How to Convert Images to Vector Format

how to convert a jpg to vector format

Categories of Computer Graphics: Raster vs. Vector

The following are raster image file extensions: JPG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, PICT. Raster images are comprised of a large grid of colored squares (pixels). When zooming into a raster image, the pixels become more apparent, and shapes and lines of graphic elements become blurry. Lower-resolution raster images appear blurry at 100% scale.


The following are vector image file extensions: EPS, AI, CDR, SVG. Vector images are comprised of computer formulae which allow an image to be rendered larger or smaller, depending on the resolution of the monitor or printer. No pixels are involved. Shapes and lines retain their perfect quality, regardless of scale. When one zooms into a vector image, the edges of shapes do not become blurry.


The Wrong Way to Convert to Vector

hand vectored image by vectorquick

Most vector-based applications have features which will automatically trace JPG raster images. The end result is very rough artwork and almost never usable. Lines which should appear straight end up jagged; curves which should appear perfectly round end up slightly warped. Many bargain-priced vector conversion companies produce artwork via this method. Rest assured that VectorQuick never uses this method to vectorize images. Please click on the example image above to visualize the difference in quality.


Our Process of Vectorizing Images

The diagram in the right column of this page serves as a perfect example of the process by which we vectorize every JPG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, PICT and PDF low-resolution image. This image took an experienced graphic designer several hours to complete. The final vector EPS image looks much improved versus the original, and our customer was thrilled with the result.

Each shape, line and color of a raster image needs to be recreated using a vector-based application, such as Adobe Illustrator. This is done by "importing" the raster image to be used as a tracing guide, similar to overlaying a sheet of tracing paper on a page to trace an image with a pen. Shapes such as circles and rectangles are created easily using shape tools. Complex shapes need to be plotted out with the use of bezier curves. If there is text in an image, then we most likely have the font(s) in our library. Often times we need to actually plot by hand the letters of more exotic varieties of text, logo-types or handwritten script. Final art can be scaled up or down to any size.