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  • Help with bitmap to vector conversion

    Hello all -

    I just joined GDF and look forward to learning and sharing some knowledge. I am a hobbyist but have a technical background and hope someone can help me.

    I have a photo in JPG format that I need to convert to a vector graphic to later produce a paint stencil with. The image is fairly simple. Correct me if I'm wrong but from what I have learned so far I first need to get the image into two colors, (preferably black and while) and then use something like the live trace feature in Illustrator to convert to vector art. The problem I have is converting the image to black and white (no greyscale) cleanly. Using paint bucket in Photoshop the image gets slightly larger despite the fact I have tolerance level turned down. Is there a better way to do this?

    Of course I'd be interested to know if there's a simpler method of going from my image to vector form. Appreciate any advice you have here. Also note the area I am trying to convert to vector is only the outer text and graphics, not the clock face in the center.


    Click image for larger version

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  • #2
    I'm going to skip the vectorizing part for a minutet and go right to the stencil part.
    Are you actually cutting a stencil like out of vellum?
    Or a vinyl paint mask?
    If the first, all of your counters have to be legged. Kinda ruins the look most times.

    Live trace is garbage. Creating outlines in Photoshop, even if you get a clean BW conversion is usually even worse.
    Using Illustrator and it's tools, this is about 1 hour of work to trace, without any of the shading in the watch hands.

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    • #3
      You don't need to rework the image before tracing.

      That said, you may become even more frustrated when you encounter the result of Image Trace. the only correct way to get this into vectors is a competent manual trace with the Pen tool.
      I'd rather be killed than come to your party, but if you don't invite me, I'll kill myself.

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      • #4
        Thanks for the responses. The paint mask will be vinyl. The work I am focused on only entails the “Wurlitzer Music” text and graphics around the outer perimeter. I am not very good with free hand tracing. Is there a mode in Illustrator I can use that will follow the edges while I guide the pen?

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        • #5
          So you don't have to completely "hand redraw" everything. Other than the music note character s on the sides and the clock hands. (that is if you have the typeface). The rest is just creating type on paths, circles, lines, some cutting of paths perhaps and using the pathfinder.

          Sure, it would take time, but someone who is decent in Illustrator should be able to redo it fairly easy (if they have the typeface …) and if there is a enough detail in those music note character things on the side.
          __________________________________________________
          I like to beat up pacifists, because they don't fight back ...

          N.A.N.K.A. "We Kick Because We Care."

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          • #6
            Thanks Craig - I'd really like to learn this and be more proficient in Illustrator. Is there a good entry-level tutorial that covers the procedures/functions you described?

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            • #7
              I don't know of any tutorials. I've been using Illustrator for 15+ years. Most of it is practice and "playing" with it. There are probably type on a path tutorials, that may help you, since that could be a little more "difficult" to figure out. But other than the double lined arcs near "Music" on the bottom, the rest is pretty straight circle tool, pen tool, fonts, etc. For the arcs, I'd draw full circles and then using the scissor tool to cut the circle to make the arcs and delete the left over full circle segment you no longer want.
              __________________________________________________
              I like to beat up pacifists, because they don't fight back ...

              N.A.N.K.A. "We Kick Because We Care."

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              • #8
                The other thing with something like this, is if you ask 5 designers, they'd probably have 5 different ways of doing things. Everyone has their own quirks, techniques, approaches, etc. so finding a tutorial that covers something like this will be hard to find. if you really want to improve at illustrator, redrawing things, such as this mark, is a good way to do it.
                __________________________________________________
                I like to beat up pacifists, because they don't fight back ...

                N.A.N.K.A. "We Kick Because We Care."

                Comment


                • #9
                  The fact that this will be a paint mask and really just needs clean shapes with no regard for color palette I'd assume would be an easier task than taking a full color JPG image and performing the same type conversion to blow up to poster size? I'm interested in the process to do both but comparatively I thought the Wurlitzer clock would be an easier task.

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