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how to convert a jpg/tiff to AI files?

Nov 27, 2008 9:57 AM

a company wants to make jewelry from my photoshop files converted to AI
( illustrator ). I now own AI. I have saved a jpg as an AI. The generic icon
sits on my desktop. If i click on it nothing happens . It doesnt open in AI.

HOW do i convert jpg/tiff files to AI files the easiest way.
thank you very much

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 27, 2008 10:36 AM   in reply to (glenn_losack)
    You can import a TIFF or JPG into Illustrator with File > Place, then save as an AI file. All that will do is link (or embed) the image into the Illustrator file. What these people really want (but are too stupid to say it clearly) are vector files. This means either using Illustrator's Live Trace feature to automatically convert the artwork into vectors, or re-tracing using the pen tool.

    Try to get a more thorough explanation of what they want. If I'm right (I am), try what I've said. If you are new to using Illustrator's pen tool and vector art in general you might do better to hire someone. It's a lot of basic training, especially when you're already in the trenches.
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    Nov 27, 2008 11:33 AM   in reply to (glenn_losack)
    I like to use this method while the image is in Photoshop
    (Photoshop CS3):

    File--> Scripts--> Export Layers to Files

    This way, you can choose which layers to export to Ai,
    whichever ones are checked visible in the layers palette,
    and not to mention some other options.

    It might give you a message that says you must have multiple layers, but that's silly because you can just put two layers and uncheck the eyeball icon for one layer.

    Then once it exports to your desktop, drag it into the Ai icon and it will open automatically at which point you want to do what the poster above me said.

    You can't do much with a raster image sitting in Illustrator..
    (or can you?) depends on your actual skill level i think.
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    Nov 28, 2008 1:09 AM   in reply to (glenn_losack)
    You can do somethings with raster image in Illustrator with a plug in called Phantasm.

    Like adjust curves etc.
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    Nov 28, 2008 7:17 AM   in reply to (glenn_losack)
    > a company wants to make jewelry from my photoshop files converted to AI
    ( illustrator ).


    You are misunderstanding something very very basic here: The difference between raster and vector artwork, and the difference between what I'll call "object formats" and "meta formats."

    By "object formats" I mean data formats that describe a specific kind of digital object. A raster image is an object. It's just an array of color values displayed as tiny rectangles arranged in a rectangular grid. There are several formats (think of them as "conventions") for recording those values (JPEG, TIFF, PNG, etc.) But they are all just different syntaxes, so to speak, for describing always the same kind of thing (object).

    By "meta formats" I mean data formats for files that can reference and/or contain a variety of different "object formats". Page layout programs and vector illustration programs are like that. They have certain object types that are native to them, but they can also either reference or contain other object types that they really don't understand. When they do that, those objects are still in their "object format"; they're just "wrapped up" inside the program's file format.

    An Illustrator file can contain a raster image along with its native vector paths. So you could import ("Place" or "Open") a raster image created in Photoshop into Illustrator, and the result would certainly be an Illustrator file. But it would be nothing more than an Illustrator file serving (rather pointlessly) as a "box" containing the raster image.

    There is no real "conversion" of a raster image into a vector graphic (unless you simply display each pixel as a vector rectangle--which would be the functional equivalent of a raster image, but less efficient). When people speak of "converting" a raster image to a vector graphic (utterly misleading language I wish they would just stop speaking), they are really talking about simulating or representing the raster image as a set of vector paths (i.e.; creating a new piece of vector artwork, i.e.; "tracing" the raster image.)

    That tracing is always better done deliberately with human intelligence drawing the paths. It can be automated, with almost always poorer results, by software algorithms that treat all images the same, and that know nothing about the actual content or meaning of the image. That's called auto-tracing.

    I don't know anything about jewelry making. But assuming your jewelry company does, they are saying they need vector paths, not raster pixels. When vector paths are needed for making anything they generally need to be well-drawn, not auto-traced.

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    Nov 28, 2008 9:37 AM   in reply to (glenn_losack)
    James, how do you know that he misunderstood that part?
    Maybe his whole AI is whack!
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    Nov 28, 2008 10:07 AM   in reply to (glenn_losack)
    That is correct he should be able to open the file.

    a.mccormick is correct.
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    Nov 29, 2008 3:35 AM   in reply to (glenn_losack)
    This is like pulling teeth!

    You might want to rewrite this...

    "then i saved as and AI"? What does that mean?

    What behavior is AI having, exactly? Is it just crashing?
    Does it save the file but the file doesn't appear where you save it?
    Or does it just not save in the proper file format?

    Your JPEG is a raster image, not a vector. You can put it into AI to make it a vector image, because that's what AI deals in mostly, and it's likely that you will have to use Live Trace in AI in order to manipulate the image properly.
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    Nov 29, 2008 5:45 AM   in reply to (glenn_losack)
    > took a jpg on desktop launched AI
    went to open got a big box and the jpg in the middle
    then i saved as and AI
    am i deluded here

    You're being very cryptic, Glenn. What are you asking? Are you saying that because you performed those steps you now therefore have "converted" the JPEG to an Illustrator file, and have therefore done what the jewelry maker requires?

    All you've done is "contain" (import) the JPEG inside the "wrapper" of an AI file. That does absolutely nothing of any functional significance toward your jewelry maker's requirement of "my photoshop files converted to AI".

    It's still just a JPEG raster image. Go to the Links palette. You'll see the image listed there. DoubleClick its listing. Note that in the resulting Link Info window, it says "Kind: JPG."

    Doing only the steps you have performed (Export from Photoshop to JPEG, import the JPEG into Illustrator)--and stopping there--is pointless. It won't do the jewelry maker any good beyond just giving him the JPEG in the first place. That's what I was explaining in Post 4.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 10, 2008 12:12 PM   in reply to (glenn_losack)
    In response to the original posting:

    It sounds like you need to make a vector image based on the jpg file you have. For me, the easiest way to do that is to trace over it with Illustrator using live trace. Adobe has a great tutorial for this at: 14a382cdf7d304e7e07d0100196cbc5f-6229.html.

    I hope this helps!
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 26, 2009 9:50 AM   in reply to (glenn_losack)

    Hi Glenn,


    Let me take a crack at this for you...When you client asks for a .ai file, I assume they're asking you to submit the art as vector paths rather than a raster image (pixels). JPEGS and TIFFs are raster images.


    Simple answer: Can't be done unless you (a) redraw and recolor image using Illustrator's vector-drawing tools (Pen, Pencil, and shapes tools), OR (b) apply Live Trace.


    Live Trace literally traces groups of pixels, which gives you a mass of vector paths that, realistically, cannot be reshaped. Live Trace also creates huge files sizes. For these two reasons, I don't care to use Live Trace, but happily, I'm pretty good with the aforementioned tools, so I'm able to avoid Live Trace.


    To see how inaccurate Live Trace is, in Photoshop draw a black circle with a white fill. Save it as a JPEG or TIFF, place it in Illustrator, and apply Live Trace. Zoom way in on the image to see what you have. Positively makes you want to learn to use the vector-drawing tools.


    It's possible that the client is familiar with the types of vector files generated by Live Trace and may be satisfied with them.


    I would suggest that you place your JPEG or TIFF in Illustrator then apply Live Trace, and send a sample to the client to see if this is what they want. Of course, there are a raft of options when creating a Live Trace image. You'll probably just have to play with the options to figure out what you want. Don't look for thorough, exhaustive, detailed documentation on Live Trace options. It doesn't exist. It will require a lot of time playing with them to see what they do.


    Your time might be better spent learning how to use the drawing tools.


    PS: The only thing in Live Trace that I find indispensible and extremely cool is the option to create a Swatches palette from the raster image.


    Good luck.



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