Convert an Adobe Illustrator Logo to an Adobe Photoshop file as Shape Layers

This tutorial will show you the proper way to take a vector-based Adobe Illustrator Logo into Adobe Photoshop and retain as much editing capabilities as possible.

This tutorial will be using Illustrator 8 and Photoshop 7 on the Macintosh. Any version of Illustrator above version 6 will work. If you are using a version of Illustrator above version 9 you will need to set up Illustrator properly. In your Illustrator Preferences > Files & Clipboard, select the AICB option rather then the default PDF option. Photoshop 6 or greater is required for this tutorial.

First, you will need to download the Illustrator eps file below.

Click here to download.

Decompress the file then open it with Adobe Illustrator.

Step 1

In illustrator. Select just the background lines like the sample below:

Background Lines

Then choose Edit > Cut from the menu (Command-X/Mac, Control-x/PC.) Using "cut" instead of "copy" will make things easier in a minute.

Launch Photoshop if it is not already running.

Create a new document (Command-N/Mac, Control-N/PC).

The new dialog will open set at the size of the clipboard contents. Make the new document a little larger to give some breathing room. It can always be cropped off later. Create a 300 pixel x 100 pixel document in RGB mode with a white background. Set the resolution at 72ppi since the file is destined for the web. However, you may want to set the resolution at 300ppi if you plan on printing this logo or using it in a commercially printed piece.

Hit okay

Once the new Photoshop document is open choose Edit > Paste from the menu. A dialog will appear giving 3 options - Pixels, Path, and Shape layer. For this tutorial, select the "Paths" option and hit Okay. You should then have a document with just the paths for the background. See the image below.

paths in Photoshop

In Photoshop choose Window > Paths (in Photoshop 6 the paths window is under the View menu.) The Paths palette should look like this. . .

Work path

Double click the path in the paths palette and title it "Background". Deselect the path by clicking on the blank area of the paths palette. So you no longer see the path in the document (this is important otherwise any subsequent "paste > as path" operation will overwrite this path).

Deselect path

Step 2

Go back to Illustrator.

Choose Edit > Select All from the menu then Edit > Copy from the menu.

At this point we are done with Illustrator, you can close it if you want. Don't save the document or you'll be missing the background paths in the Illustrator file. Just close and when asked to save hit the "No" button.

Now go back to Photoshop.

Choose Edit > Paste from the menu and again select the "Path" option when asked and hit Okay. You should now have 2 paths in the paths palette. ("Background" and "Work Path")

New Work Path

Double click the "Work Path" and name it "Master"

Step 3

Paths work just like layers to some degree. You can duplicate a path and edit it just as you can with layers. Drag the "Master" path down to the little paper icon at the bottom of the palette to create a duplicate path.

Click and drag

The new path that is created should be named "Master copy" by default.

Master Copy

Grab the direct selection tool (the white arrow in the tool palette underneath the black arrow).

Toolbar

For this path we'll want to eliminate everything except the square. Click the circle and delete (you may need to hit delete twice to clear all of the circle). Do the same for the triangle so you are left only seeing the square.

Square

Double click the "Master Copy" path in the path palette and name it "Square".

Square Path

Step 4

Duplicate the "Master" path again by dragging it to the new path icon again at the bottom of the path palette. Your path palette should look like this....

Master Copy

You should still have the Direct Selection Tool active. For this path we will want to leave only the triangle. So, click on the circle and delete it and then click on the square and delete it.

Paths

Double click this path in the path palette and name it "Triangle".

Paths

Duplicate the "Master" path for a third time by dragging it to the new path icon again at the bottom of the path palette. Your path palette should look like this....

Master Copy

You should still have the Direct Selection Tool active. For this final path we will want to leave only the circle. So, click on the square and delete it and then click on the triangle and delete it.

Circle Path

Double click the "Master Copy" path in the path palette and name this last path "Circle."

Compelete Paths

You can now delete the "Master" path by dragging it to the trash can at the bottom of the paths palette.

Delete Master Path

You are left with 4 paths, perfectly lined up containing all your elements and stacked in an order that will let you achive what you want.

Completed Paths

Step 5

Click once on the background path. (you should see it appear in the document).

Strokeing Path

For this path we will simply want to stroke the lines to create the background. select the pencil tool (pencil because we want a hard edged stroke) and choose a brush from the brush palette. I chose a 1 pixel brush. Now simply hit the return key. You won't see a great deal of change.

Background strokes

But once you deselect the "Background" path by clicking an empty area of the paths palette you should see the black lines that stroked the paths.

Completed Paths

You now have a layer for the background.

Step 6

Click once on the "Square" path.

From the menu at the top of the screen, choose Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color. . . a dialog will pop up asking for a name. Name the layer "Square" and hit okay.

Now the color picker will pop up. Pick a color for the square. I chose a middle gray (R192, G192, B192). Then just hit "Okay" In the layers palette you should now have 2 layers.

Square Shape Layer

Step 7

Click once on the path in the path palette. Then, from the menu, choose Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color. Name the layers "Triangle" and "Circle" respectively. For the triangle choose white for the color and for the circle choose black for the color.

Complete Shapes

You're probably saying to yourself, "What a fool. The triangle doesn't have a rule around it like the original art did." Well we are going to tackle that next. For the moment your Layers palette should look like the following:

All Shape Layers

Four layers. . . one for each component of the original Illustrator file.

Step 8

To add the rule around the triangle . . .

Click once on the "Triangle" layer and, from the menu at the top of the screen, choose Layer > Layer Style > Stroke. . . . The dialog opens with Red as the default (you should see the red stroke around the triangle in the document.) Click the little red box in the dialog and change the color to black. Then change the size from 3 to 2 pixels. To mimic the stroke of Illustrator change the "Position" drop down menu to "Center". Illustrator centers all it's strokes.

You're Done!

You should now have a 4 layered Photoshop file. And you can apply any style or color or gradient to any of the layers as you wish.

Because we set this file up utilizing vector shape layers and paths you can increase the dimensions and retain the crisp edges of the shapes. The only caveat is the background strokes. If you increase the image size or resolution you should delete "Layer 1" and follow the steps for stroking the background path again on a new layer.

I realize this may seem like a long, laborous process but, in reality, once you get the hang of it, this can be done in a minute or two depending on the complexity of the original Illustrator file.

You may also be saying to yourself, "But all I have to do is open the Illustrator file using Photoshop." True. However, if you simply open an Illustrator file with Photoshop you rasterize the entire file and lose the crisp edges that are inherent to the vector shapes. You may also wonder why you couldn't just copy and paste the entire Illustrator file into Photoshop. Well, you can. But, again, you rasterize the entire file. If you paste the entire Illustrator file as paths, editing can be a complete nightmare. If you paste the entire Illustrator file as a shape layer you again lose some editing capabilities. Each project is different. This tutorial is not meant to cover all situations, it will however cover those times where no other method is working.

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