How to Remove Background in Illustrator

By Jaime Published June 19, 2023

How to Remove Background in Illustrator
How to Remove Background in Illustrator

When it comes to creating designs and illustrations that stand out, Adobe Illustrator is the tool of choice for many professionals in the industry. It’s a vector graphics software known for its versatility and precision, facilitating the creation of detailed and high-quality designs. One essential feature of Illustrator that designers often need to master is the ability to remove backgrounds from images. Learning how to remove background in Illustrator can help you isolate specific design elements, making your graphics more flexible and usable across various mediums.

This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to remove backgrounds in Adobe Illustrator, along with helpful tips to enhance your Illustrator proficiency.

Adobe Illustrator: A Creative Powerhouse

Adobe Illustrator is used worldwide to create everything from simple graphics to complex illustrations. Its main strength lies in its vector-based nature, which allows for the creation of scalable designs without losing any quality.

Now, let's get into the nitty-gritty: how to remove background in Illustrator.

Step-by-Step Guide: Removing Background in Illustrator

  1. Open Illustrator and Import Image: Launch Adobe Illustrator and open the image from which you want to remove the background by clicking on 'File' > 'Open', and then selecting your image.
  2. Unlock the Image Layer: In the 'Layers' panel, you'll find your image on a locked layer. Double click on the layer and uncheck the 'Lock' option to unlock it.
  3. Choose the Right Tool: Illustrator offers several tools to remove backgrounds, the most commonly used are 'Pen Tool' and 'Magic Wand Tool'. The Pen Tool is ideal for complex shapes or more detailed work, while the Magic Wand Tool works well for simpler shapes or backgrounds of a single color.
  4. Use the Magic Wand Tool: To use the Magic Wand Tool, click on the tool in the 'Tools' panel, then click on the part of the background you want to remove. This will select the area. Then, simply press 'Delete' to remove it.
  5. Use the Pen Tool: The Pen Tool requires you to manually draw a path around the area you want to keep. Once you've created your path, go to 'Object' > 'Clipping Mask' > 'Make'. This will hide the background.
  6. Save Your Image: Once you've removed the background, go to 'File' > 'Save As', choose your desired format, and save your image.

Enhancing Your Illustrator Experience: Helpful Tips and Tricks

• Use the 'Zoom' tool or 'View' > 'Zoom In' to get a closer look at your image for detailed work.
• If your image has a multi-colored background, the 'Pen Tool' may be more effective than the 'Magic Wand Tool'.
• Always make a copy of your original image before beginning your work. This gives you a safety net in case you make an error.

Wrapping Up

Mastering how to remove background in Illustrator is an essential skill that can greatly broaden your graphic design capabilities. With practice, this feature will help you create more versatile and impactful designs. Remember, the goal is to not rush the process but to learn each step carefully. With time and experience, you’ll be able to do this swiftly and more efficiently.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to remove multi-colored backgrounds in Illustrator?

Yes, using the 'Pen Tool' to create a clipping mask can effectively remove multi-colored backgrounds.

What formats should I save my image in to maintain the transparency?

PNG and SVG formats both maintain transparency.

Can I remove the background from text in Illustrator?

Yes, text in Illustrator doesn't have a background by default. However, if your text is within an image, you may need to use the methods described above.

What if the 'Magic Wand Tool' selects parts of the image I don't want to be removed?

You can adjust the 'Tolerance' setting of the Magic Wand Tool in the options bar to control the range of colors it selects.

Can I remove the background of an image in Illustrator and then use it in another program like Adobe After Effects?

Absolutely. After you've removed the background, save the image in a format that maintains transparency, such as PNG or SVG. You can then import this image into your other design or video editing software.