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How do I crop a photo in Illustrator?

New Here ,
May 28, 2008

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I can't believe I can't figure this out. (I came over from Freehand, and it was simple).

All I want to do is:
1) Crop a placed photo within Illustrator
2) Create a border around it.

I can't seem to find the answer in any help file. Is it so simple in Illustrator that they don't explain how to do it? I don't want to create crop marks for the entire image, just crop off part of a photo without going back into Photoshop. How?

Thanks very much.

Mark

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111 Replies 111
Engaged ,
May 29, 2008

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You can't really "crop" a photo in Illustrator the same way you can in Photoshop. It's not designed for that.

In Illustrator you can mask out an area you don't want. Search the Help pages under "Clipping Mask"

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New Here ,
Aug 14, 2014

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Clipping paths and masks can be temporarily applied, and then released from release (accessible in the objects panel).  This can restrict parts of the image for viewing, or make them viewable again layer.   Here is a link to a video explanation: click here

  1. Go to view --> show edges or use  (control H or cmd H)
  2. Press V on the keyboard (brings up selection tool), then click the picture you are wanting to crop
  3. Somewhere on the screen (probably top), a mask button appears on top of the control panel
  4. Click the Mask button (in that control panel) --> creates a clipping mask

Two buttons at the far left of the same panel that had clipping mask button show up (far most left-two buttons).  after you click the first of those buttons, use (keyboard a shortcut) to start clicking anchor points at the far-most corners of the image

  • After selecting topmost anchor points, use shortcut shift down. 
  • You can select any edge (made of at least two of those anchor points (and use shift key + UP DOWN LEFT RIGHT aft)


ANOTHER TRICK= OPACITY MASK

  • Use the shape drawing tools (i.e. ellipse tool) --> then use a white fill color (optimally)
  • Create white circle atop the car (or above the vector artwork)
  • Use V key to select the white ellipse, then shift select the car to select the image behind the ellipse, and then open the transparency option (window panel ==> transparency panel)
  • Within the transparency panel, expanding the menu that appears, and select the make mask button, which allows you to see ONLY WHAT YOU HAVE IN THE FILLED SHAPE or ellipse (as shown in the video linked at the top).
  • you can adjust the mask or the artwork you are trying to restrict and also, you can release any of these clipping masks

Advantages over cropping:

  • In the video, you can actually modulate some property of the clipping mask (say add a gradient and opacity mask), which actually saves you some time by allowing you to not only crop, but change the entire image, and making it easy to release that mask so your raw materials are usually in tact.

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Advocate ,
May 29, 2008

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As Kev Say, illustrator don't crop an image, it mask the image

see here migrating to Illustrator
http://www.adobe.com/designcenter/illustrator/articles/illcs2am_creativity.html

see here tutos on illustrator basics
http://www.adobe.com/designcenter/video_workshop/

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New Here ,
Sep 30, 2013

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New Here ,
May 31, 2008

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Cool. Great videos, thanks.

Amazing how sometimes Freehand was sooo much easier.

Mark

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Advisor ,
Apr 01, 2010

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Yeah, there is no "Paste into" in Illustrator, you will get used to using masks to crop your photos. I like it a lot better then the way I had to work in Freehand.

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Explorer ,
Feb 28, 2015

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Not sure if I am misunderstanding. I am very new to illustrator,but ctrl V pastes into it very well.

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Explorer ,
Apr 01, 2010

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If you use the clipping mask tool, it will "crop" your image, but if you try to export it as a raster file, your dimensions will remain the same as the original photo's dimensions, meaning you will have white space in your jpeg/png/bmp/gif/tif file where your clipping mask is...I've had this problem before, the way I deal with it is...get ready...I use MS paint to easily crop out the white space by pulling the image limiters(little blue dots)to only where my image should show, rotating the image if necessary, and repeating the process until I have my image cropped...no need to go back into photoshop, or even use photoshop.


One of the RARE times when MS paint comes in handy...to be honest, I've never used it for anything else.

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Guide ,
Apr 01, 2010

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If you want to totally eliminate content outside a mask in Illustrator (giving you a true crop), you can use the following method:

Select the path that you would have used for the clipping mask and, instead of making a mask, fill it with, oh, say, white. Then, set the opacity for that masking object to 0% using the transparency palette/panel. Then, with that object and the underlying raster image selected, flatten transparency. (Use 100% vector on the quality slider and make sure the 'Preserve alpha channel' option is unchecked.) Ungroup the result.

You should now be able to independently select the various portions (inside and outside the mask) and discard those you don't need. The links palette/panel will show you what's going on.

You can use this method with multiple clipping masks in a single operation. You don't even have to initially embed the underlying image for this to work.

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New Here ,
Nov 15, 2010

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Thanks for this, I've used the clipping masks, but I didn't know how to flatten images. After the clipping mask, I have cropped, then exported as an image file in order to print. For some reason Illustrator couldn't deal with the masks and complicated images below when asked to print.

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 02, 2011

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Thank you. I was going crazy trying to do an ordinary crop in Illustrator.

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New Here ,
Nov 23, 2011

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Thanks Appleman. That reduced my file size to 1/40...big help!

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New Here ,
May 17, 2012

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Can adobe Illustrator crop like more images at once to the same size know an option to use ?

thank you , Luka

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New Here ,
Sep 19, 2012

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I don't know Illustrator at all, but here is how I did it:

Export the file to Photoshop as a jpg.

Open it it Photoshop.

Crop it.

Simple!!!

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 19, 2012

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But that rasterizes it.

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 27, 2012

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This is awesome.

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New Here ,
Feb 10, 2013

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YES! Thank you. I've been trying to figure this out for around 8 hours. Worked perfectly with a jpg image.

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New Here ,
Mar 07, 2013

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Because Adobe Illustrator is a vector-based design system, you can't crop a picture in Illustrator the same way you can in Adobe photoshop. But you can use a clipping mask and opacity mask to crop a picture and photo.

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New Here ,
May 12, 2015

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That's cool ! Thanks

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New Here ,
May 12, 2015

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Who is this.

Also you can't, you need to move it into photo shop

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New Here ,
Jun 04, 2015

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Great idea.. 🙂

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New Here ,
Nov 03, 2011

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Thanks TheMarkness!!! I've always wondered how to take an image from a JPG in CS2 and crop the white space around, your instructions are the clearest I've read! Good ole MS Paint!

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New Here ,
Oct 20, 2015

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Aargh I was really hoping to find another answer! Too bad we aren't able to fix it in illustrator although...

I have a little trick that I like to use when I get stuck. What I do:

1. select the image (NOT in a clipping mask. if so, just keep double clicking till you can select the whole image)

2. Image trace. at preset, select the 'Photo High Fidelity' option and then finish your tracing.

3. create a clipping mask (or if you already have one, you can skip this step.)

4. Use pathfinder (I, to be honest, never know exactly which one to use so I just click till I find the right one. But this time, you'll need the bottom left one in your pathfinder screen.)

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 01, 2010

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The Links Palette is another option in case we're talking about rectangular crops. A couple of stumbling blocks included.

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