Tips on Creating a Vector File
In Laser cutting, a vector file is the ideal file format for your artworks. Vector graphics are the ideal format for use in logos, images, or simple illustrations because they have clear lines and contours. Because they are created using equations instead of pixels, they can be rescaled to any size without losing clarity. Vector images are often used in graphic design, website design, and commercial marketing. While most vector images are created from scratch, you can use image editing programs to “trace” JPG images and convert them to vectors.
Here are ways to create a Vector File:
- Open Adobe Illustrator. Adobe Illustrator is a professional image creation program, and is the easiest way to create vector images from JPG files. If you don’t have access to Illustrator, see the next section for instructions on using the free GIMP and Inkscape utilities.
- Switch to the “Tracing” workspace. You can do this by clicking the menu in the upper-right corner and selecting “Tracing.” You’ll see the “Image Trace” panel appear.
- Add the JPG image that you want to convert to your artboard. You can do this from the File menu or by dragging and dropping the file.
- Select the image on your artboard. The tracing options in the Image Trace panel will become active.
- Check the “Preview” box in the Image Trace panel. This will allow you to see what the different settings will do before applying them, but it will increase the time between making changes.
- Try one of the presets in the Image Trace panel. There are five preset buttons along the top of the panel, and more presets available in the drop-down menu. The top row of buttons include the following presets:
- Auto Color – Creates a stylized set of colors based on the original colors.
- High Color – Attempts to recreate all of the original colors.
- Low Color – Creates a simplified version of the original colors.
- Grayscale – Replaces colors with shades of gray.
- Black and White – Reduces colors to black and white.
- Use the color slider to adjust color complexity. Images converted to vectors don’t usually show well with all of their natural colors, so you’ll get a better result by reducing the number of colors used. This will lead to a “flatter” look for the image.
- Expand the “Advanced” section of the Image Trace panel. This will reveal more detailed controls for the trace.
- Use the “Paths” slider to adjust how close the path follows the pixels. Moving the slider to the left makes the paths looser, while sliding it to the right makes the paths tighter. A looser path will lead to smoother edges.
- Use the “Corners” slider to adjust how rounded your corners will be. Moving the slider to the left will make the corners rounder, which will lead to a smoother
- Use the “Noise” slider to reduce bleeds. The Noise slider determines what groupings of pixels are considered “noise” and not included in the trace. This can help straighten lines and smooth out rough spots.
- Click “Trace” when you’re satisfied. Illustrator will then perform the tracing action, which may take a few moments to complete.
- Click the “Expand” button. This will convert your tracing object into actual vector paths, and will replace your JPG image with the vector.
- Export the image as a vector file. Once you’re finished with the tracing, you can export the finished image as a vector file.
- Click the File or Illustrator menu and select “Save As.”
- Save a copy as an .ai file. This will let you easily re-open the file in Illustrator and make more edits.
- Select a vector format from the “Save As Type” menu. These include SVG (webpage) and PDF (print).
- Do not save the file as PNG or JPG, as these are not vector formats.
We hope these steps helps you when creating logos, images, or simple illustrations. For more information about laser cutting, enquire within.