How to Cut Out the Middle of an Image in Illustrator

Adobe illustrator is a versatile tool to help make stunning images and graphics. However, sometimes images require some tweaking, and we need to remove a whole section out of the middle of our image.

To cut out the middle of an image in Illustrator:

  • Erase elements of the image until what you want is all that remains
  • Isolate an element, so you can move it around freely
  • Turn a section of your image into a vector shape

Thanks to Illustrator we can completely slice away whole areas of an image and have perfect control of what our final product will look like. Read on to find out exactly how.

Ways to Cut the Middle of an Image in Illustrator

Illustrator has features that will help accomplish the job. When designing graphics in Illustrator, it’s best to think about how you want each area of the image arranged. Sometimes, the default way an image is grouped isn’t what we want, and we need to remove an area or element from our image, which could be smack dab in the middle of it.

There are a few ways to do this:

  • Erase what you don’t want: If you just want a certain part of the image and you have no plans to use the rest of it, you can simply erase the background which you aren’t using, leaving only the essential piece of the image behind.
  • Isolate an element: To cut out a certain area of an image, you want to isolate it by making it an element, and then moving that element somewhere else. This is great if you want to keep the background but remove something from inside it.
  • Group it into a vector shape: A simple way to move elements of an image around is to make them into vector shapes, and then move those around accordingly. This will give you a more organized workspace and quick access.

Depending on what you want to cut out of your image and what you plan to do with it, each of these options will fulfill a different purpose, but all of them will help you cut an image out of your larger one.

Cut Out Unnecessary Areas of the Image

Open the image you want to use in Illustrator and arrange the workspace so you can see the portion of the image you want to delete.

Now, follow these steps:

  1. Use the zoom tool to frame the image appropriately: to work on the details, zoom in on that area of ​​the image; to work on the entire image, keep zooming out.
  2. Click and drag the eraser tool to start erasing. The white area shows the changes you are making. Release the mouse button to apply the changes to the area and cut the drawn vector.
  3. Hold “Alt” while dragging to create a rectangle with lines intersecting. Double-click to apply the transform. Repeat this until the image and your object match what you want to see.

When determining what is and isn’t necessary as part of an image, it depends on what you will be using it for such as an area where you want to place text or take another image inside.

Isolate an Element

An outline of the object’s shape can be seen if you select it and double-click it. Double-clicking it once more will edit it in Isolation mode. You can work on this object in isolation mode without impacting the rest of the image.

Then follow these steps:

  1. After positioning the image where you want it, use the Selection Tool to choose it (V).
  2. Next, select the Intersect symbol, the third choice listed under “Shape modes.”
  3. The overlapping shape of the original objects you utilized will be what you can move around.
  4. At the bottom of the Layers Panel, pick the “Create New Layer” button and click it. From here a second layer will be produced.
  5. Click on the tiny checkbox next to the layer in order to set lock on and you’ll see a padlock icon.

This is a great way to remove an element of an image without altering the original.

Create a Vector

In order to create a vector image, you need to first draw shapes and then group them together. In Illustrator, you can do this using the Group command.

To access the Group command:

  1. Click on the small arrow icon at the top right corner of the window. You will notice that the icons have changed to show the Group option.
  2. Once selected, you will see a box appear around each shape. Clicking on the box will allow you to select all the shapes inside the box.
  3. If you want to remove a shape from the group, simply double-click on the shape and it will disappear.

By default, the pen tool is set to use a straight line. However, if you want to change the direction of the line, simply hold down the Alt/Option button while clicking and dragging. You can also add curves to your path by holding down the Shift key while you drag.

When working with vectors, it’s often helpful to use guides to help you draw straight lines. You’ll then see a grid appear at the top of your canvas. Click on the dotted line to place a guide. Once you’ve placed guides, you can move them around using the Move tool.

Now that you have a vector, you can move it away, cut it, or delete it to remove the shape from your image.

Concluding Thoughts

That is how we can remove a piece of an image, a whole image, entirely, or any size or shape that we want from our canvas. Illustrator is a great tool, because it allows us to do things like cutting sections of our images out without a hassle with several easy ways to accomplish it.

So whether you need to reinvent your current image with elements from another, or you just want to get rid of a pesky thumbprint on the corner, there are many ways you can cut out the middle of an image from Illustrator.