How To Stop Photoshop From Rasterizing Layers

Are you having trouble with Photoshop automatically rasterizing images when you import them or are you receiving an annoying pop-up that states the image must be rasterized before editing? You may be wondering what this means and how you can stop Photoshop from rasterizing layers.

Vector-based images imported into Photoshop are automatically rasterized; to avoid this images can be edited/saved using software designed for editing vectors. Then the image can be opened and edited in Photoshop. Creating duplicate layers also helps with the issue of Photoshop rasterizing layers.

For a more detailed explanation of how to stop Photoshop from rasterizing layers continue reading.

Why Does Photoshop Rasterize Layers – Here’s Why

If you are importing a vector-based image into Photoshop there is nothing you can do to stop the program from rasterizing the layers in the file.

Photoshop automatically rasterizes vector-based files so you can no longer edit the image as it is however the image will generally not change in appearance until you start zooming in.

You will see a difference in the edges and sharpness when doing a side-by-side comparison of a vector-based image to a rasterized image.

Certain Changes Require Rasterizing

The reason Photoshop requires you to rasterize your layers is their tools will only work on a rasterized layer because they work with pixels. Some of those tools include:

  • Brushes
  • Fill tool
  • Eraser tools
  • Filters

When you are working in Photoshop and wish to make certain changes to a vector-based image you will be greeted with a pop-up dialog box informing you that the layer must be rasterized in order to continue with the desired task.

Now you have a basic understanding of why Photoshop is rasterizing your images and layers so you can learn what to do to stop it from happening if you wish.

Stopping Photoshop From Rasterizing Layers – What to Know

Although it can be a little more time-consuming there are ways to prevent Photoshop from rasterizing the layers of your vector-based image.

Beat Photoshop To The Punch

The first way to stop Photoshop from automatically rasterizing your image when it is imported is to first edit and save the image you wish to import by using a program designed for editing vector-based images.

Programs such as Adobe’s Illustrator or any of the free online programs should be sufficient for what you need.

Some examples of programs you can use in lieu of Adobe Illustrator are:

Once you have made the edits and saved your work in one of the programs mentioned above you can import the image and make any further changes or additions once in Photoshop.

Duplicate Layers Save Time And Frustration

A great workaround to this issue is to create at least one duplicate layer of the image you wish to make changes to. This will come in handy and can be a real lifesaver if you make a mistake and need to go back.

Keeping a “spare” layer also allows you to try different techniques and effects to see what looks the most appealing.

Of course, you can always hit the “undo changes” button if you are still working on the project as long as you have not automatically save your progress.

Once you have saved your work there is no going back. That is another reason to always create duplicate layers and entire duplicate documents.

How To Revert Rasterized Layer In Photoshop Quickly

If you have rasterized a layer in Photoshop whether intentionally or accidentally and wish to undo this action there is a very simple keyboard shortcut you can follow listed below.

To undo the rasterization of a layer, simply press the Ctrl + Z keys on your keyboard to undo the last step.

If you have already performed other actions you will need to access the history menu and click on the action listed before you rasterized the layer. This will undo all actions that you have completed up to that point.

Duplicate and Save In Multiple Formats

You may be wondering what to do once you are satisfied with your design and the changes you have made. The best thing is to create more than one version of the finished product.

Save one file in its raw, unflattened state and then save the second file in its compressed format so you can easily upload it to the web or send it to a client if necessary. You will still have the original copy as a backup in the event you need to make corrections.

Preparing Image Before Importing Simplifies Design Process

Understanding why Photoshop rasterizes images and layers can relieve some of the frustration you receive when trying to edit and save your vector-based images. As you can see, by properly preparing the image in a different program before importing it into Photoshop you can save a lot of time and frustration and will be happier with the end result.