Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Design > Adobe Creative Suite

Like this article? We recommend Advanced Tracing Options

Advanced Tracing Options

If you find that the tracing results still aren’t what you want or expect, you do have the option to edit the advanced settings in the Image Trace panel. Unlike CS5 and earlier, treading into the advanced tracing option territory isn’t quite as mysterious.

Click the Advanced arrow in the Image Trace panel to toggle open the Advanced options.

The top three options (Paths, Corners, and Noise—see Figure 10) are where you can fine-tune the tracing. Here’s what each of these options mean:

Figure 10 Three of the advanced options in the Image Trace panel

  • Paths: Dragging the Paths slider to the right makes the paths fit tighter to the original “shape” (more anchor points), whereas dragging to the left makes the paths fit looser (less anchor points).
  • Corners: Dragging the slider to the right makes more corner points, and dragging the slider to the less makes more smooth points.
  • Noise: Suppose that the background of an image you were tracing contained some unwanted content such as artifacting or dust/spots. By increasing the Noise value (dragging the slider to the right), you can exclude some of that content from the tracing result. The pixel value of Noise refers to the smallest pixel area (not just width or height) that will be traced, and not ignored (see Figure 11).
  • Figure 11 Reducing the noise removed the spot in the background of our image, but also removed the highlight shape on the apple

And yes, even understanding what each of these is intended to do, some of us (me) will sometimes just drag the sliders back and forth to see what happens.

The Method option has two options: Abutting and Overlapping(see Figure 12). These options can be very important, depending on the result you are looking for. This is a new option in CS6 and works sort of like print trapping turned on or off. Here’s what I mean:

  • Abutting: The vector shapes that are created when an image is traced butt up against each other with no gaps between (typically).
  • Overlapping: The vector shapes that are created overlap each other just a bit. This can sometimes result in small “gaps” between the vector shapes.

Figure 12 Abutting (left) Overlapping (right) to the same area

  1. With the Image Tracing object still selected, choose Black And White from the Mode menu. The Create option will become available when you choose Black And White from the Mode menu (see Figure 13).
  2. Figure 13 Apply Black And White to the tracing image

  3. Deselect Fills in the Create options area, and Strokes will become selected (at least one needs to be selected). For black and white tracing, you can choose to create shapes with strokes, fills, or both (see Figure 14).
  4. Figure 14 Select Strokes, not Fills

    Selecting just Fills creates filled shapes when the image is traced. Selecting just Strokes will create stroked paths from content that falls with the range in the Stroke option beneath the Create options. Selecting Fills and Strokes together will create stroked paths for content up to the size of the Stroke value and filled paths for everything over that size.

  5. Click the Auto Color button at the top of the Image Trace panel to return the image to color.
  6. Select Snap Curves To Lines towards the bottom of the Image Trace panel. In my opinion, this can be one of the best options for tracing type. With this option selected, any line segments in the tracing that are “slightly” curved will become straight. Check out the example in the figure when applied to a logo I’ve traced (see Figure 15).
  7. Figure 15 A logo without Snap Curves To Lines selected (left), and with Snap Curves To Lines selected (right)

Lastly, the Ignore White selection towards the bottom of the Image Trace panel can save you some time. Any pixel data that is white in the resulting vector data will not be included. In other words, for the apple image you’ve seen in this article, the white background will not be a shape and will be transparent. That also means that the highlight on the apple that is pure white will wind up being a hole, or area with no shape.

After you finish tracing, you can either choose to leave the vector content as an Image Tracing object, which means you can’t directly edit the vector shapes, or you can expand the tracing results and turn the Image Tracing object into a group of vector objects (shapes and/or paths—depending on the options set). You can click the Expand button in the Control panel or choose Object > Image Trace > Expand to expand to shapes.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • If you place an image and link to it (when placing), trace it, then expand it, the raster image that is traced is no longer linked to the original and cannot be updated directly.
  • Expanding an Image Tracing object commits you to the tracing settings. In other words, you can’t edit the option in the Image Trace panel for that content after expanding.
  • An Image Tracing object that has been expanded will, more often than not, be smaller in file size than the non-expanded Image Tracing object.
  • You can “clean up” an image in a program such as Photoshop before tracing. Sometimes I will increase the contrast in an image to be traced, almost to the point of not looking right (too much contrast). In some cases, this can make it easier for Illustrator to determine what is what (where edges are, etc.). Also, you can use the touch-up tools in Photoshop to remove unwanted content before tracing.
  • In CS5, when tracing a web-optimized image, such as a JPEG that is 72ppi, it traced the “stairstepped” edge. In CS6, that’s usually not the case.
  • Tracing an image that is a higher resolution will usually result in a more detailed trace (see Figure 16).
  • Figure 16 Tracing results using the High Color option on a 300ppi image (left) and 72ppi image (right)

  • After expanding the Image Tracing object, you can clean up the resulting vector content a bit by choosing Object > Path > Simplify, or attacking the resulting paths and shapes with the drawing tools.
  • You can save your tracing options in the Image Trace panel by clicking the Manage Presets button to the right of the Preset menu and choosing Save As New Preset. Saved presets appear in the Preset menu.

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive:

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020