JPG to Vector Image : How to Convert into an Ideal Format

JPG to Vector graphics conversions are ideal for getting the format useful for logos and illustrations because of their clear lines and contours. As they help in creating equations instead of pixels, vectors are easily rescalable to any size without losing its clarity.

You can get image editing programs to “trace” JPG images and convert yhose images to vectors as most of the vector images are created from scratch and bits.

Let’s understand how to convert a JPG to a vector image in Adobe Illustrator which is a paid software or the tandem combination of GIMP and Inkscape, both of which are free.

  • Using Adobe Illustrator
  • Using GIMP and Inkscape

JPG to Vector Image : Using Adobe Illustrator

Open Adobe Illustrator. The best and easiest way to convert a JPG to a vector image is to use Adobe Illustrator. Although Illustrator is not free, but you can get and install a free trial from https://www.adobe.com. In case you have this application on your system, you will find it in the Windows Start menu and for Mac user’s it will be available in Applications folder.

Add the JPG image that you want to convert to your artboard. You can do this from the File > Open menu or by dragging the file to the workspace.

Switch to the “Tracing” workspace. You can do this by tapping the menu which is placed in the upper-right corner and then selecting “Tracing.” You will get to see the “Image Trace” panel which will appear on the right side.
You can open the workspace by tapping the Window menu, selecting Workspace, and then opting for Tracing.

Tap JPG image and select it. The tracing options in the Image Trace panel will become active after tapping the JPG image.

Check the “Preview” box in the Image Trace panel. This will help you to see what the various settings can do before using them for any change to be made, but it will enhance the time between making changes. You can switch over to the Preview option on or off at any given point. The image will trace automatically after each change that you have made in case you leave the Preview enabled. Otherwise you will have to click the Trace button to see the changes made by you.

Use presets in the Image Trace panel. There are five preset buttons on the top of the panel, and more presets available as you go through the other in the drop-down menu. The top row of buttons have got the following presets:

AutoCreates a stylized set of colors based on the original colors.
HighAttempts to recreate all of the original colors.
LowCreates a simplified version of the original colors.
GrayscaleReplaces colors with shades of gray.
Black/WhiteReduces colors to black and white.

Use the color slider to adjust color complexity. Images that are converted to vectors don’t generally show well with natural colors . But you can you will get a better effect by decreasing the number of colors used in the image. This will although lead to a “flatter” effect with the image look.

Expand the “Advanced” section of the Image Trace panel. You can expand by tapping the small triangle next to “Advanced.” This is going to reveal more detailed controls for the trace.

Use the “Paths” slider to help adjust how close the path gets to follow the pixels. Moving the slider to the left adjusts the paths to looser, and sliding it to the right adjusts the paths to tighter one. A looser path will give you smoother edges.

Use the “Corners” slider to adjust to get rounded corners. Moving the slider to the left will get the corners more round leading to a smoother image.

Use the “Noise” slider to decrease bleeds. The Noise slider determines about what groupings of pixels are considered “noise” and not included in the trace. This will help in straightening the lines and smoothing of rough spots.

Tap Trace to view changes. It is available at the bottom-right corner of the Image Trace panel. If you enabled the Preview option earlier, the button will be grayed out because tracing already happened automatically.

Click the Expand button. It is in the toolbar which runs along the top of Illustrator. This will convert the tracing object into actual vector paths, and will replace JPG image with the vector.

Export the image as a vector file. While you finish with the tracing, you are now can export the finished image as a vector file.

  • Click the File or Illustrator menu and select “Save As”
  • Save a copy as an .ai file first. Select the Adobe Illustrator (*.AI) option
  • Type a new name for the file
  • Click Save. This will let you easily re-open the file in Illustrator and make more edits.
  • Return to File > Save As and select vector format from the “Save As Type” menu which include SVG for the web and PDF for printing.
  • Do not save the file as PNG or JPG as these are not vector formats
  • Click Save to save your file

JPG to Vector Image : Using GIMP and Inkscape

Download and install GIMP and Inkscape. These are free, open-source programs which can be created using vector images from JPG files.

  • GIMP : image editor like Photoshop available for all the OS
  • Inkscape : vector graphics editor like Illustrator available for all the OS

You can download :-

The method is only suitable for simple images with basic colors, like logos and emblems. Converting high-detail images will take a lot of work smoothing rough edges and getting good colors.

Open your JPEG in GIMP. You can open by right-clicking the image & selecting Open With and GIMP. Alternatively, open GIMP first and click File > Open to insert the file.

Use the Rectangle Select tool for selecting a part of the image which you wish to convert to vector. Dotted rectangular icon in the toolbar running along the left side of GIMP which creates a rough border for image that makes it easier to recolor.

Tap Image menu and select Crop to Selection. It removes everything except what you have selected.

Press the Image menu again and select Autocrop. It tightens up the selection.

Export the file. After finishing the cropping of the file, you are now able to export it anywhere. Click the File menu and select Export As. Always try to leave the settings at default and give the file a name so that you are able to distinguish between it’s cropped version.

Open the exported file in Inkscape. You can launch Inkscape, and then go to File > Open to select the file.

Click image to select it. You are required to select the image before you can trace it in Inkscape.

Tap Path menu & select Trace Bitmap. Opens the Trace Bitmap window.

Select various preset vectorization methods to Update. This helps in displaying a preview of what the image will look like with that vectorization method. Keep trying various methods until to get one you like. The “Colors” option gives the closest approximation of the original image. You can adjust settings for most of the presets. Press to Update after each settings change to see the results.

Click OK after getting satisfied with the results. It helps in tracing the original image to replace it with the vector version.

Use the “Edit paths by nodes” tool to make fine adjustments. Identified by the cursor icon with three points on an arc near the top-left corner of the toolbar, to help select areas of the vector image and dragging nodes to adjust the size and shade. Tap a part of the images to get a bunch of small boxes appear. Drag all boxes to change the shapes for selection.

Use the “Break Path” tool to separate nodes that shouldn’t be connected. It’s above the top-left corner of the workspace—the third button to the left. During the trace, parts of some image may have been connected when they are needed. The Break Paths tool allows to separate parts by removing connecting nodes.

Save image as a vector file when done. Once you’re satisfied with vector image, you are now able to save it as a vector format.

  • Click the File menu
  • Select Save As.
  • Select a vector format from the “Save as type” menu.
  • Common formats include SVG for websites and PDF for print.
  • Save a copy as an Inkscape SVG to be able to go back to make easy edits.

After getting the above steps right, you will surely be able to edit and convert the images as desired by you. Happy Editing!!