode list

Click on the drop-down menu Fashion to select with one click the option Color.

Step 7. Select the maximum number of colors

Adjust the potentiometer Colors on the maximum of colors (More). You can also type this number of colors directly in the field next to the potentiometer. If your image is made up of pixels of varying and close colors, it may be very time-consuming and there is a risk that your computer may not be able to convert all the colors to vector objects.

  • With older versions of Adobe Illustrator, click Maximum colors to bring up the potentiometer.

Step 8. Click Vectorize

The mention is in the lower right corner of the panel. Your image is then scanned and areas are isolated, which can be vectorized.

Step 9. Click Decompose

The button is at the top of the screen. Your image then becomes vector. The outlines of each of the vector elements of the image now appear: each can be selected individually, with, for example, the Selection tool.

Step 10. Ungroup the objects in your image

At this point, the shapes in your image are vector, but grouped (or associated). It is possible to dissociate them in order to be able to operate such and such an action on such a vector area. To dissociate these shapes, you will operate as follows:

  • click once on the image with the Selection tool to select it;
  • Press on Object in the top menu bar;
  • click on Dissociate.

Step 11. Select the background objects with the Selection tool

Then press delete. Click on the tool Selection in the toolbar or press V, then one of the background objects. Press the delete key to remove the object. If the background is a single color, click that area, and then press the delete key. On the other hand, if the background is made up of multiple colored areas, you will have to remove them one by one, which can sometimes be tedious.

  • To select several objects before deletion, click on each of the objects successively while holding down the Shift key.
  • If several background areas, adjacent or not, have the same color (but then exactly the same!), For their selection, use the tool Magic wand by clicking on any of these areas. In the left toolbar, this wand icon is… a wand with sparkles on one end.

Step 12. Save your image

Adobe Illustrator allows you to save the image in different formats: AI, EPS, SVG or PDF. The ancestor of PDF, the EPS format is less used, yet it perfectly preserves vector attributes and is very interesting in word processing files. You can also save the image in PDF format. To save the image, proceed as follows:

  • click on File;
  • click on Save as;
  • give your file a meaningful name in the field File name;
  • use the drop-down menu Type to select the image format;
  • click on Save.
Remove Backgrounds in Adobe Illustrator Step 27

Step 13. Export the image in.png" />
  • click on File;
  • Press on Export;
  • give your file a meaningful name in the field File name;
  • use the drop-down menu Type to select the image format;
  • click on Save.

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