Raster to Vector Conversion

Raster to Vector "Need to Know" Facts

Raster to vector (R2V) conversion is not a standardized process. There is no a single correct method, no "one size fits all" that enables you to convert everything 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.

While there are software packages that do provide automatic raster to vector conversion, we've found that even the best automatic conversion software, requires some human intervention in order to ensure an accurate CAD drawing.

This is because automatic raster to vector software programs can have difficulties with some parts of a raster image where parallel or concentric entities touch. Where the lines touch, the automatic program can make mistakes because it can't clearly see where one line ends and another begins. This is an area where someone who is inexperienced with raster to vector conversion may not understand how to correct the problem, while a raster to vector CAD expert can quickly look at the drawing and make a hand-drawn adjustment to preserve the integrity of the design.

Other areas that may be problems for automatic raster to vector include hatch patterns. Hatch patterns generally will not auto-vectorize well. In addition, dot-type hatch patterns will likely need to be removed completely using the raster to vector software despeckle command. In this case, once the drawing is converted from raster to vector, an experience CAD operator will need to replace the hatches in the CAD program.

Here at CAD CAM Services, we realize that regardless of what we're converting, or what method we're using, starting with a clean raster image that has been scanned at the correct resolution will improve the final outcome. Cleaning means de-speckling, getting rid of unwanted artifacts, smoothing and fixing lines and removing any holes. This can be a time consuming process.

One of the advantages of using us to perform your conversions from start to finish is that we will ensure that the drawing is scanned at the correct resolution and that it is clean and ready for R2V. In this respect, we can save you considerable time.

Another reason for using CAD CAM Services is because over the years, we've learned lots of "tricks of the trade" that speed the process when converting to AutoCAD; Revit; Navisworks; MicroStation; VectorWorks; SolidWorks; Catia; ArcInfo and other common CAD programs.

We've even compiled a list of Raster to Vector information to help you make a decision about the best way for you to go about converting your raster images to vector drawings.


Files such as JPEGs, BMP, TIFF, IMG, GEM, CIT, GIF and PNG are considered to be raster images.

Vector files consist of lines and are constructed using mathematical formulas rather than individual colored pixels

Vector files include geometrical primitives such as points, lines, curves, and shapes or polygons.

Vector primitives, paths, shapes, thickness and fill are vital parts of CAD design drawings.