How to turn a JPEG into a vector file with photoshop

Written by alexander rudinski
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How to turn a JPEG into a vector file with photoshop
It's possible to convert simple JPEGs to vectors in Photoshop, which makes the images infinitely scalable. (computer image by Ewe Degiampietro from

Transforming a JPEG image into a vector image in Photoshop allows you to create an infinitely scalable image. This is practical for images, such as logos, that need to be used in many different sizes. With a vector image, you can resize it without having to worry about pixelation, as you would with JPEGs.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Computer with a copy of Photoshop
  • JPEG image

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  1. 1

    Find the JPEG you want to edit on your computer and open it in Photoshop. If you do not already have the image on your computer, you will need to scan it, which is illustrated in the following steps.

  2. 2

    Place the image you want to scan facedown on the scanner.

  3. 3

    Select "File>Import>TWAIN Acquire" in Photoshop. This software extension allows Photoshop to operate your scanner.

  4. 4

    Adjust the settings of the scan until it is appropriate. The image should be at least 300 dpi, which creates enough data to allow the image to be altered without decreasing image quality.

  5. 5

    Click the "Scan" button, and select "JPEG" as a file type. Photoshop will automatically name the file "Untitled." Open this image in Photoshop.

  1. 1

    Select the "Pen" tool from the toolbar on the left hand side, or press "P." This tool allows you to create a work path, from which the vector will be created.

  2. 2

    Trace a path around the image using a pen tool. This process will take some time, as each part of the image must be traced individually. Tracing works best on simple images with clearly defined edges, like text.

  3. 3

    Save the file when the path is created by clicking "Export" under File and choose "Paths to Illustrator." This will create an Adobe Illustrator file, which can then be opened with that program and edited further.

Tips and warnings

  • The path can be adjusted to create curves, such as adjusting the two "handles" that pop up after you create a point.
  • This process creates only the outline of your image along the path you select. It will not contain any colour data, unless you add some.

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