NEED HELP! Image trace in AI

Can someone help with creating an image trace of someone’s handwriting into a vector file so it cut’s rather than engraves?

Search for “trace AI” and I bet you’ll find it. Let’s see

Second link looks promising:

Second link for “trace illustrator” looks like a bullseye:

Seems pretty straightforward.


What you are looking for is to create a Center Line Trace. It’s probably not going to look the same as handwriting (which tends to not be uniform in nature), but we do have a tutorial for it:


Maybe. I’d think you’ll want to scan it, do an outline trace, and then engrave/cut the signature. It’s hard to say without knowing the OP’s design intent.


Oh…well, that’s even easier. That just takes an Auto-Trace in AI (Ignore White) and remove the fill color and add a stroke color. Much easier than trying to do a centerline, all things considered.

easier still: searching for it, and pulling one of the many posts that describe it :wink:

So the image does have unfilled lines. Here is the picture. I am not super familiar with AI so this is a tad bit of a struggle! The writing is from a friend who scanned and emailed it to me (shown below). She wants the words to be cut out, not engraved.

So you want to cut out around the black lettering?

Okay for that, your best bet is going to be using the AI (Live Trace) auto-trace function to turn it into a vector. There are a couple tutorials for how to use it here:

The two things to remember when you do it are:

  1. Make sure that Ignore White is checked. (If you don’t ignore white areas during the trace, it makes a lot of extra parts that have to be deleted.)
  2. After you have Expanded the Trace results, set the fill color to null, (no Fill), and set a stroke color to some uniform color.

Yes to cut around the black lettering. Thank you so much I will read up on this!

By the way…as thin as those lines are - you might have trouble with the material breaking unless you are planning to cut it out of something like paper. If you need to expand the width of the lines, you can do that using Offset Path in Illustrator.

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My first thought when I started reading this thread was ’everyone responding to @thesunnynestdecor seems to automatically think that they use AI’.…when they never mentioned what software they were using. Nothing wrong with directing the person to some tutorials and other resources, but it might be helpful to ask first what they use in designing.

It was in the title, which was why it caught my eye as I was zipping through. :slightly_smiling_face:


Ulp…mea culpa! I jumped in too soon and too fast! :roll_eyes:


So I was able to do the image trace, and see the different paths within the image, but the text it very broken looking after the trace.

How can I close those gaps and thicken the path?

No, you’re right we should really get into the habit of asking. (Saves a ton of grief and misdirection.) :slightly_smiling_face:


You need to do the options drop down box. Adjust the threshold and noise sliders.

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Adjust the Threshold on the Trace. (The slider that runs from 0 to 255.) Higher numbers to pick up lighter colors.

The better the image that you start with, the better the results will be, so using a magic marker to write the text instead of a pencil or thin pen is going to give you better results.

Here are a couple of links that can help you

For image trace (about 2:21 minutes)

Also, a recent post in the forums.

And this for the offset path. (about a minute)


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