Infographics: How to Use Photoshop Files in Illustrator

By Justin Beegel, MBA, The Infographic World Team

Take a look at how to integrate Illustrator and Photoshop into your infographic design arsenal. Once you get the hang of them, you can use them for many phases of your infographic design.

You can also explore the big question of how to choose between the two, depending on the requirements of your infographic project. You’ll discover some ways of using the best that each program has to offer.

For starters, you can “place” Photoshop images in Illustrator, which is a great function that allows your photo to remain linked to the original. This means that the original image is not technically part of the file; rather, it stays in an external file.

Relinking to your photo allows you to update it at any time, say to reflect changes to the image or to bring in a higher-resolution version. Illustrator also now shows a preview of the image while you’re placing it and lets you place multiple images at once, which is great. Hmm. But what if you want to keep the layers of your PSD file intact?

The answer is pretty simple. In Illustrator

  1. Choose File→Open.

  2. Navigate to and open your Photoshop document.

  3. Click OK.

  4. In the Photoshop Import Options dialog box that opens, make sure that the Convert Layer to Objects radio button is enabled and then click OK. See the figure.

    Importing Photoshop images into Illustrator.

    Importing Photoshop images into Illustrator.

    The document comes in with the layers intact. The layers are separate rasterized images that can be moved, scaled, and affected the same way as any photo can be in Illustrator.

    Like other photos, though, they can’t be scaled up larger than their original Photoshop size without looking pixelated.

Watch out for layer effects, blend modes, and adjustment layers when you import files. If you have effects (such as drop shadows) applied to one layer, Illustrator will merge all visible layers upon import. If you want to keep your layers separate, rasterize any effects layers before opening the file in Illustrator.