How do I convert a JPEG to Vector?

Converting Logos and Text

There are 2 methods to convert a JPEG to vector format.
1. Manually redrawing using the Pen tool or graphics pen. Unless you have experience with this method then it will be very difficult to do as it can take some time to learn. So it would be best to use an online vector conversion service, as it can be redrawn to a high quality vector very quickly and usually at low cost. There are plenty to choose from, although results may vary depending on the artists experience.

2. Using auto-tracing software. Very quick and most vector editing programs have  a built in auto-tracing function, such as Image Trace in Adobe Illustrator also CorelDraw. There are also some online auto-tracing services such as Vector Magic.

Although auto-traced results are usually not as good as manual conversions, but will depend on what the uses are for the final vector image.

Original Version

In our experience nearly all jpg or raster logos are better suited to being manually redrawn.

Autotraced

Notice how the sharp corners have been rounded off and also the smooth flowing curves within the flame are appearing a bit jagged and distorted. When you consider how important a company logo is to any business, it would be worth paying to have it manually redrawn.

Manually traced image

This manually redrawn version is an exact replica of the original, without any defects like the autotraced version. As a logo could be used on a large banner or vehicle graphics then any small irregularities will be magnified and look unprofessional.

TRACING IMAGES WITH GRADIENT COLOURS

Original

It won’t be possible to replicate a logo using autotrace that contains gradient effects. Autotracing will only produce solid flat colours. Although sometimes you can use this to your advantage to create some nice effects such as the image below.

Autotraced

The autotraced version showing the previous gradient shading now broken up into solid blocks of flat colour.

Manually traced

Using gradient effects you can replicate the original version exactly. Although a gradient effect is not technically a vector, it’s a raster effect. But it will appear like a vector and can be scalable to any size and remain sharp.

Tracing Organic or non linear images

Original JPEG

Providing the image quality is a good enough resolution, then it will usually be better to autotrace images that are more organic without any straight lines, such as the examples below. Especially if the image is a single colour.

Autotraced version

It would be hard to tell any difference between the autotraced version and the original. So there would be no point in redrawing images like this manually, as it will take quite a bit of time to do and won’t end up being any better than the autotraced version.
Text will very rarely be suitable for autotracing. But for rough, organic style text then it can often work. Assuming the image resolution is high enough.

So to summarise, both have advantages and disadvantages. In our experience, most images finish up better if manually redrawn, especially logos, but there are some occasions where it will be more beneficial to autotrace.

If you would like us to redraw your logo then please send your artwork for a free quote.