Is it possible to vectorize a drawing?


Once a black and white drawing has been scanned, is it possible to “convert it” to vector graphics or do you have to “redraw” it using Illustrator tools?


Illustrator has a function called Live Trace, which turns the image into a vector image. You can choose how Illustrator interprets the image—such as hand-drawn, b&w logo etc. It’s not perfect, but pretty good.

Thanks Ralph. Other than that Illustrator option, it must be done by hand, correct?

As far as I know, but I’m only a casual user of Ai, so there may be something I don’t know about.

There may be other programmes that do a similar thing to Live Trace in Illustrator but I’ve found that multiple runs of a photo through Live Trace can emphasise different colours etc. You can run the Live trace and then layer the results to get the best possible result. I’ve done this with quite detailed images/logos/composites and have been able to achieve good results every time. Some tweaking of the panel options is necessary as they do interpret the image in quite different ways.

If the drawing is just black and white and quite simple then you may find redrawing it produces a better result. Hard to tell without knowing what you’re looking at. Drawing by hand can be much quicker if you are familiar with the tools.