How to edit a JPEG image using Adobe Illustrator

If you have a JPEG photo that you need to edit, follow this tutorial that will show you how to convert the image into a vector using Adobe Illustrator. Once the JPEG is a vector, you’ll be able to edit the photo, change colors, make the background transparent, etc. then save the new photo as a PNG.

  1. Open the image up in Illustrator via File > Place

 
Adobe Illustrator for Squarespace Web Design
 

2. Choose Window > Image Trace

 
Adobe Illustrator for Squarespace Web Design
 

3. Select the image (if it’s already selected, deselect and reselect it until the Image Trace box is editable)

 
Adobe Illustrator for Squarespace Web Design
 

4. Make sure the Image Trace settings are set to the following:

Mode: Color

Advanced settings:
Method: abutting (left selection)
Check ‘snap curves to lines’
Uncheck ‘ignore white’

 
Adobe Illustrator for Squarespace Web Design
 

5. Click Trace. Once the image is done tracing it may look slightly different.

 
Adobe Illustrator for Squarespace Web Design
 

6. With the image still selected, go to Object > Image Trace > Expand

Adobe Illustrator for Squarespace Web Design
Adobe Illustrator for Squarespace Web Design

7. Right click on the image to Ungroup it.

8. Expand the Layer and start editing!

 
I removed the background from this image.

I removed the background from this image.

 

9. When you are done editing, go to File > Export > Export as. Save the image as a PNG.


When all is said and done, you can go from this JPEG image with a background…

 
Adobe Illustrator for Squarespace Web Design
 

…to this editable PNG with a transparent background…

 
Adobe Illustrator for Squarespace Web Design
 

Let me know what you thought of this tutorial in the comments below!

-Lauren