Tracing a photo and cutting out--newbie here!

Hello! Please forgive my ignorance. I would love to make this creation: hummingbird

I’m not sure how to cut out the tracing of the subject, and also how to remove the background from a subject so the cutter can do its thing.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

I’d like to make the same creation using this photo of the panda:

Thank you!


You must accomplish this in your personal graphics program. There are tutorials available for this in programs such as Inkscape, Affinity Design and Adobe Illustrator. What program are you using?

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This is difficult but possible. Birds are easy because they have smooth outlines, while fur makes things more troublesome. There are two routes I would take when editing the image: raster or vector. I personally use Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator respectively for these, so I’m not sure whether other programs have similar features.

Raster/Photoshop method:

By using the Magic Wand tool, you can select chunks of the background and delete them one by one. The outline details aren’t perfect, but it more or less does the job. Here’s the end result:

Vector/Illustrator method:

Adobe Illustrator has this thing called Image Trace that can turn raster images into vector. Turn the settings to Grayscale, with number of Grays at the maximum, 100. Then Expand the image, then Ungroup. The result is like a mosaic made up of thousands of tiny blobs, each their own solid shade of gray. After that, just select the chunks of background and delete them one by one. However, it may take longer due to the small size of each individual blob.

I personally prefer the raster method, as it’s easier, faster, and most raster programs can do it so you don’t need to buy Photoshop.


Logos by Nick has a great video showing 5 ways to remove a background using GIMP:

… and another one that covers fuzzy edge detail like har (in your case, the Panda fur:)


I responded on your original question - I’m copying here so you have the links :slight_smile:

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Thank you for your response. I have Inkscape, and I attempted a fix. I drew path lines around those figures I wanted to keep in the final cut, and then made straight lines at the edge of the “frame” which features the panda.

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Thank you so much–very grateful!

So very grateful for your thoughtful, detailed answer. I’m going to give this a go and get back to you. Thank you!

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I gave it a try using OneNote’s inking, but I like your methods above–thank you! image

The second image is loaded into Inkscape:

And then the traced paths:


Fabulous! Looks like you nailed it on the first try :smiley:

Thank you very much for your help!

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