It is possible to convert a JPEG or any other pixel-based raster image into a vector drawing using software capable of tracing. Users can also convert images manually using photo editing software, although this is a time-consuming process.
Unlike raster images, such as JPEGs, that store and display data as pixels, vector images use mathematical formulas. Hence, they are smaller in size, yet maintain sharp edges even when scaled up. Most professional vector drawing applications offer users the ability to automatically convert raster images to vector drawings.
Adobe Illustrator users can use the software's "Live Trace" feature to quickly trace an existing JPEG image using several steps:
- Open or place a JPEG image into Illustrator.
- Select the image and use one of the tracing presets under the "Tracing Presets and Options" button in the control panel.
- Alternatively, use the default tracing options by clicking "Live Trace" in the control panel.
- Make any adjustments to the results.
- Save or export the final results as a vector image.
Although Adobe Illustrator is an industry leading application, other choices exist. CorelDRAW is another paid option that also includes the ability to trace vector lines from raster images. Inkscape is a leading open source vector editing program that is available free of charge.