Image Tracing in AI


I assume you have installed AI2ASS. If not, do it now.

Drag and drop the final mask image which you have created in PS into AI. Make sure you have selected Essentials Classic as your work space.

Work_Space Work space

Now click on Image Trace which can be found in the bottom of the right panel. After selecting, you will see a number of options in which you select High Fidilety Photo.1 There is some pre-processing that needs to be done, so wait for it to be completed. After that you should see a window like below. Click on Expand at the bottom of right panel.

Expand Expand

After Expansion you should see blue lines on image like pictured below. Now click on Ungroup, again at the bottom of right panel.

Ungroup Ungroup

Deselect the whole thing by clicking anywhere outside the canvas and press Ctrl+Shift+D.2 Afterwards, click on the white background and press Delete. If you didn’t messed up, you should see a clean image.

Clean_Image Clean AI image

Sometimes ImageTrace can create white spots around the edges, so it is better to do a sanity check and make sure that there are no white spots around the edges.

Click on Document Setup in the bottom right. In the pop-up window. select Grid Colors option to Custom and choose a color that is in contrast with the image. I generally use green but you may use whatever color is convenient for you. Confirm your choice by clicking on OK.

Grid_Window Grid colours

Press Z to Zoom and press V to activate the Selection tool. Click on any white spots and press Delete to delete them. This is what you should see at the end.

Final_AI_Image Final image

Sometimes there might be holes in the drawings. Generally you can ignore those since they are only visible when zoomed out, but if it bothers you just click drawing around the hole and drag the anchor/handles to fill it up. Once you are happy with the result, select File → Scripts → AI2ASS to create the ASS drawings.


On the window, click on Export and wait till it is finished. Now you can copy the result into your subtitle script and you should see the mask.

Final TS Looks pretty, doesn’t it?


If you see banding in the mask, try increasing the colors to max. However, note that this will create more lines in subtitle file.


This will make the grid background transparent.