Are you interested in vector conversion? Sometimes, it is called convert image to vector, but they mean the same thing. Read this guide to learn how to vectorize an image to all types of vector files. Convert raster to vector to gain the benefits of vector images like infinite scalability and small file size. 

Let’s start with what exactly vector conversion is. 

What is Vector Conversion?

Vector conversion is the process of converting raster images into vector formats. At this point, you might be thinking, what are raster and vector? Let’s get a brief overview of each image format. 

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Raster Images

Raster graphics, also known as bitmap graphics, create a two-dimensional (2D) picture as a grid of pixels. 

The vast majority of digital images out there are raster images, from the photos clicked on smartphones to GIFs shared on social media.

Common Raster File Types:

  • JPG
  • PNG
  • TIFF
  • GIF


JPG, also known as JPEG, stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group and is the most common raster image format. The JPG format is perfect for storing photographs on smartphones and digital cameras due to their small size. 


PNG, expanded to Portable Network Graphics, is another popular raster image format. It supports transparency and lossless data compression and has 16 million colors. As a result, PNG is extremely popular in the field of web graphics. 


TIFF, expanded to Tag Image File Format, is a raster graphic format used by photographers, graphic designers, and the publishing industry. The main benefit of the TIFF format is that it offers compression-less image storage. As a result, users can expect maximum image quality, with the caveat that the file size also increases.


Graphics Interchange Format, shortened to GIF, is a popular raster image format for animated images. GIFs offer lossless compression and are popularly used for small animations and low-res video clips for sharing on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.  

Vector Images 

The vector file format stores image data in a different way. Instead of using pixels like raster images, vector graphics stores objects with elements. Each element can contain lines, curves, text, shapes, and much more. 

The objects in vector files are defined as mathematical coordinates, which results in scaling without quality loss. Therefore, vector graphics are suitable for applications requiring very small or large resolutions. For example, billboards need extremely large images, so vector graphics suit them. 

Common Vector File Types:

  • SVG
  • EPS
  • AI


SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphics and is a popular vector file type. The SVG file can be scaled without quality loss. Furthermore, SVG files allow three types of graphics; shapes, bitmap images, and text. 


EPS, short for Encapsulated PostScript, is a vector file format used in the professional printing industry. For example, EPS files are used to print large posters, billboards, and other attention-grabbing marketing materials. 


Adobe Illustrator Artwork (AI) is a proprietary vector file format developed by Adobe Inc. The Adobe Illustrator program uses the .ai file extension to save vector-based drawings. 

Now that you know what raster and vector file formats are, let us move on to why vector conversion is important.

Why Convert Image to Vector?

Vector graphics have many advantages for specific industries. Why should you convert picture to vector? 

Convert an image to vector to get your pictures in vector format. As a result, you will get scalable images with zero quality loss. You can use the same design file (in vector format) for large projects like billboards and posters and small projects like business cards and merchandise. 

Furthermore, if you convert your photo to vector, you will have easy-to-edit graphics to change in the future. Also, your vector file will be infinitely scalable with small file sizes. 

Benefits of Vector Conversion

What are the benefits of image-to-vector conversion? 

There are many benefits of converting your pictures to vector format. They include:

  • Infinite Resolution – Scale your vector graphics at will.
  • Lightweight – Vector files take less space than raster formats.
  • Easy to Manipulate – Designers can make precise edits while preserving quality.
  • Simple Conversion to Other Formats – Vector to raster or other vector conversions are easy.

Benefits of Vector Conversion for Businesses

Businesses get the following benefits from converting pictures to vectors:

  • Convert Old Logo into Vector.
  • Convert hand-drawn images into vectorized graphics.
  • Save printing costs by minimizing the color used during printing. 
  • Create business promotional materials like business cards, shirts, mugs, and signs.

Benefits of Vector Conversion for Professionals

Professional artists can use vector conversion to create the following:

  • Logos
  • Digital Illustrations 
  • Website Mockups
  • Laser Engravings
  • Website Assets (Banners, Buttons, CTAs)

Types of Vector Conversion

Wondering how many types of image-to-vector conversions there are? You can convert picture to vector for basically any type of vector format. 

There are many vector conversion tools available online. So, you can do the conversion yourself, or get professional vector conversion services

There are many types of vector conversions, including (but not limited to): 

  • JPG to Vector
  • PNG to Vector
  • GIF to Vector
  • BMP to Vector
  • PSD to Vector
  • PDF to Vector
  • TIFF to Vector

JPG to Vector Conversion

Convert your JPG image file to a vector format for a higher-quality photo. You can convert your JPG file to vector formats like PDF and SVG using online conversion tools or manually using Illustrator. 

PNG to Vector Conversion

Easily convert your PNG image files to vector format with better image quality. A PNG file can be converted to the vector format of your choice. So, you will be able to use the vector file in advanced applications. 

GIF to Vector Conversion

GIFs are typically raster files containing short animations and video files. You can convert GIFs to some vector formats like SVG. SVG graphics supports animated and interactive graphics. Thus, GIF to SVG conversion is a popular way of converting raster to vector. 

BMP to Vector Conversion

Convert BMP to Vector for high-quality images. BMP files are the native format for Windows, meaning photos saved in Windows may be in BMP. As a result, it is desirable to convert BMP to the vector format of your choice. For example, if you need to use the images in CAD programs, you could convert them to DWG (AutoCAD) or DXF. 

PSD to Vector Conversion

Convert PSD to Vector Format like SVG for use in programs like Illustrator and Inkscape. PSD stands for Photoshop Document, which Adobe Photoshop uses. You can simply export the PSD file as SVG so you can use the vectorized image in Illustrator.

PDF to Vector Conversion

Want to vectorize your PDF files? Converting your PDFs to vectors reduces the file size and makes them more scalable. 

However, PDFs are usually vector files by default. You can check that by zooming in the PDF to larger than 400%. If the PDF becomes pixelated, then it is not a vector. In that case, you must convert it to vector to avail the benefits of vector images. 

TIFF to Vector Conversion

Easily convert your TIFF files to vector file types like DWG and DXF. 

TIFF stores richer and more detailed information. So, you need to ensure that the vectorized image holds the same (or more) detail. 

History of Vector Graphics

Soon after the invention of the computer in the 1940s, graphic design pioneers started working on creating high-quality digital images with crisp lines and shapes. As a result, vector graphics emerged as the best choice due to their scalability and small size. 

Vector graphics and art has been widely used since then. Some of the uses of vector graphics include web design, art, illustrations, and print marketing.

The variety of vector file types has increased over the years as the popularity of vector graphics has risen. Thus, in 1999, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) adopted a standard vector file format known as the Scalable Vector Graphic (SVG). 

What is the Future of Vector Conversion?

In the future, you can expect automatic vector conversion tools to become better. Currently, manual tracing is still needed for complex images. Automated tools need to do a better job of converting more complicated raster images. 

With advancements in photo editing technology using artificial intelligence (AI), vector conversion will become a simple and accurate process. As a result, you will easily convert your picture to raster with the click of a button using AI-powered tools. 

Vector Conversion Skills

What skills should a photo editor have to convert raster to vector? Firstly, they should be fluent in vector art applications like Adobe Illustrator. Converting picture to vector using Illustrator is the best option for professionals.

Some of the Vector Conversion Skills a Photo Editor Should Have Include:

  • Cropping
  • Using Layers
  • Color Matching 
  • Free-style Drawing And Editing
  • Extract the Exact Position And Dimension
  • Creating Basic Shapes Like Lines, Arrows, Polygons, And Curvatures

Vector Conversion Tools

What photo editing software should you use for converting image to vector? There are many tools out there that help professionals. First, the full-fledged raster-to-vector conversion software is suitable for advanced work. Finally, online vector conversion tools exist to help amateurs do the conversion automatically.

Raster-to-Vector Conversion Software

  • CorelDRAW (Windows)
  • Adobe Illustrator (Windows, macOS)
  • Inkscape (Windows, macOS, Linux)
  • ImageTracer (Cross-platform, JavaScript Based)
  • Scan2CAD (Windows, macOS)

Online Vector Converters (Web Based):

  • Autotracer
  • Vector Magic
  • Vectorizer
  • Convertio

How To Convert Image to Vector in Adobe Illustrator?

Professionals use various image file types for different purposes. For example, a professional in printing and billboard advertising will often use vectors due to scalability and high quality. Thus, if you work with vector graphics, you must know how to convert raster images to vector format. This vector conversion guide gives you a step-by-step process to convert image to vector. So, you will be able to vectorize images with confidence. 

Vector Conversion Step-by-Step Process

Convert image to vector in just eight steps! They are: 

  1. Open Adobe Illustrator
  2. Insert the Raster Image you Want to Convert
  3. Select an Image Trace Preset
  4. Vectorize Your Image Using Image Trace
  5. Fine-Tune the Traced Image
  6. Ungroup Colors
  7. Edit the Vectorized Image
  8. Save the Vectorized Image

Let’s explore each vector conversion step in more detail.

Step 1: Open Adobe Illustrator

Illustrator is one of the most versatile tools for converting raster to image. Double-click on the icon to open Illustrator and start a new project. 

Step 2: Insert the Raster Image you Want to Convert

The raster image can be in any format like JPG, PNG, or GIF. However, keep in mind that larger-size images will take longer to edit. 

Step 3: Select an Image Trace Preset

Illustrator provides an Image Trace Panel that helps to convert image to vector. Click Window, then select Image Trace. There are 11 tracing presets available in Illustrator, which include:

  • High Fidelity and Low Fidelity
  • 3 Colors, 6 Colors, 16 Colors
  • Shades of Gray
  • Black and White Logo
  • Sketched Art
  • Silhouettes
  • Line Art
  • Technical Drawing

Broadly speaking, you must select the preset that best suits your requirements.

Step 4: Vectorize Your Image Using Image Trace

Once you have chosen your image trace preset and adjusted other settings, click the button to vectorize the image. For basic images, this might be all you need to do! However, you will need to fine-tune the vectorized image for more advanced images.

Step 5: Fine-Tune the Traced Image

You can fine-tune the traced image by adjusting between color, grayscale, and black and white. Furthermore, you can simplify or add more detail to the vector image by dragging the Colors slider. 

If you’re happy with the settings and want to reuse them in the future, you can save them as a new Preset. Click “Manage Presets” next to the Presets option to save it. 

Step 6: Ungroup Colors

Separate the color groups in the vector image so you can edit them further. 

Select the traced image and click on “Expand” at the top of the window. 

You should now see the shapes outlined in blue. So, you can right-click and ungroup the shapes.

Step 7: Edit the Vectorized Image

The vector conversion is completed! Now, you have free rein to edit your image as you wish. 

For example, you can select and delete/modify shapes to make them look more accurate. 

Step 8: Save the Vectorized Image

Once you are satisfied with the result, you can save the vectorized image. 

Click on File -> Export -> Export As. 

Then, you can choose the file format you want to export your vector image. Common vector file types are SVG, AI, PDF, and more. 

The vector conversion is complete! Good job, you can now easily convert raster to image using Illustrator!


Now you know about vectors, vector file types, the benefits of vector files, and how to convert raster to vector. You are prepared to convert image to vector for your digital illustrations, complex graphics, and logos. 

Thank you for reading this vector conversion guide! I hope you enjoyed the content while also learning something new. Please let me know in the comments section below if you have any questions. 

Vector Conversion FAQs

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about converting images to vector graphics. 

How do I convert an image to vector?

You can convert raster to vector using Adobe Illustrator. Use the Image Trace Preset to help do a lot of the work. Please read the detailed section above to get all the steps. Just remember to export the file in a vector format.

How much does it cost to vectorize an image?

Vector conversion costs nothing if you do it yourself! However, if you hire an expert, vector conversions will cost between $10 – $50.

How do I vectorize an image quickly?

The fastest method to vectorize an image is using the Image Trace feature in Illustrator. Just ensure you choose the High Fidelity Preset to get the best conversion.

Can a photo be turned into a vector?

Yes, you can turn your photos into vector graphics! Your photographs are in raster format, so converting them to vector will help you get an artsy effect.

What raster image formats can be turned into vectors?

Raster image formats include .jpg, .png, .gif, .pdf, and .psd. You can convert these into any vector format including, eps, .ai, .svg, and .pdf.

This page was last edited on 7 February 2023, at 1:04 pm