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Decent trace tool


New Member
I would like to share this for whose that are not already aware of.

Several years ago the only trace tool I have tried was Corel Trace and it was pure crap then. I never bothered again to try it; instead I just vectored manually anything I needed using the shape tool. A pain in the neck but certainly the best result you can get.

Recently I found out a tool called "Vector Magic" that really does a decent job. Yet it doesn't deliver ALL the job done it turns a 45 minutes task in a single minute where you will have to open the SVG file in your favorite vector program (mine is Corel Draw), break the file into pieces, delete a few noise and recombine it as you wish. The vector job is really quite decent though.

I am using it in a bunch of old school black and white cliparts that I have to vector in no time and the result is surprisingly good. The downside is the price (a licence of $295 for the desktop version is very expensive IMO for a tool that does just that) but they have the option where you can subscribe for their online service for $7.95 per month that gets affordable for all pockets. Not the best solution for whose need to vector heavy files but...



Staff member
You're much better off doing these by hand. Those programs tend to give very bad edges, curves, and create unnecessary clipping masks around simple objects, that can cause havoc.


New Member
You're much better off doing these by hand. Those programs tend to give very bad edges, curves, and create unnecessary clipping masks around simple objects, that can cause havoc.
If you have told it to me till yesterday (when I just knew Corel Trace) I would agree totally. After to meet this program I may have changed my opinion. One of the things I liked more is the small number of objects it generates. I tried Corel Trace vs. 11 and to achieve a decent result it generated me a HUGE and complicated file with over eight thousand objects. This Magic stuff did it better with around 40 objects.

That's why I shared this program. It is really good. You should try it. But, of course that's your call!


In my case I wouldn't bother even try it if I had only one and important illustration to trace. But having a bunch of small B&W cliparts that will have no more than 1 cm tall on paper I feel really happy to have a program to do it for me. And the only reason I am tracing such small pictures is because I am experiencing problems printing my arts in a laser printer because they are "black composite" and this was the only way I found to repaint them nicely in CMYK 100% black...


Or there's always Illustrator.
Tried it a couple times but I really don't feel comfortable using it. Perhaps because I do my stuff with Corel for over 20 years and am so used to it.



Staff member
There is a reluctance for Corel users to use Illy and vice versa, I guess it's down to how comfortable you are.

One sticking point with Corel is that it's for Windows only (no Mac version) probably why a lot of designers don't use it.

I gave up on live trace years ago. But maybe it's time to revisit it...


Well-Known Member
I use "live trace" in Ai quite a bit for vectorising raster images when we do murals.
Sometimes it's for making stencils on the plotter and sometimes it's to simplify something like a portrait down into a few colours to be used as a guide.

It can be really quite a good tool but it does take some experimentation with the settings to get right.
It's often better to adjust the levels of an image first in Photoshop and then run a trace.

When you find the settings that work well you can save them as a custom pre-sets which makes it much quicker and easier when you come to doing a similar thing.