If you have a file that you need to convert to vector, you are not alone. Vector conversion is an important for many industries, including architecture, engineering, construction, photography, animation, graphic design, advertising and many others.

There are many ways to convert a raster graphic into a vector graphic. You can do it using a CAD program alone, or with specialized software, or you can outsource the work to a specialist. In fact, if you are familiar with a CAD program, you can convert simple raster images to vector graphics on your own. For complex images it is better to have it converted by someone who has extensive experience in this area.

Solution: Vectorization

Bitmap Vs. Vector Images
Most images in their native state are raster images, or bitmap images. Basically, these images are comprised of rows and columns of pixels of different colors. Bitmap images are quite common (.JPEG, .PNG, etc), but they are bulky in terms of file size and not flexible in terms of physical size.

What do we mean by “phsyical size” We mean the actual size of the image when you print it out or view it on a screen.

Bitmap images are resolution-dependent. In other words, if you need to expand a bitmap image it becomes blurry or “pixelated”. Resizing the image to be smaller requires that you to eliminate some pixels, so you effectively lose information.

Vector images solve the pixelization problem. Vector images are not a pattern of colored pixels. They are based on concepts like lines and curves, so the image itself is easily scalable and resolution independent. Vector images are the result of computer-generated curves and lines.

Have an Image to Convert to Vector?

Designers often choose to vectorize an image, or convert it from a bitmap (.JPEG, .PNG) to a vector-based image. On the other hand, turning an vector image into a bitmap, is called rasterizing. The three most common programs used to convert bitmap images into vector images are AutoCAD, Photoshop and Illustrator.

Convert to Vector using AutoCAD

AutoCAD is an application sold by AutoDesk. Because vector images are the native format of AutoCAD, vectorizing images within AutoCAD is simple.

Import your raster drawing into AutoCAD so that it becomes part of your background, and simply trace over it. Finally, remove the background.

Convert to vector using Photoshop

When you use Adobe Photoshop, the images you are manipulating are bitmap images by default. You have three choices in the options bar:

  • The Standard Pen tool allows you to create straight lines and Bezier curves over the image.
  • Freeform enable a more organic and loose tracing over the image.
  • Magnetic Pen allows you to follow transitions of color and brightness within the image.

Now draw your vector paths over the image until you have a traced conversion of the paths and shapes within your image. Press Enter when you are done tracing a path to signal the end of the pathway.

Convert to vector using Illustrator

Illustrator is an application made by Adobe. As with AutoCAD, because vector images are the native format of Illustrator, vectorizing images within Illustrator is fairly straightforward. Just use the Live Trace functions to create paths

Need help?

If you are unable to do the convert your raster files to vector on your own, let us know and we’ll be a happy to help you. RasterToVector.biz is a leader in outsourced vectorization services.

Moreover, we’ll even do the first conversion free of charge. Just use our online order form and mention the following promotion code in the special instructions: R2V-Free.