Adding a stroke to image in Adobe Illustrator

I’ve dragged an image of a cat into Illustrator and would like to cut it out and engrave the details. I don’t want to cut around the cat like a circle or square, I actually want to cut the shape of the cat out while still engraving the rest of the details. I assume I need to add a stroke around the cat in order to create a cut line, otherwise Glowforge assumes its all an engraved image. Or maybe not. So my question is do I need to add a stroke and if so how do I do it in Illustrator? (the color in the background is to show that the image is not surrounded by white)

Hard to say without seeing the actual file, but here is how I would do it: make a duplicate of that entire figure, then with the duplicate selected go to a Pathfinder and choose Unite. You want the whole thing to be one item. It will probably end up with a fill color. Just change it to stroke, no fill. Then drag it over to the original figure and do a center alignment. Actually I would take the original figure and Rasterize it at 300-600dpi. After saving (be sure to choose Embed image, or just save as a pdf), you should end up with two operations in the GFUI: a cut and an engrave.

Edit: just noticed you have a rectangle around the figure. I would delete that first thing. It will get in your way otherwise.


Thanks for the reply. When I go to pathfinder and select unite I get a message that says “The filter produced no results. Please select two overlapping paths”

Hmmmm. To help any more I’m afraid I’d need to see the file. If you want to post a zipped copy here or send to to me via PM, I’d be glad to take a look.

If you’ve dragged an image in, I presume it’s a bitmap image like a PNG? You’ll either need to trace it manually with a vector path, or DJ an autotrace and delete out what you doing need, leaving just the outside border. Then you’ll need to make that a single stroke and not a compound path.

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check out this post, it has a link to the terrible video I made about this sort of thing, and also a link to the tutorial @jbmanning5 wrote about another method for doing something similar.


Thank you. I will check this out!

Did it end up working out?

If your original cat was a vector and not a bitmap, dragging it in could have brought it in as a linked file instead of as vector paths. To fix that you embed the kitty via the Links palette. Here’s some info on the differences and how to do so.

Yep. I figured it out. Basically I had no idea what I was doing in illustrator but I’ve done my homework and figured out a thing or two. Thanks.

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