How to Quickly Isolate a Part of an Image Using Illustrator

There are times when we need to isolate a region of an image graphic. We can use a mask in Illustrator to accomplish this in 2 or 3 steps.

For our example, let’s isolate the play icon from the screen grab I took (from’s website).

1) create a shape that covers the area you want to expose in your artwork

1) let's isolate the play button
1) let’s isolate the play button

2) select that shape, plus the artwork beneath it
2) Create object clipping mask-make
2) With both objects selected, we create the object clipping mask

3) go to the Top Menu, choose Object > Clipping Mask > Make
3) View the masked play button
3) View the masked play button

How to Quickly Vectorize an Image in Illustrator

There are times when we want to work fast and lean, so we grab screenshots of items off the web and plop them into our wireframes. But there are other times when we want a more polished finish. It is during those times that we’ll need Illustrator’s vectorizing abilities to trace images that we want to scale.

Below are directions for using Illustrator’s Trace feature to trace a bitmap image.

1) paste an image into Illustrator
2) with the image selected, go up to the Object menu, then Trace > Make & Expand
3) Voila! Your image is compromised of vectorized parts.