How to Vectorize an Image


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How to Vectorize an Image

A perpetual problem for the budding graphic artist out there concerns the sharpness of the image which they want to use. An image that can look perfectly fine and suitable to their needs at first glance can prove to be entirely unsuitable if enlarged or enhanced in any way. Fortunately, the answer to this problem is out there, easy to find, and simple to utilize. Enter vector vs. raster images!
The first issue to address for these artists is where to find royalty-free stock footage, motion backgrounds and suitable graphics, templates and textures to use. One of the most affordable ways of acquiring affordable quality content is to subscribe to resource sites such as, or
The next question is how to tailor these downloads to best fit the image you want to produce and ensure a high-quality result; The easiest way to do this is to vectorize the image – a process sometimes referred to as image tracing. This method produces a clear image which doesn’t turn into a pixellated blur upon enlargement, meaning that the graphics and textures are a lot sharper than with a traditional, rasterized image.
There are many methods available to vectorize an image, but the most straight-forward method is to use the Adobe Photoshop programme. While Photoshop is a pixel-based program, it contains an Illustrator tool which removes the blurring that can occur at the end of the operation. Here’s a simple guide for using the Illustrator tool to vectorize your image;
Firstly, you need to save the image you wish to work upon into Documents on your computer and open it in Photoshop. Next, open the Illustrator tool and select the ‘File’ option, followed by ‘New’ in the sub-menu before pressing OK.
By using the Control key with ‘C’ to copy and ‘V’ to paste, the image will have opened in Photoshop. You can then use the Magic Wand tool to vectorize your image.
Select ‘Live Trace’ from the toolbar at the top of the screen followed by ‘Trace Options’. By clicking on ‘Ignore White’, the image converts to black – this is important as Illustrator doesn’t pick up lighter colours, e.g. yellow and white. Click ‘Expand’ to enlarge the image and toggle the lower/higher threshold controls to alter the crispness of the image to your preference.
By highlighting the blue option box next to the control bar, you can then color the image as you wish; The finished result should be almost complete by this stage.
Before saving your image and heading back to Photoshop, zoom in on the image to make sure that there is no blurring and the tiny imperfections are at a minimum. You now have a perfect, vectorized image – it’s that simple!

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