How to Break an Illustrator Traced Object


Since its shipment in 1987, Illustrator has provided users the ability to create vector drawings that can be resized indefinitely without ever having to worry about pixelization, or image distortion, that would occur with Photoshop. Illustrator CS2 took this further by allowing users to create vector images from any image they desired instantly. Pictures could now be converted into drawings that could be blown up many times its original size. This ability is further enhanced by the fact that you can break an Illustrator-traced image in order to rearrange or recolor an image as you like.

  • Open Illustrator. Go to "File" then to "Open." Select the Illustrator file with the Live Traced image. Press "Open."

  • Move the image to the center of the box or "Canvas." "Shift + Select" one of the corners of the image to scale it down without distorting the image.

  • Press the "Expand" button at the top of the "Options Bar." The whole image should now be highlighted by blue lines that run along the contours of your image. Move the image using the "Selection Tool" to see that it still moves as a whole.

  • Access "Object," then click "Ungroup" to ungroup or "break" the Illustrator-traced object. Click anywhere outside the picture to turn off the blue lines. Each of the blue lines can now be edited independently of the rest of the image.

  • Use the "Selection Tool" to click on any part of the image and move it around to try it out. Press "Ctrl + Z" or "Alt + Z" to bring the part of the image back.

Tips & Warnings

  • To regroup the image after customizing it, press "Command + A" on Mac or "Ctrl + A" in Windows to select the whole image. Go to "Object," then "Group."

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  • Photo Credit cool girl image by victor zastol'skiy from
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