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Possible Duplicate:
Vectorization graphics approach

Folks, Photoshop newbie here with what I think is a simple question, but clearly, I am not searching for the right keywords on Google.

I have a hand-sketched pattern that I have scanned into a (bitmap) image. It is a crisp black and white image. I would like for a way to get Photoshop (or Illustrator) to detect the edges and extract paths from it, thereby converting it into a vector graphic.

Is there a simple way to accomplish this?



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migrated from Sep 13 '10 at 23:55

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

marked as duplicate by hyperslug, Chealion, BinaryMisfit Sep 16 '10 at 18:32

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Or… – hyperslug Sep 14 '10 at 0:55
Or…, though I find Inkscape woefully unintuitive. – hyperslug Sep 14 '10 at 0:58
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Yes, by using the 'trace' function in Illustrator: there's a tutorial here.

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Since you're using Illustrator then use the tools built into it for doing exactly what you're doing. But if you don't have / want to use the Adobe software there are several free alternatives:

Potrace is Free (as in FOSS) vectorisation software, these days it comes as a plugin for the free vector graphics package Inkscape

The brilliant commercial / open source vector graphics package Xara is available free for Linux, it has an excellent built-in tracing tool (and it kicks illustrator's 4rse for speed and ease of use)

Other free vectorisation software includes AutoTrace and Deliniate.

Also there's a free web app called vector magic here, they sell a desktop version as well.


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I don't believe there is any way to easily/automatically "vectorize" a raster image in Photoshop or Illustrator. There does appear to be an online utility that offers two trial conversions before you have to pay, then they want $7.95/month, which is probably quite excessive for individual use.

Check out -- if you're just doing one image, that should do the trick for you.

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