As an engineer, you’re likely to be aware of the difference between raster and vector images. We’ve covered it in one of our previous blog posts: Raster images consist of pixels and dots, while vectors are essentially a series of graphs determined by mathematical functions and algorithms. The conundrum: all scanned and photographed images are of the raster variety, but as an engineer, the only way to scale and adjust an image is if it’s a vector image. 

That, in turn, brings up the issue of raster to vector conversion. Converting an image from raster to vector is not as simple as you may think; here are 3 things to keep in mind for the process.

1) Resolution Matters

One simple truth of raster to vector conversion: the lower resolution your raster image, the more difficult it will be to convert to a vector file. Each line should be a minimum of 5 pixels thick, which you can measure by zooming into the file until you see individual pixels. If the resolution is lower, your vector file may not be accurate.

2) The Right Preparation

Converting an image is not as simple as scanning it in and letting conversion software do the rest. After the file is scanned, it will need to be cleaned, deskewed, despeckled, rubber sheeted and QC’d to ensure accuracy. If the document isn’t cleaned, the software may mistake artifacts such as stamped holes or fold lines as parts of the image.

3) Automatic isn’t enough

Another potential issue with conversion software is that when lines touch, it often can’t determine where one line ends and another begins. Here, a CAD expert has to step in to manually tell the software that information, and hand-draw the lines. If not, the converted vector file may be distorted.

In other words, raster to vector conversion is an involved process that is best left to experts. Fortunately, that’s where we can help! Contact us to help get your raster images converted today.

 

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