Review of Manual vs. Automated Raster to Vector Conversion


Images that we view in our day-to-day life are either in raster or in vector format. Photo resolution is a massive issue in raster images as it gets pixelated when it is zoomed in and loses its natural quality. That’s why it must be converted into a vector to retain the quality. A vector image is free from pixelation and is dependent on lines which lets the image retain its original form.

Images bear great importance in today’s modern world as they can influence people’s minds emphatically. People are fond of high-grade visuals instinctively and that’s why it is crystal clear that products with images get rapid sales online. Additionally, content having superior images draw the clients’ attention quickly as these illustrate the content. However, inferior content or product quality can backfire in grabbing the customer’s attention.

Raster Image: Raster/Bitmap images are mainly composed of colored pixels containing tiny squares that combine to form images. As it is a pixel-based format, it gets distorted when zoomed in. When a raster image is blown up, the small squares get visible as the image gets blurry.

To get a crystal clear photo, the scalability of the photo must be minimized. Normally, .jpg, .gif, .bmp, and jpeg are file types of raster images. All the digital images captured by the camera are raster images. Raster graphics software includes Adobe Photoshop, GIMP, etc.

Vector Image: On the other hand, vector images are mainly based on paths, and parallel lines either straight or curved which are drawn using vector software. Unlike a raster image, vector images are resolution-independent. If the vector image is enlarged, the quality of the image remains intact as it is infinitely scalable.

Normally, .pdf, .ai, .eps, and .svg, are the file types of vector images. For example, logos, artwork, illustrations, and engraving are the best for vector images. Adobe Illustrator, InkScape, etc. are used for vector graphics.

Raster to Vector Conversion: Raster to vector conversion is leveraged to maintain the high- quality of an image. Under this process, logos and artwork are vectorized using various software. However, professional image manipulators utilize Adobe Illustrator to carry out the raster-to-vector conversion. This method is employed to optimize the image on banners, billboards, wrappers, t-shirts, architectural designs, business cards, etc.

Brochure is the best example where both vector and raster images are found as it contains the logo of the company which is a vector image and it can also have a digital image of a human being which is a raster image. Many companies look for this service to use the image for 2D, 3D, and CAD design and maintain the maximum quality. There are several advantages of R2V conversion like easy editing and resizing, easy printing, smooth animation, presentation, etc.

Manual vs. Automated Raster to Vector Conversion

Raster images can be converted into vector images both manually and with automated vectorization software. However, the output resulting from automated software and manual software is like chalk and cheese. With manual software especially Adobe Illustrator, the output turns out to be supreme and flawless whereas automated software converts the raster image retaining flaws and distortion.

In manual vectorization, the pen tool from Adobe Illustrator is used to draw over the image by hand. You can either use a mouse to draw over every line or avail a tablet and graphics pen to draw over the raster image. On the other hand, in automated vectorization, auto-tracing software is used to convert raster images into vector images.

Automated vectorization software identifies the lines and edges of a raster image and redraws it as a vector image. Earlier, only manual software was at your disposal to vectorize raster images but now various automated tools are also available even though there are question marks on the output of these types of automated software.

We would always recommend and endorse using manual vectorization software such as Adobe Illustrator to derive maximum quality and gratification.

Advantages of Manual Software over Automated Software

Ensures Optimum Quality: Quality is a major factor in raster-to vector conversion. Unlike automated tracing, manual tracing allows you to view the raster image and from that, you can decide what the image represents. If you have a tea-stained hand-drawn design, due to your understanding of the image, you can easily conclude where to draw the lines and convert the raster image into a vector with maximum quality. However, automated software has a limitation to detect these minute details.

Allows Proper Comprehension: Even though automated vectorization software is efficient in processing, it lacks an understanding of a raster image thoroughly. On the contrary, a human brain with a required knack can identify the areas where lines have to be drawn as discussed earlier.

Even if the outlines are smudged and blurry, a skilled image editor can flawlessly draw the lines which give a clear advantage over an automated raster to vector converter.

Customizable on Any Kind of Raster Image: Unlike automated software, manual software can be used in any type of image to vectorize. Normally, if you convert a raster image into a vector with an automated tracing tool, the quality of the output will depend on various factors right as color, to the contrast between the color, size, etc.

However, a manual tracing tool enables you to vectorize the raster image maintaining supreme quality regardless of color, contrast, and size.

Let’s analyze whether manual vectorization software is actually better and worth utilizing. We have used 2 raster images to vectorize both with manual and automated software.

For automatic software, we have preferred using Autotracer, Vector Magic, and Vectorizer. However, for manual software, we have used the professional software Adobe Illustrator.

Autotracer 1

Raster to Vector Conversion with Autotracer (Automated)


Vextractor 1

Raster to Vector Conversion with Vextractor (Automated)


Vectorizer 1

Raster to Vector Conversion with Vectorizer (Automated)


Manual 1

Raster to Vector Conversion (Manual)


In the above images, the first 3 images were vectorized with automated tools and you can clearly observe that the output quality is below the mark with blurriness and distortion.

On the contrary, the 4th image was vectorized manually with the help of a pen tool from Adobe Illustrator which resulted in superior and flawless vectorized graphics.

Autoracer 2

Raster to Vector Conversion with Autotracer (Automated)


Vextractor 2

Raster to Vector Conversion with Vextractor (Automated)


Vectorizer 2

Raster to Vector Conversion with Vectorizer (Automated)


Manual 2

Raster to Vector conversion (Manual)

Likewise, another raster image was converted into a vector to substantiate the fact that the manual method of vectorization is far superior as opposed to the automated method.

You can easily notice that the 1st 3 images display a substandard appearance full of haziness and roughness. However, the last image exhibits high quality with sharpness as well as aesthetics and creates a sense of satisfaction.

So, what are you thinking about? Never compromise on quality. Take advantage of professional raster to vector conversion services and standardize your raster images. Avail these images to whatever dimension you wish. Bear in mind, vector images retain their top-notch quality no matter what the scale is. You can also visit our previous article on Manual vs. Automated Photo Editing Tools for further information.


Color Experts International, Inc. is a world-renowned photo retouching service provider operating globally for more than 3 decades. Professional raster to vector conversion is one of the on-demand services that we regularly provide to our clients. We have over 250 professional photo manipulators who are well-versed in vectorizing raster images manually availing pen tool with Adobe Illustrator.

So far, we have accomplished thousands of projects successfully. With our massive experience, we have learned what our invaluable clients want from us. We are active 24/7 and well-known for meeting the deadline. Over the last years, we worked with some of the reputed brands like Adidas, Nike, and Puma and built strong trust and rapport with them. If you require any kind of assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us through our e-mail. For more information, kindly visit our website.