How to Convert a Photo Into Clip Art

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Clip art consists of basic images designed for import into any document style. Converting a photo to a clip art file is easy and possible using a variety of methods. Ultimately, the goal is to compress the photo into a simple, flat format that sits on a document without drastically increasing file space.


Clip Art Formats

Clip art is saved in a variety of formats, and no official version exists. The .GIF format is popular for animated clip art, but anything static will use a .JPEG or .PNG. Vector files often use the .EPS from Adobe, but can also work through a PDF style. Ultimately, the file format is determined by the creator, and any number of formats work equally well.

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Clip Art Converters

Free clip art editor and converter programs are easy to find through a basic web search. You can turn a photo into a cartoon or use an editor to cut out backgrounds, flatten and create a clip art file. You can even convert basic photo files into vector files through free online editing programs.


Quickly and easily turning your photo into clip art through a free program is an excellent choice for basic users. The scope of most free editors is limited to basic conversions with pre-existing settings, however, and any customization will require a more advanced photo and illustration editing program.

Photoshop Conversion

Photoshop is the best tool for advanced photo changes, allowing almost any desired change. To convert your photo into a basic clip art file, open the photo along with a new file for a blank canvas. Select the photo to activate and use the magic wand tool to grab the primary subject within the photo. This doesn't always work since it requires a clear, prominent subject in contrast with the background. If it fails, use the magnetic lasso tool to trace around the subject manually. Copy the outlined subject, paste into your new file and save in your desired format.


Photo Illustrations

Turning pictures into sketches and other illustrations is a great way to convert photos to professional looking clip art, with the best approach being through free conversion programs.

If you're envisioning a black and white sketch or specific style, include that in your conversion editor search. Options for sketch-specific editors are abundant, and numerous other tools exist with specific photo conversion capabilities. They might appear in a general search, so search with specifics to find the best illustration tool for your vision.


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