How to use Adobe Illustrator to crop images from the web

As a Bay Area graphic designer I was constantly having to crop images from the web to use for design projects. Once I had an image copied from the web, I would open it up in Photoshop and then crop the image to whatever size I needed. Then I would open the cropped image in Illustrator for my project. I was so use to cropping images in Photoshop that I didn’t realize how easy it was to do in Illustrator and save myself some valuable time.

A simple way to copy an image from the web, open the image in Adobe Illustrator and then crop it for a project:

<> First, find an image on the web. Hold down the Control button on your keyboard and then press the Print Screen button. You now have an image copy of your screen (screen shot).
<> Open Adobe Illustrator. On the file tab, press New and make a new document. I use a 800 pixel wide by 500 pixel tall document.


<>Now hold down the control key on your keyboard and press the letter V to paste the copied image to your canvas.
<> Now grab either the rectangle tool or the ellipse tool and encircle the portion of the image you wish to crop. Make sure there is no fill and no stroke.

<>Go up to the Illustrator menu on top and click the Select tab and then click All.

<> Now under the OBJECT tab, on the drop down menu, press Clipping Mask and then click Make.
<> Click on the Black Arrow key and then click on your canvas to deselect the now cropped image. Now you can center your cropped image on your canvas with the black arrow pointer.

Final notes:

<> To set up this image for tracing in Illustrator, just create a new layer in the layers panel. Put a lock on the original layer (bottom layer to keep it from moving) and add about 50% opacity. To add opacity to a layer make sure the appearance panel is opened from the window tab. Under the fill text, click on opacity and drop the opacity to about 50%. Rename this layer “trace background”. Start working on your new layer.

<> If you need to change the canvas size, simply click on Document Setup on the top menu. Now click on Edit Artboards. Grab the handles with your mouse and drag out the canvas to fit your project.


Tom Arrington Bay Area Graphic Designer 510 680 3086

Tom (510) 680-3086