How to convert PNG to vector in Photoshop

A Portable Network Graphic is a file format designed to compress image files without compromising the integrity of their data. Though PNGs are a widely used and favored format, PNG images are resolution dependent, which means you are restricted in how you can resize them before destroying their quality. By converting a PNG to a vector image, you can eliminate the resizing issue and use your image as you see fit. Read on to learn how to convert a PNG to a vector in Photoshop.

  1. Open the image you would like to convert in Photoshop. Try using the "Magic Wand" tool from toolbar first. This tool will recognize the objects in a basic image and draw a path around them for you. However, if the image is more complex, you may need to use the "Magnetic Lasso" tool. With this tool, trace the edges of an object until it is fully enclosed. The "Magnetic Lasso" will stick to the edges of the object and provide you with a precise tracing.

  2. Next, navigate to "Paths" and select "Make a Work Path from Selection." Once you do this, the tracings around each object in the photo will convert into a pathway.

  3. Now it's time to export the pathways. You can do this by selecting "File" and clicking on "Export." When the "Paths" option appears, choose it. You will be rerouted to a new window.

  4. Save your new vector image as a different name than your original PNG file. This will prevent confusion when you go to use either image. The file should save in Adobe Illustrator as a vector file.

  5. To correct imperfections in the pathways (which are likely to appear), reopen the file in Photoshop and use the appropriate tools to smooth out the rough edges. Be sure to use the "Path Selection" tool to select the path you would like to correct before making edits.

Though it's nice to be able to vectorize an image yourself, you can save yourself time by downloading ready-made ones. Find the ideal image in our vector gallery.

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