21 Replies Latest reply: Jun 9, 2011 9:20 PM by JETalmage RSS

    Need to convert to vector format.

    soshagayle7

      I have a document with pictures.  I need to convert it to vector format before sending to printer.  Not sure how to do it.  Using CS5.  Is converting to outlines the same? 

        • 1. Re: Need to convert to vector format.
          Scott Falkner Community Member

          What document do you have? Is it an Illustrator file or some other type of file? What makes you believe it is not currently vectors and, more importantly, what makes you believe it must be vectors. Almost everything I get printed is not completely vectors. Raster or bitmap are the common terms for a graphic that is not vectors.

           

          Tell us more about the file and about how it will be printed. If there are non-vector elements, tell us the resolution in pixels per inch (ppi). For example, a 300 x 300 pixel image that prints at 2 inches square is 150 ppi. A screen grab of your file may help understand what you need as well.

          • 2. Re: Need to convert to vector format.
            soshagayle7 Community Member

            It is an Illustrator file.  I am trying to put together some information that will go on a magnet.  It concerns recycling so I googled it and pulled some photos from there.  When I open them in photoshop,  it tells me that they are all from 183 ppi and up....  One of them that I really wanted to use was just 72.  I googled how to change the resolution and was guided on how to do that.  I changed it to 300 ppi and hope it will turn out good.  They were all jpegs.  I placed them in my illustrator file and set the type that needs to go on there.   I understood from the place that does the printing  that they need me to send it in a vector format.

            I can easily save it as a pdf or eps but not sure about vector ??

            Also, not sure what you mean by a screen grab but trying to learn.  

            • 3. Re: Need to convert to vector format.
              Scott Falkner Community Member

              The resolution of the JPG images in Photoshop is irrelevant. Resampling does nothing to improve the quality or smoothness of the image. When you place the unmodified JPG in Illustrator and scale it, you can then use the Links panel or the Document Properties panel to see the final resolution of the image. This is all that matters.

               

              As for the print shop telling you your file must be all vector, it sounds like you are dealing with a sales rep or someone who has nothing to do with printing the file. There is no reason a printed (as opposed to plotted) file must be all vector.

               

              If you want to make you file vector anyway, perhaps to improve the sharpness of low resolution images, then you need to use the pen tool to trace the artwork. Put the JPG image on one layer then make that layer a template layer by selecting Template from the Layers panel flyout menu. On another layer use the pen tool to trace over the shapes of the JPG. Search for Illustrator Pen Tutorial.

              • 4. Re: Need to convert to vector format.
                soshagayle7 Community Member

                Thanks for your great information.  I placed one of the jpegs into my document and it was 72 ppi.   I scaled it down to the size it needs to be and now it says that it is 280.  Visually,  it doesn't look as good.  But...  you are saying that I can use this file and save it as a pdf or eps and it should be enough for the print shop?

                I did check out the tutorial using the Pen tool.  I will work on that but it will take some time.    I also need to work on the live trace option.  I am such a beginner but determined to learn this !!!

                • 5. Re: Need to convert to vector format.
                  Scott Falkner Community Member

                  280 ppi is an ideal resolution for print, so long as the image looks good when viewing Actual Pixels in Photoshop (or viewed at 100% in Illustrator before scaling).

                  • 6. Re: Need to convert to vector format.
                    [Jongware] MVP

                    No amount of placing bitmaps into Illustrator will automatically make it a vector format. No amount of resolution will be enough. The OP originally stated he needed a vector format and got side-tracked into talking about high resolution images -- which is NOT the same.

                     

                    It might be wise to first determine whether his printer actually needs vector files, or just a bitmap resolution good enough for printing.

                    • 7. Re: Need to convert to vector format.
                      medicineheads.no Community Member

                      Hi

                      Back to your printers statement "a vector format". I have done print jobs for a couple of decades - and no printer has, so far,  asked for "vector format" what kind of printing is it? 4-color, inkjet or.... - perhaps they are referring to a pdf? That is a format containing vectors for objects etc but also includes bitmap (jpg, gif, tif etc) for images. It is also the most common and preferred format for printers around the globe

                      • 8. Re: Need to convert to vector format.
                        soshagayle7 Community Member

                        Even though I have been told that I should not need my finished project in a vector format,  that is what many of the printers that do advertising specialty's ask for.  I am working on a 3 x 5 ... full color magnet.    It must be difficult to convert from illustrator into a vector format since no one has a specific answer.

                        Not trying to be critical because I sure don't know how to do it.   I have a graphic's person that can do it for me,  and I can ask her to tell me but its like saying to her....  tell me how to do it so I don't have to pay you anymore.  I just wanted to learn to do this for myself.

                        • 9. Re: Need to convert to vector format.
                          soshagayle7 Community Member

                          Thanks for your response on this.    A PDF is perfect for brochures, forms, checks, envelopes and other things that I have printed but I have been ask by the Advertising Specialty Printers for my file to be in  vector format.  I don't know why.   I am working on some magnets.  It will be 4 color process. (or however they print in full color).     Other jobs I have done though is like pens, mouse pads, cups etc...   They ask for Vector files   ???

                          • 10. Re: Need to convert to vector format.
                            [Jongware] MVP

                            I guess the first thing you need to find out is what the difference is between vector and bitmaps.

                             

                            Unfortunately, no one can be told what the difference is. You have to see it for yourself.

                            • 11. Re: Need to convert to vector format.
                              medicineheads.no Community Member

                              Hi

                              If you have made something in Adobe Illustrator and save it you have a vector format - but the pixelbased images you have put into your document remains pixels.

                               

                              Vector formats are a mathematical description of the drawing - and not dependent on the printer-resolution. Bitmap or pixel formats are just that - lots of pixels with information about each pixel. If you magnify a pixel image you do not get more pixels, and at some point you will be able to see the pixels. meaning your image looks bad.

                               

                              If you by "pens and cups" means you have printed a logo on these objects I can understand they say "vector formats" (e.g. freehand or illustrator) because they have most likely had cases of beeing handed a pixel-image from a website as an original. Such originals have a too low resolution to print well. Screen resolution is mostly 72 pixels per inch or lately 94 (?) pixels per inch. To get a clean line in professional print you need around 1000 pixel per inch in the correct size. The Adobe logo on top of this page is 39x64 pixels - if you wanted to use a picel image in the size you see for print it would need to be about 500x800 pixels.

                               

                              Illustrator IS vector format. Eps IS vector format. Both can hold and display bitmap. Gif, jpg, tif, bmp etc are pixel formats. Pdf = Printer Description Format, a further developement of eps and uses all types of images.

                              more about pixels:

                              ps I see someone have posted while I was writing this
                              hope this helps
                              • 12. Re: Need to convert to vector format.
                                soshagayle7 Community Member

                                Thank you very much.  This is very helpful and the web site you suggested was good. 

                                I appreciate you taking the time to explain some things to me.  !!

                                Have a great evening.

                                • 13. Re: Need to convert to vector format.
                                  JETalmage Community Member

                                  Be careful of terminology (and over-eager misinformation).

                                   

                                  If you have made something in Adobe Illustrator and save it you have a vector format

                                   

                                  Not necessarily. Many features in Illustrator (effects, transparency...) result in raster content without actually importing raster images. So an Illustrator file is not necesarily "a vector file."

                                   

                                  Illustrator is a program. Its native file format can contain any combination of raster, vector, and/or text objects.

                                   

                                   

                                  If you by "pens and cups" means you have printed a logo on these objects I can understand they say "vector formats" (e.g. freehand or illustrator)

                                   

                                  Same goes for FreeHand. Just because it's an AI or FH file does not necessarily mean its content is vector paths.

                                   

                                  Screen resolution is mostly 72 pixels per inch or lately 94 (?) pixels per inch.

                                   

                                  The "94(?)" is an erroneous reference to screen-draw resolution in the context of Windows (96 or 92 PPI, not 94). Nowadays, it's largely moot on both platforms, because it depends on what specifically you are talking about. If you're talking about actual inch-measure of the screen, that varies all over the place, depending on the monitor, and would vary according to zoom anyway. If you're talking about number of pixels which the OS generates to describe an inch of content, that depends on the application. For example, even on Windows, Adobe Illustrator builds its screen image on the assumption of 72 PPI. That's why you have set AI's zoom to 133% if you want to take a screen capture in AI and paste it back into AI so as to have its size on the page match that of the objects you captured.

                                   

                                  To get a clean line in professional print you need around 1000 pixel per inch in the correct size.

                                   

                                  Egads. Now poor soshagayle7 is going to think everything in print requires a raster resolution of 1000 PPI.

                                   

                                  What if I told you I can give you a razor-sharp print of a line--of any length, any weight, and at any angle--using a single-pixel raster image?

                                   

                                  The Adobe logo on top of this page is 39x64 pixels - if you wanted to use a picel image in the size you see for print it would need to be about 500x800 pixels.

                                   

                                  Maybe. If it were line art (no screen tints, therefore no halftone dots) and if it were printed on an imaging device with a hardware resolution of 1000 printer spots per inch. But if "for print" meant, say, printing on a high-speed on-demand printer like a Xerox DocuTech (just as common nowadays as offset litho), 600 ppi would be plenty.

                                   

                                  It is ridiculous to advise someone about appropriate raster resolution for print without mentioning screen ruling and method.

                                   

                                  Illustrator IS vector format.

                                   

                                  No. See above.

                                   

                                  Eps IS vector format.

                                   

                                  No. EPS is Encapsulated PostScript. PostScript is a page-description language. PostScript can describe pages which contain any combination of raster, vector, and/or text objects. An EPS's content may as easily be entirely raster as anything else.

                                   

                                  EPS is a meta-format. It's a "wrapper" or a "container" used to convey PostScript code to a printing device that understands the PostScript language.

                                   

                                  Pdf = Printer Description Format

                                   

                                  PDF. Portable Document Format.

                                   

                                   

                                  JET

                                  • 14. Re: Need to convert to vector format.
                                    medicineheads.no Community Member

                                    Be careful of over-eager nitpicking and over-information

                                     

                                    Dear JETal mage

                                     

                                    Thank you for your corrections.

                                    Ater reading this in the thread (did you read the thread?):

                                    > soshagayle7:

                                    > It must be difficult to convert from illustrator into a vector format since no one has a specific answer.

                                    > [Jongware]:

                                    > Unfortunately, no one can be told what the difference is. You have to see it for yourself.

                                     

                                    - I decided to try to give some simple answers. Not getting into details that would complicate matter.

                                    Thank you for complicating matter.

                                     

                                    Re: pdf

                                    Portable Document Format is what Adobe has named it.

                                    You forgot to mention:

                                    Page Description File

                                    Portable Display Format

                                    Printer Description File

                                    and many more

                                     

                                    Re: printing and resolution

                                    You are making a lot of "what ifs" I cannot see how that helps. As for xerox printing, I suggest you take a look at the resolutions here

                                    Most models have much higher resolution than 600x600 in order to print sharp letters and halftone images. If we ever meet I can discuss with you at length on the topic.

                                     

                                    As for:

                                    > I can give you a razor-sharp print of a line--of any length, any weight, and at any angle--using a single-pixel raster image?

                                     

                                    Now you lost me What is "razor-sharp" and what is "a single-pixel raster image"?

                                    Please come back to Earth.

                                    • 15. Re: Need to convert to vector format.
                                      SRiegel MVP

                                      soshagayle7 wrote:

                                       

                                      I googled it and pulled some photos from there.

                                      Not an answer to your original question, but

                                       

                                      If you are planning to reprint images you pulled from some else's web site, you may not be aware that you are probably violating copyright law.

                                       

                                      Please familiarize yourself with what consitutes legal use of images. They are many inexpensive sources of images (a few dollars apiece) that you could legally use. And if it must be vector, you could buy an illustration that was already done in vectors.

                                       

                                      http://webdesign.about.com/od/copyright/a/aa081700a.htm

                                      • 16. Re: Need to convert to vector format.
                                        JETalmage Community Member
                                        what is "a single-pixel raster image"?

                                         

                                        Open this PDF. Zoom into it. Print it. See if you can make it go jagged or "pixelated."

                                         

                                        The PDF contains nothing but a 1-pixel raster image.

                                         

                                        JET

                                        • 17. Re: Need to convert to vector format.
                                          JETalmage Community Member
                                          It must be difficult to convert from illustrator into a vector format since no one has a specific answer.

                                           

                                          Soshagayle7,

                                           

                                          There is no automagic "conversion" from a raster image to a vector graphic. The artwork represented by a raster image can be redrawn as vector artwork.

                                           

                                          You can re-draw the artwork using the vector drawing tools in Illustrator or any similar program. You can even import the raster image and use it as a guide while "tracing" it with vector paths.

                                           

                                          Or (and this is where the all-too-common misconception about "conversion" comes in)...

                                           

                                          You can use the autotrace feature which exists in Illustrator or any similar program to try to automate the process of "tracing" the raster image with vector paths.

                                           

                                          Either way, you end up with what would more accurately be called a "reinterpretation" of the subject, not a "conversion" of the raster image in the sense of "converting" one file format to another.

                                           

                                          And that's the key. All that most current autotrace features (including the one in Illustrator) do is detect color differences between pixels of a raster image based upon a user-specified sensitivity setting, and then try to draw vector paths which follow along those detected differences. It's very much a garbage-in-garbage-out process.

                                           

                                          And even when the "in" is not garbage, there is no real intelligence involved. The kind of autotrace algorithms in Illustrator and programs like it have no shape-recognition intelligence. For example, in the case of a human face, the autotrace feature doesn't know that the eyes' pupils are round; it just detects a region of similarly-colored pixels and tries to draw a path around them. Similarly, in the case of a geometric logo that obvously (to a human) is supposed to contain a perfect circle, the autotrace feature doesn't "see a circle"; it doesn't go and get the Ellipse tool and draw a circle that fits, as any human would do. Again, it just tries to follow around the regions of similarly-colored pixels.

                                           

                                          But that sounds okay, right? Well think about it. Imagine turning the sensitivity of such an algorithm way up to the max. What's going to be the most accurate autotracing of a raster image? The mathematically "most accurate" result would be a perfect vector square for each and every pixel in the image. And the "vector advantage" of that would be absolutely nill. The resolution-independence reason for preferring vector paths would be rendered moot. Such a graphic would be entirely vector, but to absolutely no advantage regarding scaleability. (Thus my comment about the line drawn with a 1-pixel raster image.)

                                           

                                          So the reason you haven't received an answer to the "how do I convert" question is because the same thing has been explained in this forum countless times, and to answer it correctly really requires a lengthy explanation (like this one) that tries to clear up the too-common misconception that autotracing is some kind of magic bullet for "converting" a raster image into a vector graphic in some kind of mathematically accurate way that then yields all the advantages of properly drawn vector graphics.

                                           

                                          Autotracing is useful to those who understand when it's appropriate and why. But without seeing or at least knowing more about the actual raster image you are dealing with, advising whether it's appropriate in your case is nothing but a guess. Generally speaking, if the image in question is not already of high enough resolution at the size at which it will be printed, then it's probably also not of high enough resolution for good auto-tracing results. And if it is of sufficient resolution for the size at which it will be printed, then there's probably no reason it needs to be vector.

                                           

                                          Bottom line: There's a good reason why vector graphics are preferred. But that means properly-drawn vector graphics. The best way to "convert" your raster image to a vector graphic is to re-draw it using the vector tools. The sometimes-acceptable but often sub-standard "cheat" for doing it is to import the graphic and apply the autotrace feature (called LiveTrace in Illustrator). It's use is explained in the online help.

                                           

                                          Autotracing--the "conversoin" that such questions are almost always talking about--is not a lossless translation, like converting quarts to gallons or binary to hexidecimal. Entropy always rules. Anytime something is automatically "reprocessed" something is lost, not gained. You see that in everything from repainting a room over and over without removing the old paint, to taking photographs of photographs of photographs. Degradation occurs. You swap one kind of ugliness for another. That's autotracing when used inappropriately.

                                           

                                          The drawing tools exist for a reason. If you really need vector paths, you should probably draw them.

                                           

                                          JET

                                          • 18. Re: Need to convert to vector format.
                                            rich storek

                                            I am impressed by your thorough explanation Jet!

                                            • 19. Re: Need to convert to vector format.
                                              [Jongware] MVP

                                              That's actually very clever! But it will be quite difficult to draw curves with

                                               

                                              Brandworks.no wrote:

                                              Portable Document Format is what Adobe has named it.

                                              You forgot to mention:

                                              ...

                                               

                                              Since Adobe is the inventor of PDFs, why don't you take their word for what it stands for?

                                              • 20. Re: Need to convert to vector format.
                                                medicineheads.no Community Member

                                                JETalmage wrote:

                                                 

                                                what is "a single-pixel raster image"?

                                                 

                                                Open this PDF. Zoom into it. Print it. See if you can make it go jagged or "pixelated."

                                                 

                                                The PDF contains nothing but a 1-pixel raster image.

                                                 

                                                JET

                                                 

                                                Hello again

                                                 

                                                1.

                                                From Wikipedia

                                                In computer graphics, a raster graphics image or bitmap is a data structure representing a generally rectangular grid of pixels... more

                                                 

                                                A "single picture raster image" is as such an oxymoron.

                                                 

                                                jet_pixel.png

                                                 

                                                2.

                                                Nothing but? Since we are precise:

                                                A PDF always contain several vector masks - your 1 bitmap "raster" image is no exception. (not that it matters in your example)

                                                 

                                                3.

                                                As a demonstration this is fun, but not really practical. (34318,699 %)

                                                 

                                                Cheers

                                                • 21. Re: Need to convert to vector format.
                                                  JETalmage Community Member

                                                  What? You just want to argue?

                                                   

                                                  In computer graphics, a raster graphics image or bitmap is a data structure representing a generally rectangular grid of pixels...

                                                   

                                                  So you're actually arguing that the single pixel raster file used probably millions of times every day to create spacing on web pages is not a raster image?

                                                   

                                                   

                                                  A "single picture raster image" is as such an oxymoron.

                                                   

                                                  Didn't say anything about a "single picture raster image." I said single-pixel raster image--which is indeed a raster image, like it or not.

                                                   

                                                  JET