It might be a UI design tool, but thanks to the introduction of Plugins in 2019, Figma can be surprisingly powerful for creating all kinds of graphics.
It was made for turning simple image files like logos into vectors, but I've found running photos through it can create some really interesting effects, especially when working with an isolated subject, as we'll go through in the steps below.
First we’ll make use out of the remove.bg plugin to remove our background.
It’s as simple as selecting our image, right clicking and selecting the plugin.
It is surprisingly effective but has it’s limits, so if your source material is more complex you might have to use Photoshop to get a clean mask instead.
Once you’ve got a nice clean isolated image layer, right click on it and select the Image Tracer plugin.
Click on Show Options, and then select Processed Image from the dropdown on the right hand side, ensuring none of the checkboxes beneath it are ticked too. This means you can see exactly what will be output and makes it easier to tweak the settings accordingly.
In my experiences, the majority of the controls don't have much of an affect, but the key one to get right is Threshold. This controls which parts of the image you'd like included in your vector. It's generally easiest to set it really low, then really high, and gradually adjust it until you've found a good middle ground, as shown in the image below.
Hit done and the Vector will be added to your canvas.
Now that it’s a vector file, the fun part begins and you can start experimenting by adding a stroke, filling it with a gradient, adding a shadow, or anything else!
Note: If you’re trying to create a small SVG file, it’s worth spending some time editing the vector to decrease the amount of nodes used. Unsurprisingly the complexities of real photo can cause thousands of nodes to be created in order to replicate it in vector form, which can result in some pretty big SVG files.