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psd or png to ai

Mar 18, 2013 4:46 PM

Tags: #png #transparency #psd #ai


A bit of a long list of questions, I have difficulty finding specific answers. As much as I would appreciate specific answers, just giving broad advice on the topics is also very much appreciated.

I currently need to convert some of my tshirt designs to ai or esp format so they can be printed. I have discovered the trace tool as to fix the problem you get with the lines when you import a psd file to illustrator. What I am still struggling with is keeping transparency of the background.

I did manage to create a ai file from png with a transparent background, but now I cannot seem to replicate it. Also I find it difficult to see IF the BG is transparent since its always white (instead of the grey blocks). atm I check by adding a layer in illustrator and paint something to look if it shows under the original layer.. seems a bit silly.

I've read that importing the png files should solve the problem, but I can only manage to keep transparency when saving as a png, which is not what I need. btw (may be the reason of my failure) I import the psd file and select flatten, since the psd files often contain many layers and I couldnt get the trace tool to work.

So I have a few questions which you might be able to answer; I sort of know the difference between ai and eps, but I dont see any reason to save as eps, is this correct thinking (taking into account I can deliver them in both formats)?
What would be the easiest way to convert psd or png files all with transparent BGs to ai? Is using the trace tool efficient and a good choice to fix the problems with the picture caused by importing psd to ai? should I 'always' use the "place" function to import? Is there anything else I should concern myself with?

Those are a lot of question, hopefully you are willing and able to answer some or point me in the right direction, if you have any idea what I am talking about, cause I only barely understand myself. I thought illustrator was much like photoshop, but it certainly isnt.

in any case thanks




PS I dont dare to ask anymore, and I did not research it yet myself, but what is meant with "text to curves" and "line thickness to paths"?

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 18, 2013 4:56 PM   in reply to tomsan1984

    Depending on your artworks, quality is usually visibly better when tracing with the pen tool and not using autotrace.


    When using autotrace, check "ignore white" (in CS5 or below) and expand afterwards to get rid of the background. In CS6, just expand and then delete the white parts.


    save the artwork in the file format the service bureau demands from you. Which mostly is  either EPS, PDF or AI.


    Converting strokes to paths or text to paths is needed, because stroke thickness or live text usually can't be plotted

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 18, 2013 5:51 PM   in reply to tomsan1984

    Yes, you can also trace PNG

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 18, 2013 6:38 PM   in reply to tomsan1984

    Text-to-Curves is usually referred to as Text Outlines.  One thing you also have to take into consideration is the number of colors your design(s) will use in the silk screen process.  If your artwork is a bitmap RGB image, it could be made up of a few hundred or more colors.  You might want to minimize that amount of color in a posterization process in Photoshop, then trace it in Illustrator.  You could posterize the artwork down to around 8 colors which would then have to be identified by some color name in Plastisol inks.  Would be nice to see a screen shot of a sample.  "Line thickness to paths" refers to the stroke thickness applied to a path.  Who taught you these terms?

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 19, 2013 9:38 AM   in reply to tomsan1984

    Actually it's kind of difficult to discuss problems without seeing them.


    If you want to determine exactly how many colors the result should have, don't select the photo-option.


    And yes: "no color" and "white" are treated the same. You'll have to prepare your bitmap accorbingly or edit the stuff after tracing.


    There's a video on image trace somewhere on You should watch it.

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