Smooth lines but keep clarity

Hi guys, I am such an amateur compared to you guys so please forgive me for this rookie question, I have a logo that I have recently decided to change the colours on, my original logo had black lines separating each colour, but I removed them wanting each colour to go into the next, unfortunately though this has made all curved lines look bumpy and spiky, how would you guys go about smoothing the lines but at the same time keeping the image sharp, what programs etc, I have paint (I know) and Gimp?

Thank you in advance…

Do you know the difference between raster and vector images?

Raster images are composed of pixels. If you enlarge a raster image, you can see the individual pixels. Every pixel is independent of all the other pixels.

Vector images are composed of mathematical instructions that draw the images as lines, shapes, and fills. If you enlarge a vector image, the image is automatically redrawn to be sharp at that larger size.

The image you’re working with is a raster image. GIMP and Paint are software applications used to work with the pixels in raster images. Consequently, maintaining sharp edges is difficult when you alter the individual pixels.

Images of the type you’ve shown should be drawn and edited using vector software. As I mentioned, vector software doesn’t use pixels as the basis of the drawing. Instead, vector software would treat the lines and edges as mathematically drawn paths that can be altered and reshaped while retaining the sharpness and smoothness you want.

You’re using free raster software (Paint and GIMP). The free vector software equivalent is Inkscape. However, you can’t take raster images and open them in vector software. The image must originate in a vector drawing app.

What I’ve written above is an oversimplification. Still, my main point is that you’re working with a raster image using raster editing software and running into the type of pixel-by-pixel problems to be expected. Experienced designers would redraw the image as a vector image, where the problem you’re running into would not occur.

Both raster and vector images have their place. Photographs, for example, are always raster images. The type of image you’ve posted should always be vector. It’s probably worth noting that professional designers would be unlikely to use Paint, GIMP, or Inkscape — they would use more professional quality software tools, such as Adobe Photoshop (raster) and Adobe Illustrator (vector) or other similar software tools that aren’t free.


Thank you for such a clear and concise explanation on the different types of images, going forward I will invest in vector software for sure and dispense with those pesky pixels, but for now, what would you recommend I do?

Would converting the file to vector be of any help?

I’m tempted to just pay someone on ** contest site removed ** to do it for me, but don’t want to pay only to find out that the desired result isn’t possible…

This is what you need to do if you want sharp edges. Converting from raster to vector is problematic, however. It may be quicker to redraw the thing. Don’t panic, it may be easier than you think.

Without seeing the whole image it is difficult to judge, but it looks like a set of outlines around a shape (text?). In this case, use layers. Set the shape itself with zero stroke. Copy the shape to a layer underneath and set a stroke in purple to give you the thickness you want. Then copy the shape again and set a pale blue stroke twice that thickness. Repeat for the green, yellow, etc strokes, each on a layer below the one before.

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StudioMonkey, while that works, and we are dealing with a newbie here, making a logo that way is exactly why we now charge a low 3-figure set-up charge when doing any kind of cut vinyl or 3D sign work.

Later, when the OP has gotten some sort of education, they may find (or not…sigh) that they should Offset the path and stack colors one over the other rather than use stroked outlines. There should never be any stroke thickness, crossing lines, white blocks or live text in a locked up logo. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen all of that recently.

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Thank you for your reply, which program should I invest in?

I hear that you can convert rastor to vector with Adobe Illustrator?

I am totally rubbish so warrant your exasperated tone, if I just wanted to pay someone to smooth my image, what service should I ask them to perform to achieve the best result?

You aren’t rubbish. You’re new. Eventually you will learn. Can’t know everything all at once.

Illustrator can convert raster to vector…
It isn’t perfect. You may spend more time cleaning up the result than it would take to learn to use the drawing tools to create from scratch.
Tracing is one of the first skills students do to learn Illustrator, especially how to control the pen tool, but also when to use welded shapes and path offsets and ultimately the appearance palette, rather than trying to do everything by hand.
There are some online things that vectorize, with the same caveat.

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Quite right - one step more in Illustrator will offset the paths and convert the border to filled shapes. I’m afraid I’m used to skipping that step and doing it all in InDesign, which can’t offset paths. But then, I’m not sending my work out. If I was I would do it the proper way. (The old Quick Way > Correct Way dilemma)

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No, it’s not a “conversion,” it’s a trace routine that approximates vector paths based on color-value-differentiated interpretation of the raster image. At best, it’s imperfect, and in many cases, only offers a result that delivers no advantage over the original raster image. In a case (like the example you posted, partially), where the raster image contains mostly simple, solid-colored shapes, a manual trace or free redraw using Bezier drawing tools (in Illustrator or any full-featured vector drawing application), is a superior solution.


If you cannot afford Adobe, I suggest Affinity apps. The suite of apps features Affinity Designer (similar to Illustrator) Photos (similar to Photoshop) and Publisher (similar to InDesign.) I’m retired and therefore don’t want to keep sending Adobe over $700 per year for their Creative Suite products. Affinity apps work great for me at a much lower cost for the few jobs I create each year.

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I will learn, this has motivated me!! From memory (they’re redoing their website presently) the company I send designs to print only accepts JPG and PNG, will this cause me issues if I’m working with vector files from now on, do you lose any quality converting from vector to rastor/png etc?

That’s a good tip thank you!!

Because I’m pushed for time and am fundamentally a lazy person i took a look at ** contest site removed ** for this service, there were lots of ads like this: " I will vector tracing, logo images, or raster convert to vector" or “I will convert raster to vector image logo redraw or tracing any image” and they all start at £5 which is crazily cheap, will they do the job?

Those sites should not be encouraged. It’s a small step from what you are asking, to, can you design my brand for $50. It’s just a race to the bottom. Everyone loses.

I’d rather do it for free than see those sites patronised.

I’m not at all a fan of places that only print from .jpg format and think very little of sites that print from .png (though the more I get hit with those in my own job, the less I care.) I actually do use a quick print trade-only banner company on occasion (not for real clients, just when boss or other work mates want a banner for kid’s birthday or other event.) But at least that one takes .pdf.

Hey I appreciate the offer thank you! I’m not sure I understand your objection to the censored site, it’s a buyers market but you also get what you pay for, I have on occasions gone for the more budget option, whilst their skills are adequate the language barrier is on occasions infuriating.

But once i have my vector file, is the conversion to a printable PNG or JPG an easy losslessish process?

The entire point of “having your vector file” is resolution independence. Converting back to a raster format defeats that purpose. Print the vector.