Saturday, April 5, 2008

Converting bitmap images to vector graphics

Our sign contractor for the store created some beautiful graphics - but the disk they gave us was all .jpg and bitmap .pdf and even a bitmap .ai file. Limited usefulness for reuse unless we can convert them to vector graphics - bitmaps are big and pixellated, vectors are small and infinitely scalable smoothly.

Used Inkscape. Turned out to be incredibly easy. Import the bitmap, then Path -> Trace Bitmap. Next, File -> Document Properties to crop the page area (so it doesn't save as one logo in the corner of an empty sheet of paper). Save the converted file.

Next problem: Inkscape saves as .svg, but OpenOffice can't open it. Easy to fix - instead of .svg, have Inkscape save as .odg, an OpenOffice drawing file. I love when things work out.

Monochrome and color laser prints of the converted graphics are great - no pixels, smooth and clean edges. Interesting: The bitmaps look better on screen, but the vector graphics are superior on paper.

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