R2V – Defining a Process
What is R2V?
R2V is an acronym for Raster to Vector. Raster to vector is a process by which scanned engineering, construction, or technical drawings are converted to CAD files. The R2V process can also be used for converting maps and other types of artwork that have been scanned.
Who Uses R2V?
In effect, anyone who has a scanned drawing of any type is a candidate for R2V. This may include architects, engineers, contractors, graphic artists, cartographers or any number of other categories who have rasterized files that need to be vectorized.
Why is R2V Needed?
Generally speaking, any rasterized drawing, whether a blueprint or a photograph, is a computer ‘graphic’. Often the file format is a tiff file. Vectorization (or R2V) refers to the process of converting the raster graphics into vector graphics. In computer-aided design (CAD) drawings (blueprints etc.) are scanned, vectorized and written as CAD files in an R2V process called paper-to-CAD conversion or drawing conversion.
In geographic information systems (GIS) satellite or aerial images are vectored via an R2V process to create maps.
In graphic design and photography, graphics can be vectorized for easier usage and resize.
The R2V process is not standardized, meaning that there is no a single correct method, no’ one size fits all’ from blueprints to photographs. Even within the same category, blueprints, for instance, there are many different R2V algorithms that can be used and each gives different results. It’s important to recognize that vector representations of graphics can be more abstract than raster representations.
How to Choose the Right R2V Process
To some degree, the ‘right’ R2V process is subjective. It may be’ right’ because it’s familiar, or it may be ‘right’ because it works best for the type of raster image you’re dealing with, but more often than not ‘right’ is only a starting place, and then experience, logic, and human intervention take over to bring the process from just ‘right’ to perfect.
There are firms who offer R2V services and there are various software packages that accomplish the R2V process with various degrees of efficiency and accuracy. Generally speaking, even when you use the best automatic R2V software, there will still be some human intervention required in order to ensure an accurate CAD drawing.
CAD Perfect® R2V
Going from the ‘right’ R2V process to the ‘perfect’ R2V process can be as simple as choosing an R2V firm who specializes in CAD Perfect® R2V. In order to perform CAD Perfect® R2V, the conversion service company should be able to use all of these programs and much more: AutoCAD; Revit; Navisworks; MicroStation; VectorWorks; SolidWorks; CATIA V5; ArcInfo (GIS & Data Conversion; BIM Services; PI & D; Aero Space; Architecture Services; Structural Engineering; MEP Services; Visio. CAD Perfect® R2V requires the latest professional software (in-house CAD conversion products from GTX, Hitachi, I/Vector, and Softelec in conjunction with specialized programs written by experienced R2V conversion specialists.
R2V sounds simple, and in the hands of experienced R2V conversion specialists, it can be. But the truth is that file conversion is a tedious process, especially when dealing with graphics. While changing a vector image to a raster image takes minutes, creating a vector image from a raster is extremely difficult. You will need a thorough understanding of the technical aspects of drawing in both raster and vector programs, as well as the advantages and limitations of both. Not to mention, the right tools.
Just as an experienced athlete can make the most difficult physical accomplishment look ‘easy,’ an experienced R2V expert can make the most difficult R2V project look ‘easy.’ But for most of us, we’ll not get the Olympic gold, and we won’t be able to do a CAD Perfect® R2V conversion – that’s why we recommend leaving the R2V conversion to the experts.