How to Erase a Bitmap Image in Illustrator

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Adobe Illustrator is a vector graphics program, meaning that objects are created using a series of points, lines and arcs, which are saved as a mathematical formula. Illustrator, however, has a limited ability to edit bitmap or "raster" images---those images composed of a fixed number of pixels. Bitmap images may be imported and displayed in Illustrator, but you may not edit a bitmap image in the same way as in a raster graphics editing program. Instead of using the eraser tool to erase an area of an imported bitmap image, you must crop the clipping path of the image.

  • Launch Adobe Illustrator and open an image file that contains an imported bitmap image.

  • Click the bitmap image to select it, then click the "Mask" button in the context menu at the top of the program window.

  • Click the "Edit Clipping Path" button in the menu at the top of the program window.

  • Click a bounding box square at the side, top, bottom, or corner of the bitmap image and drag it toward the center of the image to crop the clipping path of the bitmap image, erasing the viewable portion.

  • Press the "a" button on the keyboard to switch to the "Direct Selection Tool." Click to select an anchor point in the corner of the bitmap image. Click the same anchor point and drag it toward the center of the bitmap image to erase the viewable area of the image.

  • Click to select an anchor point in the corner of the bitmap image. Click the "Convert selected anchor points to smooth" icon in the "Anchor Point" menu at the top of the program window to create "Handle" points on the selected anchor point. Click to select one of the handle points, then drag it to create a curve in the viewable bitmap area.

  • Press the "=" key on the keyboard to switch to the "Add Anchor Point" tool. Click to create a new anchor point on the bitmap image clipping path. The new anchor point may be manipulated to erase a viewable area of the bitmap image as in Step 5.

  • Click the "File" menu, then click "Save" to save your changes to the image file.

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