PDA

View Full Version : Reliably converting raster to vector?



Chris S. (Fez)
04-19-2010, 03:21 PM
Because I do print work from letter sized to big-ol-banner size I often convert logos to vector.

I have traditionally done the conversion manually in Illustrator to ensure pristine results but it is so time consuming I was hoping the automatic conversion has improved.

I am not content with the conversion in AI CS4. Does anyone have experience converting bitmaps to vectors in other programs? There are so many programs and my Google query was hardly conclusive.

Any suggestions from the LW community?

Thanks.

nickdigital
04-19-2010, 06:13 PM
You could try this program.
http://vectormagic.com/home

erikals
04-19-2010, 07:30 PM
illustrator also has "live trace"
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=live+trace&aq=f

and, cookie cutter plugin
http://pweb.netcom.com/~ghartens/cookie.html

SplineGod
04-19-2010, 09:11 PM
Ive also used Vector Magic with good results :)

geo_n
04-20-2010, 04:34 AM
I like vector magic as well.

Serling
04-20-2010, 08:18 AM
Here's a logo I scanned yesterday for a project I'll be starting soon. I used PhotoShop to trace a path (by hand) around the "Y" and the "A" in the character then exported that as an Illustrator path I could use in CorelDraw.

I created the text in CorelDraw and aligned it to an arc there, converted the text to curves, then exported it all to an EPS file I could import into Modeler.

The disc that comprises the character's head was created in Modeler, then I did a 3-light rig in Layout.

Because this was scanned from a 4-color brochure (1200 dpi), I had a hell of a time trying to get a clean trace from it (using CorelTrace). Each color grouping (CMYK) was being traced and the results were unacceptable. Hand tracing it with the pen tool ended up being my quickest and cleanest solution.

That Vector Magic program looks sweet, but $295 is a little steep.

P.S. The PNG file is a scaled down copy of the scanned image. The animated logo is in the MOV file.

JeffrySG
04-20-2010, 12:26 PM
I too always do it by hand in Illustrator. I used to occasionally use Adobe Streamline back in the day but even then only one very loose ragged logos. If it's a very clean lined logo with text I don't think anything beats recreating by hand.

But of course if you're only going to use it where it won't be seen very much or very large an autotrace may do the job quickly for that instance.

I never really liked the live trace in Illustrator. They supposedly took Streamline and turned it into live trace but I think they lost a lot of options in the process.

cresshead
04-20-2010, 01:04 PM
Here's a logo I scanned yesterday for a project I'll be starting soon. I used PhotoShop to trace a path (by hand) around the "Y" and the "A" in the character then exported that as an Illustrator path I could use in CorelDraw.

I created the text in CorelDraw and aligned it to an arc there, converted the text to curves, then exported it all to an EPS file I could import into Modeler.

The disc that comprises the character's head was created in Modeler, then I did a 3-light rig in Layout.

Because this was scanned from a 4-color brochure (1200 dpi), I had a hell of a time trying to get a clean trace from it (using CorelTrace). Each color grouping (CMYK) was being traced and the results were unacceptable. Hand tracing it with the pen tool ended up being my quickest and cleanest solution.

That Vector Magic program looks sweet, but $295 is a little steep.

P.S. The PNG file is a scaled down copy of the scanned image. The animated logo is in the MOV file.

i'd render it edge on to edge on...that way when it loops you never see a reversed version half the time.

re tracing/drawing i use either corel draw or 3dsmax to trace out 2d spline shapes and have been known to trace out shapes with splines in modeler too.

Tonttu
04-20-2010, 03:08 PM
You might also get better results from smaller logos, if you scale the raster up first (preferably with some kind of smart algorithm).

MentalFish
04-20-2010, 10:29 PM
In Photoshop, scale image up quite a bit, apply some blur to smooth it, do a magic wand selection with a high tolerance, go to paths next to layers and channels, and click the icon of the two curve handles facing eachother /_\ then you can go to file->export->paths to illustrator

Works nicely in many situations, but I guess not good enough for "crisp and clean" results, just highly curved outlines.

accom
04-21-2010, 12:19 AM
I have never been satisfied with tracing results, for a few obvious reasons:
- inacurate
- too complicated (far too many nodes)
- bad color matching.

It's always a compromise... either there's too many nodes or a bad approximation of geometry and colors. So, doing it by hand is still best, but yes, time consuming. For logos, i first check the web: www.brandsoftheworld.com and if it's not there, I browse the net for logos on the site of the searched brand or for some pdfs where vector logo might be found.... if that doesn't work, than i do it myself.

bjornkn
04-21-2010, 12:53 AM
I've never managed to get a good trace neither.
Prefer to use Corel or Xara for hand-tracing.
Or even LW itself.
If you're going to bend/twist/animate logos in any way you'd probably want it in SubD anyway, with only quads/tris, and then a trace won't help you much anyway, with huge ngons on each side. Trying to cross-connect all the nodes the tracers produce is a big job...

probiner
04-21-2010, 12:53 AM
... So, doing it by hand is still best

And that's its =\

The only thing i could add is the bigger resolution image you work with the better the automated results will be.

Cheers

(Side note, i use inkscape for tracing black and white. It's fast, good results and free. But no, not the answer to your OP problem)

Chris S. (Fez)
04-22-2010, 01:41 PM
Thank you ver much for the feedback folks. Much appreciated!

I may invest in VectorMagic...though I will probably wait for CS5 to see if the trace is improved enough to "save" me $300.

I am hopeful but doubtful I will be able to get crisp clean vectors without having to do a lot of cleanup.