Raster to Vector

Pixels Ink

Nice website for those that don't have Illustrator and the Live Trace tool.

You can upload a bitmap image and it will convert it to a vector for you. Got quite a few options too so you can tweak until you get the results you are after.

Vector Magic | Precision Bitmap to Vector Conversion Online

In order to download the results you need to subscribe, but it works out at something like £1 per download which you can easily hide in your final bill to a client.

Live Trace

Is it just me or is the live trace tool of very little use?

It traces things in an odd way and I find it pretty much unusable. I barely ever use it.

To be honest I agree, I don't really use "Illy" but I have tried the Live Trace function on occasion, it only seems to work well when the source image is of very high resolution.

If the source image is low resolution and the boundaries between colours/shapes blurred then the result is poor to be honest.

Apparently Corel has a similar function, not sure if it is any better, maybe Mark will let us know.

If it's an image of any level of detail all the boundaries yes get merged in a very useless type of way, and so it's not very useful for what you would want it for - ie saving time when having to redraw something average/complex into vector.

Apparently Corel has a similar function, not sure if it is any better, maybe Mark will let us know.
Corel were one of the first (if not the first) to develop vector tracing. Like so many other things Corel innovated, Adobe took the feature and made a big deal out of it. :icon_wink:

Automated vector tracers are 'ok' but they're nowhere near as accurate as the real thing - by hand. :) :icon_wink:
Hello there!

Someone wants me to use a photographic image but if converted to vector won't look like a real life image. The guy has rights to this image so has got to be this image. Do I have to tell him that it can't be used as it won't scale?

What's the photo being used for? You're correct that a photo cannot be 100% accurately reproduced in vector. Well, it can, but it would take hundreds of hours and the file size would be gigantic.
Unless the image was taken on a large format digital camera or, say, a 10 inch plate camera then I wouldn't recommend using a photo at all. Yes, companies do use photos but it's usually only the preserve of the nationals/multinationals who can afford the outlay for high resolution imagery.

If your client will only ever use it on a website then fair enough. But how will the logo cope when, one day, it's on the side of a van? Or even a billboard?

Take a look here: Logo Design and How to Avoid Disaster!

I'm always 'happy' to go with what the client ultimately wants - but with the proviso that if their course of action is ill-advised, I can't be held responsible. :)
I use Vector Magic every now and then and its very good for certain things, its far better than the almost useless trace tool in illustrator that Amanda mentioned.

Like Col said you choose settings, numbers of colours etc and it can cut down some of the time to vectorise something, though you usually have to have a little tinker afterwards, tidy up etc.

But a very reasonable price for the service it offers.