A bitmap image is also known as a “raster” image. It is stored as an array of numbers, each of which represents a pixel in the image. A vector image is stored as a series of instructions to create lines and then fill in the gaps between them. Bitmap images can often make line edges seem pixelated. You may find a sharp image obtains blurred edges once you save it as a bitmap and then reopen it. Storing the bitmap image as a vector solves this problem.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Open Photoshop and click “File” in the menu bar. Select “Open,” and then locate your bitmap image in the directory browser. Click on “OK” to open the file.
Click the magic wand tool in the toolbar. This should be the second button down in the right column of tools. It may be hidden behind the quick selection tool. If you don’t see a magic wand button, click the small arrow in the bottom right of the button and the select the magic wand from the pop-up list.
Touch the object you want to turn into a vector image to create an outline around the image.
Look in the properties panel in the right side of Photoshop. The lower third of this panel contains three tabs. Click the “Paths” tab.
Click the fourth icon on the bottom border of this panel. This is the “Make work path from selection” tool. You will see the outline listed in the previously empty “Paths” panel.
Click “File” in the menu bar, and select “Export.” Choose “Paths to Illustrator” in the submenu. A dialog box lists your paths, but you should only have one named “Work Path.” Press the “OK” button.
Navigate to the directory where you want to save the file in the file browser. Give the file a name. The file type will be set as “Adobe Illustrator (.ai).” Press the “Save” button. The outline of your symbol is now held as a vector graphic.
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