Vectorizing Options for Photographs

and photo-like images with soft blends, color gradients and continuous tones

Vector programs are drawing programs so converting a photograph into vector format means making a drawing of the photo.

If your original file is a photograph or a full color image with many color blends, you will need to choose the vectorization option that will allow the new vector file to be suitable for the process it is intended for.


Original photo before vectorization

  Original raster photo
Photograph vectorized using a vector program tracing tool

  1. AUTO-Traced Vector Image. With a multitude of colors, it maintains the closest appearance to the original. NOT suitable for all processes. More...
     
Mouse-drawn vector lineart image using a limited amount of spot colors  
2. MANUAL Vector Illustration.

Can use a limited amount of colors. Without raster effects like color gradients and blends halftones or color blends, this file will be suitable for all processes. More...
     
manually drawn vector black and white lineart  

3. MANUAL Vector Line Art
.
100% black and white.
Suitable for all processes.
See more Samples

See vectorizing color blends

Which type of vector image does your supplier require? send them a link of this page to verify!

What kind of vector file do I need?

The type of vector file that you need depends on what your supplier requires. Below are some samples but you should really talk to your supplier first to make sure you will be selecting the most appropriate vectorization:

Printing on shirts using CMYK, Digital, Direct-to-Garment printing:

Any vectorization format; can include raster effects such as color gradients and blends, shadows, highlights and a multitude of colors. These suppliers do not really need vector graphics but oftentimes request a vector file if the original image is of poor quality or needs to be scaled up.

Printing on shirts using SPOT color separations:

Color Vector illustration with or without raster effects. Number of colors in file will usually need to be limited.

Vinyl-cut signs:

Vector illustration using 100% vectors (no raster effects of any kind such as color gradients, shadows) Number of colors in file will usually need to be limited.

Specialty & promotional items such as Mugs, Bottles, Pens, Frisbees:

Vector illustration using 100% vectors (no raster effects of any kind such as color gradients, shadows) Number of colors in file will usually need to be limited.

Engraving:

Vector line art; 100% vectors, no colors; black and white image.